Pentagon sees massive cash increase with new budget deal

The national deficit will also balloon in the years to come

Matt Saintsing
February 09, 2018 - 1:16 pm
Mattis smiling

DoD photo by Army Sgt. Amber I. Smith

The Pentagon can expect a massive cash infusion as Congress approved a budget that gives the department funds far beyond what they were at the dawn of the Trump administration.

The deal, signed into law by President Trump Friday morning, is the end of an era of restraint for the DoD that has limited most of the federal government for years. The biggest spending increase in nearly a decade, more than $1.4 trillion will pour into the Pentagon over the next two years, with the first $700 billion coming this year.

To senior military leaders, this increase is a welcome development that will help the Defense Department climb out of a military readiness crisis.

This budget represents a sharp turn from the era of government austerity that Republicans forced President Barack Obama to accept when they voted for budget caps that limited all federal spending for about a decade.

“This budget deal finally makes good on our promise to provide for the men and women who so faithfully serve our nation in uniform,” Sen. John McCain, the chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, said in a statement.

“Now, the Defense Department will have the budget certainty it needs to begin the process of rebuilding the military, restoring readiness, and modernizing our forces—all of which are required to maintain America’s military edge over our adversaries in the era of renewed great power competition outlined in the new National Defense Strategy.”

For years, McCain and the Pentagon's top brass, have clamored for a bipartisan agreement to lift the spending caps and increase DoD’s topline. The agreement passed today reflects the numbers McCain, and others, have been calling for.

But, while some are celebrating the deal as a rare example of bipartisan compromise, others argue it grossly balloons the national deficit.

The Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget projects the U.S. will have a deficit of $1 trillion by next year, a figure will only grow in the years to come. Typically, during a time of economic stability and prosperity, government deficits shouldn’t run that high.

Still, military leaders had complained for years that the spending caps Congress imposed were making it difficult for the Pentagon to meet mission requirements, and set aside time and money for crucial training.

“No enemy in the field has done more to harm the readiness of the U.S. military than the combination of  budget caps and temporary funding resolutions," Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said earlier this week.