U.S. Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis, center, is greeted by U.S. Ambassador Douglas Silliman as he arrives at Baghdad International Airport on an unannounced trip Monday, Feb. 20, 2017.(AP Photo/Lolita Baldor)
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Republicans control Congress so President Donald Trump's pledge to boost the Pentagon budget by tens of billions of dollars should be a sure bet.Senior U.S. commanders have flatly warned that the spending caps set by the Budget Control Act are squeezing the armed forces so hard that the number of ready-to-fight units is dwindling.Gen. Daniel Allyn, the Army's vice chief of staff, startled many lawmakers when he testified recently that just three of the service's 58 active-duty and reserve brigade combat teams are ready to fight at a moment's notice.Allyn and other four-star officers pleaded during hearings in the House and Senate for the spending limits to be repealed, clearing the way for the bigger budgets they say are needed to stop the military's readiness for combat from decaying further.GOP Sen. John McCain of Arizona, chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, has envisioned annual increases of between 3 percent and 4 percent, culminating with an $800 billion budget for the armed forces in 2022 .Trump, however, has proposed to eliminate only the budget limit on defense.
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