During his maiden speech to the UN General Assembly on 19 September, President Trump embraced a higher level of defense spending than his budget originally proposed. The President said, “And it has just been announced that we will be spending almost $700 billion on our military and defense. Our military will soon be the strongest it has ever been”.
That funding level is in line with the work done by the House and Senate Armed Services Committees this year. With overwhelming bipartisan support, the House authorized a defense budget of $631.5 billion for core military needs and an additional $64.6 billion for contingency operations. Yesterday, the Senate acted overwhelmingly to authorize similar funding levels.
Following the President’s comments, Rep. Mac Thornberry (R-TX), Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, made the following statement:
“A majority of Republicans, Democrats, and now the President of the United States agree that after six years of neglect, America’s military needs a substantial investment to restore its strength and protect the nation. Consensus on this issue has eluded Congress and the Executive Branch in the past. There are still a number of hurdles to overcome, but I am encouraged that with President Trump’s support, we will soon be able to get troops the resources, training, and equipment they need.”
Following the Goldwater-Nichols act, the defense budget is supposed to be informed by the national security strategy, submitted each year along with the President’s budget proposal. However, eight months into the Trump administration, and four months after the date the report was due, the national security strategy is still being written.