US President Donald Trump’s budget proposal is in, and it calls for a “historic” $US54 billion increase in defence spending, and an additional $US30 billion in Overseas Contingency Operations spending this year.
“This is a hard power budget, it is not a soft power budget,” Mick Mulvaney told reporters at a Wednesday briefing. “And that was done intentionally. That’s what our allies can expect. That’s what our adversaries can expect.”
So what does Trump want to spend the additional $US84 billion on?
The Army wants $US8.3 billion, which includes $US871 million for increasing readiness, $US1.3 billion for “enhanced and more realistic training,” $US2.8 billion to restore and modernise equipment in aviation, armour, drones, and air and missile defence systems, and another $US1.2 billion for US combat commanders to fight ISIS.
Additionally, more than $US2 billion will go to addressing shortfalls, infrastructure readiness, and ammunition.
The Navy wants $US8.3 billion to “drive rapid improvements in ship, aviation, and shore readiness.”
This includes buying 24 F/A-18E/F Super Hornet strike fighters, increasing maintenance and spare parts, and adding 14,000 flight hours. The funding will also go towards increasing ship operations, information warfare, modernising infrastructure, and providing services to sailors’ families.
The Marine Corps, a part of the Navy, wants $US1.1 billion to increase readiness and “mitigate critical gaps in combat power,” such as addressing threats from drones and long range percision fires. The funding will also address troubles in Marine aviation.
The Air Force, at its smallest size in 70 years, requests $US7.4 billion to grow the force by 4,000 airmen and address a “national pilot crisis,” upgrade the F-16, build and improve existing infrastructure, and improve counter-drone operations.
The force also wants to spend $US690.5 million to procure five additional F-35s.
In total, Trump’s proposed budget fits with his campaign promise to fix what he called a “crumbling” military. While the proposed defence budget represents a historic increase, the conditions that led to the military’s depletion was historic as well — sequestration, which froze military spending at 2011 levels.
In constant 2014 dollars, US military spending peaked in 2010, at just under $US758 billion dollars. Trump’s budget calls for about $US640 billion on defence.
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