Pentagon again asks for more money for black budget intelligence programs

Pentagon again asks for more money for black budget intelligence programs

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Defense Intelligence Agency Director Lt. Gen. Robert Ashley Jr. provides the keynote address during the 2019 Intelligence and National Security Alliance Achievement Awards, Feb. 21, in Washington, D.C. (DIA photo by Brian Murphy)

WASHINGTON — For the fifth consecutive year, the Pentagon is seeking an increase in the amount of money it wants to spend for top-secret intelligence programs.

In a statement sent to Pentagon reporters Monday night, the Pentagon said it is requesting $22.95 billion for the top-line fiscal 2020 budget of the Military Intelligence Program (MIP), the so-called “black budget” projects and operations.

“The total, which includes both the base budget and Overseas Contingency Operations funding, is $22.95 billion and is aligned to support the national defense strategy,” the Pentagon said in its statement.

“The department determined that releasing this top line figure does not jeopardize any classified activities within the MIP.  No other MIP budget figures or program details will be released, as they remain classified for national security reasons,’” the statement said.

The public U.S. intelligence budget has two major components: the National Intelligence Program (NIP) and the Military Intelligence Program (MIP).

The National Intelligence Program includes all actions and needs of the intelligence community at large as well as any other intelligence community programs designated jointly by the director of National Intelligence (DNI) and the head of department or agency, or the DNI and the president.

The MIP is devoted to intelligence activity conducted by the military departments and agencies in the Department of Defense that support tactical U.S. military operations. In addition, other departments and agencies may engage in certain activities related to intelligence for their own mission needs that are not captured here.

The funds do not include budget amounts for the wide array of roughly 12 other intelligence-getting and processing entities, such as the CIA, the NSA, the National Reconnaissance Office, and the National Geospatial-Intelligence Program. Those are the top four intelligence agencies in terms of spending, with much of their money coming from the so-called “black budget.”

The request for 2020 funds is still lower than the record request of $27 billion for fiscal 2010. The lowest number was $16.6 billion in fiscal 2015, according to Pentagon data, and has increased each year since.

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