There is little doubting President Donald Trump’s adoration for the United States military.
Trump signed off on a defense authorization bill earlier this year which increased funding for the military and provided pay raises for military personnel, but anticipated changes in 2018 could make next year the biggest yet for military growth.
Per Washington Examiner:
During his first weeks in office, Trump pledged one of the “greatest military buildups in American history.” It echoed his campaign platform of building a 350-ship Navy out of the current 279 battle force ships and grow the Army to 540,000 active-duty soldiers from its current 476,000.
The president’s subsequent defense budget request released in May bumped up spending 5.5 percent over last year.
Trump echoed this promise to “build up the military” in his National Security Strategy released in December.
In it, he said, “We are rallying the world against the rogue regime in North Korea and confronting the danger posed by the dictatorship in Iran, which those determined to pursue a flawed nuclear deal had neglected. We have renewed our friendships in the Middle East and partnered with regional leaders to help drive out terrorists and extremists, cut off their financing, and discredit their wicked ideology.”
“We crushed Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) terrorists on the battlefields of Syria and Iraq, and will continue pursuing them until they are destroyed. America’s allies are now contributing more to our common defense, strengthening even our strongest alliances. We have also continued to make clear that the United States will no longer tolerate economic aggression or unfair trading practices,” he continued.
And, “At home, we have restored confidence in America’s purpose. We have recommitted ourselves to our founding principles and to the values that have made our families, communities, and society so successful. Jobs are coming back and our economy is growing. We are making historic investments in the United States military. We are enforcing our borders, building trade relationships based on fairness and reciprocity, and defending America’s sovereignty without apology.”
This sort of growth for the military is dependent, according to the report, on two things (per Washington Examiner); “the top-line defense spending for the fiscal year and the projected spending growth over the coming five years, called the Future Years Defense Program.”
“That’s the battle that is going on between DOD and [the White House Office of Management and Budget] is what kind of top-line growth do they get in the future,” said Todd Harrison, the director of defense budget analysis at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.
With the budget deadline coming in February, a contested battle over budget caps could be expected next month:
OMB Director Mick Mulvaney, who headed up Trump’s first budget request, projected no growth above inflation over the coming five years and also planned to reduce money for overseas contingency operations, a war account that is immune to spending caps and has been increasingly crucial to the military for funding daily operations, Harrison said.
Mattis and the Pentagon had essentially ignored the future plans as a placeholder and said they were focusing on just the year ahead. Now, as the Pentagon wraps up key strategy, nuclear and ballistic missile reviews, Mattis and the White House will soon need to settle on how to much money will go to defense.
Throughout 2017, the terror group ISIS has faced unprecedented losses – something Trump could use as a talking point for more military funding.
.@PeteHegseth on Trump's handling of US troops: "It's morning in the military. And the biggest thing you want to have is the understanding that the commander in chief has your back." pic.twitter.com/5Xch2GOqHt
— FOX Business (@FoxBusiness) December 26, 2017
Also per Washington Examiner:
The defeat of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria rapidly accelerated during President Trump’s first year in office, beginning with the fall of East Mosul on Jan. 25, and continuing with a cascading series of defeats for the brutal terrorist group over the next 11 months.
The campaign liberated twice as many people and twice as much territory as in the previous 28 months under President Barack Obama, according to Defense Department figures.
“On Jan. 20th-the day Trump was inaugurated-an estimated 35,000 ISIS fighters held approx 17,500 square miles of territory in Iraq & Syria. As of Dec. 21, the U.S. military estimates the remaining 1,000 or so fighters occupy roughly 1,900 squares miles…” https://t.co/ngkWKz5xOK
— Dan Scavino Jr. (@Scavino45) December 27, 2017
On Jan. 20 — the day Trump was inaugurated — an estimated 35,000 ISIS fighters held approximately 17,500 square miles of territory in both Iraq and Syria.
As of Dec. 21, the U.S. military estimates the remaining 1,000 or so fighters occupy roughly 1,900 squares miles of mostly barren desert primarily in Syria, where few people live, and where they will be forced to surrender or die.
This Christmas Eve, President Trump talked with members of the U.S. military via video teleconference. All five branches of the military are represented during the call with troops from various bases around the world. pic.twitter.com/GN0cqC8asV
— The White House (@WhiteHouse) December 24, 2017