President Donald Trump’s $686 billion defense budget for 2019 would increase missile defense spending by more than 25 percent over the Pentagon’s 2018 request, underscoring the administration’s concern about North Korea’s expanding ballistic missile and nuclear programs.
The Pentagon on Monday proposed to allocate $12.9 billion to the country’s overall missile defense, including about $9.9 billion for the Missile Defense Agency. The figure is $2 billion more than MDA’s previous request.
Pentagon Comptroller David Norquist told reporters the budget request reflects calls in the National Defense Strategy to focus investments on “layered missile defense and disruptive capabilities” to defend against theater missile threats and the ballistic missile threat from Pyongyang.
North Korea claimed in November it had successfully launched an intercontinental ballistic missile, or ICBM, capable of striking anywhere on the U.S. mainland, adding urgency to calls by defense officials to repair cracks in the nation’s missile defense system.