The Trump Administration 2019 Fiscal Defense Budget Geared to Deterrence and Defeating Rogue Regiona

The Trump Administration’s 2019 budget request reportedly includes almost $686 billion in new equipment and munitions to position the US military for a global fight against the Russia and China and rogue regional states such as Iran and North Korea, while continuing global counter terrorism operations. The request includes $617 billion in base funding and $69 billion in cap-exempt wartime funds, to support and initiate the $716 billion national security program. The budget plan also calls for more than $1 trillion in defense spending over the Obama administration’s 10-year plan. As well, it should be noted that the US Congress raised budget caps for Defense by $165 billion through fiscal 2019 through a bi-partisan budget agreement last week.

In terms of personnel the budget provides:

  • US service personnel would receive a 2.6 percent pay raise and add and additional 24,100 more troops to the US military’s total strength.

  • The US Air Force would gain 4,000 active duty members to grow to 329,100 aircrew.

  • The US Navy would increase by 7,500 active duty troops to grow to 335,400 sailors.

  • The US Marine Corps would gain 1,100 active duty marines to grow to 186,100.

  • The Army would gain 11,500 active duty soldiers to grow to 487,500.

  • Army, Navy and Air Force Reserves would add 800 personnel while the Army and Air National Guard would add 500 troops each.

The budget sets aside:

  • $10.7 billion to buy 77 of the F-35 fighters jets;

  • $1.2 billion to procure 43,594 Joint Direct Attack Munition (JDAMs);

  • $2 billion for 5,113 Joint Light Tactical Vehicles (JLTVs);

  • $3 billion to acquire 15 new strategic air tankers to replace the aging KC-135 Stratotanker;

  • $2 billion to purchase 24 F/A-18s fighter aircraft;

  • $900 million to buy six new VH-92 presidential helicopters;

  • $7.4 billion to procure two Virginia Class nuclear-powered attack submarines;

  • $6 billion for three DDG-51 Arleigh Burke Class Destroyers and;

  • $2.3 billion to acquire the strategic-nuclear B-21 Raider Long Range Strike Bomber.

In addition to the key weapons platforms above, the budget request includes several other legacy systems including:

  • $1.3 billion for 60 AH-64E attack helicopters;

  • $2.2 billion to acquire ten P-8A long range maritime patrol aircraft;

  • $1.6 billion to purchase eight CH-53K King Stallion helicopters;

  • $1.3 billion to buy one Littoral Combat Ship;

  • $1.8 billion in continued development funding for the CVN-78 Class Aircraft Carrier;

  • $1.1 billion to procure two Fleet Replenishment Oilers (T-AO);

  • $700 million for one Expeditionary Sea Base;

  • $2.7 billion to upgrade the M-1 Abrams main battle tank;

  • $300 million to purchase 30 Amphibious Combat Vehicles;

  • $800 million to acquire 197 Armored Multi-Purpose Vehicles;

  • $3.7 billion to procure Columbia Class nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarines;

  • $600 million to buy Long-Range Stand-Off Missiles and;

  • $300 million for the Ground Based Strategic Deterrent.

In summary, for US Republican lawmakers the budget is a major political victory and now they must muster the votes to execute on the President’s wish list. The Trump administration’s second budget calls for the purchase of 10 new US Navy warships, would grow the US Air force by three combat squadrons from 55 to 58 over the next five years, and see a manpower increase of 25,900 people. The US Navy will grow by more than 40 ships over the next five years but will not reach the stated goal of 355 ships until the 2050s. The budget boosts cybersecurity funding by 4 percent across the US government, including the Homeland Security Department and Department of Defense. The Trump Administration is requesting $5.3 billion for the US State Department’s Foreign Military Financing program for 2019, a $266 million increase over Trump’s fiscal 2018 request, but a $1 billion cut from what Congress had planned to budget. The European Deterrence Initiative (EDI) meant to help deter Russia continues to grow in the 2019 budget by $1.7 billion. Key to nuclear deterrence, the US Missile Defense Agency’s $9.9 billion fiscal 2019 budget request is up by $2 billion over last year’s beefing up homeland missile defense with increased interceptors while adding radars to the Pacific. In the end, the 2019 Fiscal Defense Budget should enhance readiness and address both conventional, cyber, and nuclear deterrence with rogue regional powers like North Korea and Iran and strategic great power competitors China and Russia.

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