WASHINGTON – US President Donald Trump signed Monday the Pentagon’s budget for almost $700 billion for fiscal year 2018, which includes additional funds for operations in Afghanistan and Syria.
“We need our military. It’s got to be perfecto,” Trump said upon signing the National Defense Authorization Act at the White House, accompanied by Defense Secretary James Mattis and Vice President Mike Pence.
Trump added that “only when the good are strong will peace prevail,” since “history teaches us that when you weaken your defenses, you invite aggression.”
In that regard, he touted the progress made since his arrival at the White House last January against the Islamic State (IS) in Iraq and Syria, with the recovery of important urban centers occupied by the jihadist group, such as Mosul in Iraq and Raqqa in Syria.
“We’ve won in Syria, we’ve won in Iraq...we’ve had more success with ISIS in the last eight months than the entire previous administration has had during its entire term,” Trump said.
The budget, which includes $626 billion for basic operations and $65.7 billion for missions abroad like Afghanistan and Syria, signifies a major increase over the $619 billion in fiscal year 2017.
It also allows for a 2.4 percent pay increase for members of the armed forces, the largest in seven years, and will permit 20,000 more soldiers to be taken on as well as the construction of new warships, submarines, F/A-18 fighter-bombers and helicopters.
The president has insisted on the need to strengthen US military capability after, in his opinion, the government of his predecessor, Barack Obama, cut back on the armed forces as part of a weak foreign policy.