WASHINGTON - President Barack Obama Monday sent to Congress a proposed defense budget of $613.9 billion for fiscal 2013. The request for the Department of Defense includes $525.4 billion in discretionary budget authority to fund base defense programs and $88.5 billion to support Overseas Contingency Operations, primarily in Afghanistan.

The proposed fiscal 2013 budget will ensure U.S. forces will remain capable across the spectrum of missions, fully prepared to deter and defeat aggression and to defend the homeland and our allies in the world's complex security environment. It results from an intensive strategic review conducted by DoD's senior military and civilian leaders under the leadership and guidance of the president. The defense strategic guidance, "Sustaining U.S. Global Leadership: Priorities for 21st Century Defense," was published in January 2012.

The proposed budget makes more disciplined use of defense dollars to maintain the world's finest military and sustain U.S. global leadership. It applies strategic guidance to force structure and investment. It preserves the all-volunteer force as the foundation of the U.S. military. And it fully supports deployed warfighters.

"This budget plan represents a historic shift to the future, recognizing that we are at a strategic point after a decade of war," said Defense Secretary Leon Panetta.

"The plan is aligned to strategic priorities we have identified to keep America safe and maintain the strongest military in the world. It is also a signal of the department's commitment to our men and women in uniform and their Families. We are also redoubling our efforts to make better use of the taxpayer's defense dollar and meet our fiscal responsibilities," Panetta said.

The $525.4 billion for the base budget includes cuts and other initiatives that will reduce planned spending by $259 billion over the next five years and $487 billion over 10 years, levels that are consistent with the Budget Control Act. The budget adjusts programs that develop and procure military equipment, begins to re-size ground forces, slows the growth of compensation and benefit programs, continues to make better use of defense resources by reducing lower-priority programs and restructures the defense organization to achieve more efficient approaches to doing business.

This budget request focuses on funding priorities for a 21st century defense that protects the country and sustains U.S. global leadership. It reflects the need for DoD and the military to adapt in order to proactively address the changing nature of the security environment and to reflect new fiscal realities.

The separate OCO budget totals $88.5 billion, $26.6 billion below the fiscal 2012 enacted budget of $115.1 billion.

The proposed budget reflects the withdrawal of combat troops from Iraq in December 2011, as well as savings due to operational progress in Afghanistan and the transition to Afghan responsibility for security.

Highlights of the proposed DoD budget are outlined at http://www.defense.gov/news/2013budget.pdf. For more information and to view the entire fiscal 2013 budget proposal, visit http://www.budget.mil and download the "FY 2013 Budget Request Overview Book." Budget-related transcripts also can be viewed at http://www.defense.gov/transcripts.