Trump budget plan boosts Pentagon, trims State Dept, EPA -officials

WASHINGTON, Feb 26 (Reuters) - The White House on Monday will send federal departments a budget proposal containing the defense spending increase President Donald Trump promised, financed partly by cuts to the U.S. State Department, Environmental Protection Agency and other non-defense programs, two officials familiar with the proposal said.

One of the officials said Trump's request for the Pentagon included more money for shipbuilding, military aircraft and establishing "a more robust presence in key international waterways and chokepoints" such as the Strait of Hormuz and South China Sea.

A second official said the State Department's budget could be cut by as much as 30 percent, which would force a major restructuring of the department and elimination of programs.

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21 of the most imposing U.S. aircraft carriers

An aircraft director guides an F/A-18C Hornet onto a catapult aboard the aircraft carrier USS Harry S. Truman.

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The USS Nimitz conducts an aerial demonstration.

Photo courtesy: U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Aiyana S. Paschal/ Released

The Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70) transits the Strait of Hormuz.

Photo courtesy: U.S. Navy/Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class John Grandin

Sailors scrub down the flight deck of the aircraft carrier USS George Washington (CVN 73).

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Sailors man the rails of the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76) while departing Naval Base Coronado (NBC).

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PCU Gerald R. Ford is floated for the first time.

Photo courtesy: U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Joshua J. Wahl/Released

Blue Angels fly over USS George H.W. Bush in the Atlantic ocean.

Photo courtesy: U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Terrence Siren/Released

USS John C. Stennis conducts flight operations.

Photo courtesy: U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Matthew Martino/Released

Sailors man the rails as the aircraft carrier USS Nimitz (CVN 68) enters Pearl Harbor.

Photo courtesy: U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Apprentice Kelly M. Agee/Released

USS Carl Vinson is underway in the Arabian Gulf.

Photo courtesy: U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Alex King/Released

Sailors observe as the aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis sails alongside the aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan.

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The aircraft carrier USS George Washington (CVN 73), center-right, leads the George Washington Carrier Strike Group.

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The aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan transports Sailors’ vehicles.

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The Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70) departs San Francisco.

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USS Harry S. Truman performs swing checks.

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F/A-18 Hornets demonstrate air power over the aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74).

Photo courtesy: U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Apprentice Ignacio D. Perez/Released

The Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70) transits the Strait of Hormuz.

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USS Enterprise is underway with the Enterprise Carrier Strike Group in the Atlantic Ocean.

Photo courtesy: U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Harry Andrew D. Gordon/Released

The Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74) returns to Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam.

Photo courtesy: U.S. Navy Photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Daniel Barker/Released

USS Abraham Lincoln and USS John C. Stennis join for a turnover of responsibility in the Arabian Sea.

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The officials requested anonymity because the draft budget had not been made public yet. The White House had no immediate comment.

Trump, in a speech to conservative activists on Friday, promised "one of the greatest military buildups in American history."

Some defense experts have questioned the need for a large increase in U.S. military spending, which already stands at roughly $600 billion annually. By contrast, the United States spends about $50 billion annually on the State Department and foreign assistance.

The amounts that Trump is proposing to add to the Pentagon budget and trim elsewhere are not yet publicly known.

The budget plans that the White House is expected to send to departments and agencies on Monday are just one stage in a lengthy process.

The agencies can argue for more funding, and final spending plans must be approved by the U.S. Congress.

Trump's budget assumes annual economic growth of 2.4 percent, the second official said. While campaigning for the presidency last year, Trump called for a "national goal" of 4 percent economic growth.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, speaking on Fox News earlier on Sunday, said Trump's budget would not seek cuts in federal social programs such as Social Security and Medicare.

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