WASHINGTON (Reuters) US President Barack Obama, in his budget for the 2012 fiscal year on Monday, proposed maintaining significant aid to Pakistan to arm, train and equip its military to fight extremists with about $1.
1 billion earmarked for the Pakistan Counterinsurgency Fund, roughly the same level as last year.
The White House proposed to spend $671 billion on the US military next year, handing the Pentagon a short-term boost even as it prepares for tighter budgets in coming years.
The Obama administration budget proposal for fiscal 2012 includes $118 billion for the wars in Afghanistan, Iraq and Pakistan, on top of the base budget of $553 billion.
Obama also proposed spending almost $110 billion on Afghanistan, signalling little let-up in the US war drive despite demands for tougher spending controls at home.
Obama proposed spending just $16 billion in Iraq - a significant decrease as US diplomats take over from combat troops under a security agreement between the two countries.
Obama had put total US war costs in both countries at about $160 billion in budget requests for both 2010 and 2011.
Obamas 2012 budget request for the State Department and US Agency for International Development (USAID) was $47 billion, up one percent from 2010 levels.
The fiscal 2012 budget request focuses on money for some of Obamas priorities including global health and food security initiatives, while cutting direct aid to several countries and regional organizations.
Obamas budget calls for $107 billion in military spending in Afghanistan, where he has pledged to begin withdrawing the first of about 100,000 US troops fighting Taliban insurgents by the middle of this year.
The State Department, mounting its own civilian surge aimed at stabilising the country, would spend an additional $2.
2 billion there as it seeks to increase aid and assistance programs.
That base budget figure is $22 billion above the level enacted for 2010, setting a new record even as the government faces an overall freeze in federal spending.
The budget would include $113 billion for procurement of weapons and services, down from about $120 billion projected a year ago, plus nearly $77 billion for research and development, roughly on par with the previous plan.
US defence contractors including Lockheed Martin Corp, Boeing Co, Northrop Grumman Corp have been bracing for slower growth in defence spending after a decade of double-digit increases that have nearly doubled the Pentagons core budget since Sept.
11, 2001.
The proposed defense budget unveiled on Monday is largely in line with plans announced last month by Defense Secretary Robert Gates, who pledged to cut $78 billion from the Pentagons core spending over the next five years.
Total spending on national defence in the proposed budget would be $702 billion, a figure that includes spending on nuclear weapons and health care and retirement, down from $721.
3 billion in fiscal 2010, according to budget documents.
At the same time, the widely expected drop in defence spending would be deferred until 2013.
Defence shares edged down on Monday after initial details of the budget emerged.
Growth areas in the 2012 budget plan include cybersecurity, to be funded with $2.
3 billion, satellites and nuclear security.
The Defence Department vowed to continue investing in its biggest procurement program, the Lockheed F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, albeit with just $9.
7 billion, which is down from the $11.
4 billion it had requested for the current year.

This news was published in The Nation newspaper. Read complete newspaper of 15-Feb-2011 here.