Here's how the Pentagon wants to spend $686 billion

Nearly $70 billion for wartime funds

Matt Saintsing
February 12, 2018 - 1:37 pm

(U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Alex Corona/Released

10 new warships, more than 15,000 additional personnel, and the largest pay increase for troops in nine years. These are just some of the highlights from the Trump administration’s fiscal 2019 budget.

With a shift of focus away from terrorism to great power competition, with Russia and China being paramount, the Pentagon announced Monday that the administration is requesting $686.1 billion in military funding.

The budget reflects the administration’s new national security strategy as it prioritizes strategic competition with near-peer adversaries, over counterterrorism efforts that have defined military operations for more than a decade.

Speaking to reporters Sunday, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said he’s confident the new budget “is what we need to bring us back to a position of primacy,” according to Defense News.  

Budget caps were raised by Congress by $165 billion through fiscal 2019 under the bipartisan budget deal Congress struck last week. Analysts and senior military officials are hopeful a stable and predictable budget will lead to readiness upgrades and training the Pentagon says it desperately needs.

More equipment

The budget plan calls for 10 new warships, including an aircraft carrier, in fiscal 2019, and would allow the Air Force to grow their combat squadrons from 55 to 58, over a five year period. It also calls for an increase in F-35 production from 70 to 77, and F/A-18 Super Hornet aircraft from 10 to 24.

In addition to the new equipment acquisitions, missile defense would be boosted nearly 25 percent over the Obama administration’s last projected numbers for fiscal 2019, to counter threats from countries North Korea and Iran. It would also fund 20 new interceptor missiles and silos in Hawaii and Alaska.

The plan also calls for $60 billion for its overseas operations account, the way the Pentagon funds the wars it fights, more than $40 billion of which is earmarked  for Afghanistan.

Additional troops

The Navy would grow by 7,500 sailors at a time the service struggles to meet increasing demands worldwide.

The Army and Air Force would see troop increases by 4,000 each.

Pay increase

Perhaps one of the more pressing matters to troops is the 2.4 percent pay raise they would get—the largest pay increase for the military in nine years.

Before the budget deal was reached last week, Congress had continuously resorted to using temporary stopgap spending bills, known as continuing resolutions. Under these measures, the Pentagon’s budget was fixed at current levels, and the military could have been barred from investing in new programs or ending old ones.

Pentagon leaders have, for years now, complained that this unpredictable funding approach forced them to get creative with accounting and shift dollars intended for new equipment to pay for ongoing operations.

You can read the full budget by clicking here.