In his address Tuesday to Congress, President Trump promised to make sure that the U.S. military gets what it needs to carry out its mission by securing “one of the largest increases in national defense spending in American history.” More funding would surely be a good thing, although the issues of how much and what for are complicated. No one should be under any illusions that a higher Defense Department topline guarantees a more capable armed forces.
Trump is reportedly seeking $54 billion over the sequester caps imposed by the 2011 Budget Control Act, which would bring 2018 defense spending to $603 billion. While Trump may view this proposal as historic, it’s only 3 percent more than President Obama’s final budget request. Meanwhile, the chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee has called for a much larger increase — to nearly $640 billion.
And as the post-9/11 defense buildup taught us, throwing more money at the Pentagon is not a panacea. What matters is how the money is spent. So what should we look for in the president’s budget request?
Read the full article at the Washington Post.
More from CNAS
CommentaryHow the Defense Budget Could Actually Increase (Slightly)
Once all is said and done, it is more likely that defense spending will end up growing rather than shrinking....
By Diem Salmon
CommentaryThe President (Probably) Isn’t Going To Nuke Anything This Week
The idea that presidents are able to use nuclear weapons in any way they personally desire is not correct....
By Tom Shugart
CommentaryA Joint Warfighting Concept for Systems Warfare
Future combat between peer and near-peer adversaries will be characterized, dominated, and decided by the collision of opposing systems of systems....
By Robert O. Work
CommentarySmall, Distributed, and Secure: A New Basing Architecture for the Middle East
A rethink of U.S. basing architecture is needed....
By Becca Wasser & Aaron Stein