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Ironduke
13 Nov 03,, 04:59
Congress approves 401 billion dollars for US military spending

WASHINGTON (AFP) Nov 12, 2003
The US Congress approved Wednesday a 401 billion dollar defense bill for the 2004 fiscal year, increasing military spending by some eight billion dollars over current levels.
The Senate gave final approval to the measure in a vote of 95 to 3.

The bill increases military pay by a little more than four percent and would fully fund several programs in US President George W. Bush's "war on terrorism."

The legislation includes 1.3 billion dollars for chemical and biological defense programs and 9.1 billion dollars for ballistic missile defense in fiscal year 2004 -- an increase of 17 percent over the current budget year.

The bill gives US Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld broad latitude to reshape the US Pentagon's civilian personnel system, giving supervisors greater flexibility to hire, fire and transfer workers.

The legislation also cleared the way for the research into previously-banned low-yield nuclear weapons, although it would continue to prohibit the development and production of such weapons.

The bill also sets aside 15 million dollars for a feasibility study into "bunker busters" -- battlefield nuclear weapons capable of destroying hardened, underground targets.

The House approved the bill earlier this month, by a vote of 362 to 40.

http://www.spacewar.com/2003/031112204848.7ujfsnnp.html