Pres. Trump’s March 16, 2017, budget request, totaling $574 billion in US military spending, asked for a $54 billion hike, which amounts to a 9% increase for the 2018 fiscal year, with an additional $30 billion for the remaining of the fiscal year 2017 ending in September. This increase in US military budget spending, as pledged during Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign, aims to beef up defense readiness, set up US military branches systems for generations yet to come and provide complete funding for global operations in order to fight against terrorism.
This act reverses the decrease in new recruits and re-enlistments by encouraging the increase of service members by 56,000, funding their training and upgrading the experience through new technologies. The base, and largest portion, of the US military budget, is designated for the operations and maintenance account of the military, summing up to a total of $223.3 billion. Military personnel will receive an increase in pay, as the personnel budget is established at $141.6 billion, and procurement at $115 billion. $82.7 billion is set aside for research and engineering while the US military construction budget is established at $11.9 million. These appropriations benefit US military branches as a whole. But there are many anticipated changes in store for each of the five branches of the military individually.
The Army’s budget is set at $166 billion, and their active duty base will remain at the 476,000 soldiers it currently employs. The budget is to cover 19 training rotations for units in the Army within their “high-end” group training as well as the increase of unit and flight training hours for Army naval aviators.
The extensive Army budget is ultimately geared towards boosting global operations. By having the capability of spreading the Armed Forces around effectively, they would be able to defeat the Islamic State, support Afghan security forces and operate deterrence missions against Russia and North Korea. The Army also intends to develop two Security Force Assistant Brigades “as a tool for combatant commanders to shape their areas of responsibility in ways that deter and prevent conflict and set the theater to enable the United States and its allies and partners to prevail if conflict becomes necessary,” according to the budget.
Pres. Trump also designated $26.8 billion of the budget to modernize the Army. The budget specifically ensures that soldiers are better equipped to fight more technology-advanced adversaries with an upgraded air and missile defense system and equip the Army with long-range precision firepower as well as equipment to fight electronic warfare. And while missile, track comic vehicle and weapon procurement will see an increase in the budget, the aircraft budget for the Army will be reduced by $642 million, while the aviation account maintains its 26% designation of the procurement budget.
Pres. Trump’s budget sets aside $171.5 billion for the Navy, allowing the branch to expand its capacity, providing funding for 1480 new soldiers, bringing the total number of sailors in the Navy to 327,000. With a budget, the Navy is to receive to Virginia class of Marines, to Burke-class Aegis destroyers, a littoral combat ship as well as $4.6 billion in funding for the Ford-class aircraft carrier program.
While the Navy will also receive an upgrade to their shipyard capacity, and improved aviation depot maintenance measures, that is to manifest later down the road, as the current budget increase the funding for maintenance of the current fleet of ships instead of scheduling the purchasing of new ships to add to the collection. This move is an effort to support the increase of overseas deployment durations in the very near future. And even though it had been previously announced that the Navy would purchase two F-35C variant jets manufactured by Lockheed Martin Co., it has been pushed back for a later date so that the branch could buy a Boeing Co P-8 submarine-hunting aircraft.
The Marines will increase by 574 soldiers in order to reach the 185,000 capacity mark, which would give the United States more than 1.2 million ground troops, coming close to China’s 1.6 million troops. Their portion of the budget will fund forward-deployed special purpose Marine air-ground task forces while increasing the modernization and maintenance of the branch. The majority of the money designated for the Air Force will target aircraft maintenance and pilot training in order to meet their shortage, and while funding the sustainment program for weapons. A portion of the $804 million set aside for procurement, the Marine Corps will have two of their 110 Joint Light Tactical Humvees replace while receiving 20 of the 70 promised F-35 stealth fighters.
With a $165.5 billion budget, the Air Force will expand by 3,975 soldiers, reaching a total of 325,100. $10.8 billion of the budget will go towards the old acquisition of 70 F-35 Lightning II joint strike fighters while using $3.1 billion to purchase 15 KC-46 Pegasus tankers and to be in dollars to secure the B-12 Raider long-range bomber. In order to address the shortfalls and maintenance issues, the Air Force will also receive an improved sustainment of weapons and strength while investing in the recruitment of Airmen. The budget will also go towards readiness, recovery, nuclear deterrence operation, combat air forces, space and cyber capabilities as well as improved infrastructure
Coast Guards and Reserve Force
While the Coast Guard and reserve forces have not received as much direct attention when compared to the other US military branches of service, the defense asks why the budget is established at $100.4 billion with the reserve force expecting to expand by 2,085 in order to reach the 815,900 member threshold. They will also receive new ranges, training facilities, and enhanced maintenance capabilities.
Even though it was widely known President Trump intended on dedicating more funds in the budget to the United States military there were uncertainties about the allocation of the increases, and how it would benefit America, our troops, and each individual branch of the US military. And while it is obvious that the overall mission is to fight global terrorism, enhancing the US military branches’ ability to have the capacity, strength, and equipment necessary to fight effectively. Curiosity questions whether the budget is enough, and if the right objectives have been identified.
Is America on the right track? Will our US military benefit from these investments, or is there a better way to allocate the budget? Did Pres. Trump construct an effective budget that empowers our soldiers, or were there better ways to enhance our US military’s capabilities more efficiently? Since we are just at the beginning, only time will tell.
July 22, 2017