Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Trump Pentagon Budget Adds Ship, No Planes, to Obama Plan, Officials Say

President Donald Trump is expected to propose a $603 billion defense budget for the year beginning Oct. 1 that would add one warship but no more F-35 and Super Hornet jets than the Obama administration had projected, according to officials.The proposal sticks with President Barack Obama’s plan to request 70 of Lockheed Martin Corp.’s F-35’s and 14 of Boeing Co.’s F/A-18E/F Super Hornets, said the officials, who discussed the budget proposal due to be sent to Congress on May 23. The officials asked not to be identified discussing the defense budget before it’s made public and cautioned that some details may still change.While the Obama administration had anticipated buying eight ships in the coming year, Trump’s budget would ask The fiscal 2018 proposal is something of a placeholder until the Pentagon completes a new National Defense Strategy that Defense Secretary James Mattis commissioned on February 1. It also doesn’t reflect results of a pending review that Mattis requested in January -- in response to a Twitter posting by Trump -- to evaluate the cost and operational advantages of buying improved F/A-18E/F jets over the F-35C model designed for use on aircraft carriers, the officials said.The decisions from those reviews will be reflected in a five-year plan for fiscal 2019-2023.
The proposed fiscal 2018 budget is about $18.5 billion, or 3.2 percent, larger than the comparable plan left by the Obama administration for fiscal 2018, according to the nonpartisan Congressional Research Service. “With just $18 billion in new spending penciled in,” the Trump administration “is going to be pitching a paper buildup to the Congress,” Katherine Blakeley, budget analyst for the nonpartisan Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments, said in an email.The $603 billion includes funding for defense-related spending by the Energy and Justice departments. The Pentagon-only defense request is $574 billion, or about $17 billion more than the Obama administration planned for the year.
In guidance in January, Mattis said the fiscal 2018 proposal would focus on rebuilding readiness, such as “buying more critical munitions” and funding facilities maintenance “at a higher rate” and “growing force structure at the maximum responsible rate.”

The plan to buy more Tomahawks is in line with that guidance. Raytheon has said it would need to produce 196 of the cruise missiles annually to keep the Arizona assembly line open. Obama’s final defense budget ended Tomahawk production in favor of upgrading existing missiles and focusing on the next versions of long-range strike weapons.The Trump budget also would add funds to buy more precision-guided munitions from Lockheed, Boeing and Raytheon to be used in the fight against Islamic State terrorists. The U.S.-led coalition dropped 3,878 munitions in March, the most since the operation began in August 2014.The budget request’s addition of one newer model Flight III destroyer falls short of the accelerated shipbuilding pace the Navy has said is needed to reach a fleet of about 350 ships, up from about 275 deployable today -- a goal endorsed by Trump during the campaign.In a February 9 white paper to Mattis, the Navy said it needs 29 vessels over those currently planned through 2021 to accelerate past the Obama administration plan of a 305-vessel fleet. The service had called for 12 vessels in fiscal 2018 instead of the nine being proposed.The $603 billion defense request is about $54 billion over spending caps established in the 2011 Budget Control Act. It proposes equivalent cuts in discretionary domestic spending to pay for the defense increase, an approach that congressional Democrats have vowed to fight.

Trump’s proposals for major cuts in domestic spending reflect priorities that “aren’t necessarily ours,” and he can expect a Republican-led Senate to make changes, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said in an interview Tuesday with Bloomberg News. “It will be a process of negotiation,” the Kentucky Republican said. “We haven’t paid a whole lot of attention to any president’s budget since I’ve been here.”**
What do you guys think the increase of the defense request from Trump’s administration?


  1. I think its kinda outrageous that the Trump administration is wanting an increase in budget of the defense. I read a statistic not that long ago that said that the US spends more money than any other country on its defense by over $300 billion. The next country is China with military spending over $200 billion. I think we do not need an increase in the budget for our defense but we need the money for the budget to be used for other aspects ,such as health care.

  2. Totally agree Branden, Its crazy to think that there are a staggering number of people in this country that believe we will be seen as weak if we are not constantly buffing up our military even though as you stated we already spend $100 billion more on these things than China, a country with a larger population than the US as well as a much more difficult and dangerous geographical situation than we do.

  3. I agree with both of you. Furthermore, the new administration has already made cuts to the education and environmental sectors in order to do this.

  4. I completely agree with Branden & Kyle

  5. I'm not sure if views have remained the same, but a couple of years ago a Gallup poll showed that equal shares of the US population felt that national defense spending represented too much and too little of the national budget. It would be interesting to know what those opinions are now, particularly because increased defense spending will be accompanied by cuts to sectors like education.

  6. He did promise to wage war on terrorism, so this may be his way of at least looking like he is keeping his word.