WASHINGTON — The Pentagon wants to increase its black budget for intelligence programs for a fifth straight year.

The Department of Defense has requested $22.95 billion for the top-line budget of the Military Intelligence Program, the DoD announced Monday. While the overall fiscal 2020 budget request was released last week, the MIP request typically comes days or weeks afterward.

That total includes both base budget and overseas contingency operations funding. No further budget figures or program details will be released for “national security reasons,” per a department statement.

A 2016 Congressional Research Service report says the MIP represents “defense intelligence activities intended to support tactical military operations and priorities,” including “tactical-level systems, people and activities” for the Pentagon and services as they work on intelligence gathering.

That report also identified some of the funding as going toward U.S. Special Operations Command as it pursues “several current acquisition efforts focused on outfitting aircraft — both manned and unmanned, fixed and rotary wing — with advanced ISR and data storage capabilities that will work in multiple environments.” It also can be used for “Advanced Sensors Application Program; Foreign Materiel Acquisition and Exploitation Program, and the Horizontal Fusion Program” at the level of the Office of the Secretary of Defense.

In the early part of the decade, the MIP dropped from a high of $27 billion in FY10, hitting its low point in FY15 at $16.6 billion, according to numbers maintained by the analytics group Avascent.

But it has steadily increased since then, with the Pentagon receiving $17.7 billion in FY16, $18.5 billion in FY17 and $21.1 billion in FY18. While it has not released the enacted amount of FY19, the department requested $21.2 billion for that fiscal year.

Aaron Mehta was deputy editor and senior Pentagon correspondent for Defense News, covering policy, strategy and acquisition at the highest levels of the Defense Department and its international partners.

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