Feb 12, 2018, 6:23 PM ET

Trump administration proposes big budget increase for Pentagon

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The Trump administration announced on Monday it is requesting $686 billion in defense spending for FY 2019, the highest military budget request since 2011. The funding is intended to make up gaps in readiness that military officials say have resulted from mandatory military spending cuts enacted into law in 2011.

The $686 billion request consists of a “base” operating budget of $617 billion, as well as the $69 billion requested for Overseas Contingency Operations that funds U.S. military operations in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria and Europe.

PHOTO: An aerial view of the Pentagon building, Sept. 24, 2017.Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call via AP
An aerial view of the Pentagon building, Sept. 24, 2017.

The addition of $30 billion requested for the Department of Energy's nuclear weapons makes the total national security budget request $716 billion, the top line agreed to by Congress last week for fiscal year 2019.

That congressional approval in military spending for next year along with an approved $700 billion for 2018 provides a level of stability for military budget planners not seen since the 2011 Budget Control Act went into effect. That amount was also a significant increase over the administration’s original request last May for $639 billion for 2018.

That legislation set mandatory lower budget levels for military spending that the Pentagon has criticized for years as having a negative potential impact on its readiness.

"Our military was totally depleted, and we will have a military like we've never had before," said President Donald Trump on Monday. "We're going to have an incredible military."

Though the budget request enables the annual purchase of big-ticket weapons systems, its focus is on making up the readiness gap by approving additional funding for training, maintenance and modernization of equipment.

Congress will still have to pass individual appropriations bills for fiscal years 2018 and 2019.

The message from Pentagon officials on Monday was that the new budget lines up with the recently released National Defense Strategy and National Security Strategy that re-focused attention on "great power" competition with Russia and China.

"This is a strategy-based budget, the strategy determined what we looked at," said David L. Norquist, the comptroller for the Defense Department. "It determined the choices that the department made, and it determined the level of funding requested and required."

The budget also continues increases to the size of the military services, totaling 24,100 additional active-duty service members next year, the majority in the Army and Navy. In 2018, Congress required that the military services increase in size by 16,600 active duty personnel.

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  • universe ridder

    Look up pentagon can not account for 6.5 trillion.

  • kritikosman

    More MIC toys up coming and war monger plans--F-35s run approx $90 mil ea....... But, an IED ranges from $30-$500. Somebody's gettin' paid big time. HMmm # diminishingreturns

  • jw619

    Before the recent increase we were already spending more than the next 6 countrys combined

  • sjc_1

    $700+ billion per year is more than China, Russia, Germany, Japan, France and England COMBINED!

  • Amy

    Cutting food stamps for this?!

  • clydeal

    Most of us do not think of America as a giant war machine. But we are. Paranoid me but I believe, "Benghazi - Benghazi - Benghazi" and "Lock Her Up", and all the other sucker slogans are all about being conned. The right uses emotional vote getters to open the way for the military/industrial complex Eisenhower warned us about. Furthermore, adding to the pathetic sadness of it all, half of us do not even vote. It is not about politics; it is about morality.

  • browninghipower

    Isn't this the kind of budget that sunk the Soviet Union? Yeah….

  • Dr. Gurnicus Blanstonius

    We'll need a ginormous military budget to cover for the fact we're reducing our diplomacy.

  • tet1953

    Didn't they just give the military a huge increase? I mean like a week ago?

  • jake

    Perhaps we could just cut all social programs that help Americans in need and put all our tax dollars into the military so we can be policemen to the world. This is like the spending spree we went on during the Reagan years that almost bankrupt the country and did bankrupt the USSR trying to keep up.

  • BassPlyr73 Again

    I suppose if you're trying to make cuts at the State Dept, then increasing military spending makes good sense.

  • john hurley

    US Congress should fund the USAF to combat the cannibalistic mood of ISIL and their Houthis.

  • Dr. Gurnicus Blanstonius

    Sooner or later, the Republicans will begin cutting social security and medicare to pay for this stuff.

  • Bill S

    I've ask this question before and still can't get answer. How can a military with the worlds largest budget being underfunded? The US military budget is more than Russia, China and the next five countries combine. The US military spending has increased every year and yet it's never enough. Time to reevaluate military role not in the US but around the world.

  • Tom Adams

    The military budget should be cut by 50 - 75%! We should be closing most of the bases we have around the world and spending the money on rebuilding the infrastructure that has not been maintained for decades.

  • TexasVulcan

    How about a smaller, more efficient military? What happened to candidate Trump's promise to get out of the middle east?

  • Skippy3504

    Providing for the common defence is a legitimate duty of our government. One of the few things enumerated by our Constitution.

  • Hank R

    And yes, our military is stretched thin with many broken pieces of equipment. Just one example from CNN:

    Two-thirds of Navy strike fighter jets can't fly

    By Zachary Cohen, CNN, Updated 4:58 PM ET, Fri February 10, 2017

    "(CNN) Nearly two-thirds of the US Navy's F/A 18 strike fighter jets are currently unable to fly, grounded due to repair delays or because they are awaiting spare parts.

    With more than half of all Navy aircraft out of service and no budget agreement in place to increase defense spending levels, the top brass says its usable planes are being pushed to the limit.

    "For a variety of reasons, our shipyards and aviation depots are struggling to get our ships and airplanes through maintenance periods on time," Vice Chief of Naval Operations Adm. William Moran told lawmakers on the House Armed Services Committee earlier this week."

  • Hank R

    There is no doubt that the military has a lot of wasteful spending yet nobody in DC seems to care. Where are the budget hawks? Why aren't they looking at why our equipment is so expensive? I believe it's due to the procurement rules created by Congress. Some piece of most hardware must be built by select businesses based on many things; quality and price not being part of it. I believe we could cut spending by 20% and have a better equipped military if Congress would change the rules they made.

  • Realpshep

    Same Pentagon that can't account for a "lost" 800 million? I love the military but. This WH is like Oprah...just giving big money gifts away (except for Vets, health care and social programs).

  • Nearl45 5

    Who knew we were modeling ourselves after NK? Huge military budget and starvation for everyone else.

  • The Outlier

    NO. Mattis is a war-mongering disgrace. They sell the nation out to Russia and then demand a huge military budget to supposedly fight Russia. I thought they were our BFF's now? Make no mistake-- Mattis and Trump are building a military to use AGAINST US.

  • kritikosman

    A war monger/MIC delight.

  • Guest

    Trump doesn't have a clue. According to a colonel in charge of disbursement to the ME at the pentagon ($billions of payments/year), our military is not depleted by any stretch of the imagination. They have so much duplication of effort, contractor excesses, and wasteful spending it makes him sick. He was able to push through some cost saving measures, but there is resistance. I wonder why?

  • whitepine

    So the most important people in the US are soldiers? What about our police and fire fighters? What about our children? So Trump and the GOPs are making us a military country with a one party rule? Scary

  • sjc_1

    We already spend more than the next seven countries COMBINED.

  • Chris Duhamel

    I beg to differ with all of you. There was literally no rifle training ammo for the Infantry stateside during the last two years of the Obama Administration. That is why Congress was told that 80 of the 83 combat brigades in the Armed Forces were not battle ready when Trump took office. My son was sent to the Middle East. His company was almost 50% understrength. When asked whether they would reup, only one soldier replied yes. The rest are leaving. Most of the Bradley's in the Brigade are in the shop being fixed rather than being deployed. They have been in service too long and are in need of replacement, with the new MATV. We send companies straight to Iraq, Syria and Afghanistan, and the Infantry don't even know how to operate their weapons.

  • J-dawg

    So everywhere else in government, the spending is "wasteful" and Trump's swamp monsters need to "reorganize" and "streamline" and god knows what else, but the military just needs money thrown at it?

  • RichardBroderickJr

    Trump seeks to add the insult of cuts to medicare and social security for middle class people in addition to the debt that he is leaving us and our children.

    He lied to you.

    .

  • Capt Daniel Gregg

    This is what happens when always being prepared for two wars at once, WWII days of thought at the pentagon still to the day.

  • briteleaf

    Wondering if an alarm is going to go off and the ADULTS in America will ever claim common sense over paranoia? Our military is ALREADY LARGER THAN THE NEXT 16 LARGEST ON EARTH, COMBINED!!! We can already kill even all the cockroaches on earth MANY TIMES OVER. These priorities rule our government while one in 5 American children live in food deprived households and went to school HUNGRY today. Our Republican congress and president already cut funding for school lunch programs. MILLIONS of adults are working 2-3 jobs that pay LESS THAN A LIVING WAGE. Now, they want to spend 20 something BILLION PEON TAXPAYER DOLLARS ON A WALL when the vast majority of illegal aliens in America arrived by jet and our annual immigration from Mexico has been ZERO for several years. Now, America's LIAR-IN-CHIEF wants a 1.5 TRILLION TAXPAYER DOLLAR infrastructure plan that has the government paying about 1/10th of the cost and dumping the bill on state budgets that have no means and no plan to afford to fix all the roads, bridges, railroads and airports. This infrastructure plan is a joke and a nightmare for states and their tax payers who have NO WAY TO PAY FOR IT.

  • BobbyBarker

    I guess we want to outspend the next 12 countries combined instead of just the next 8. Pathetic.

  • boyscout

    remember this joker gets off on bigger toys and has no problem with bankruptcies and letting other people get screwed out of their money

  • Jackie Johnson

    The USA has no need at all for more defense spending. We outspend the next 8 largest spenders put together. We need to audit the Pentagon and find out where all this money is going. They're getting 4 times the money it takes to do the job so where are they losing it all? How come there is no oversight of the Pentagon? The defense department said they'd finally do an audit, but that's an internal audit and unlikely to be good.