WASHINGTON – United States President Donald Trump signed on Monday the defense bill that grants $717 billion to the Pentagon for the fiscal year 2019.
During a ceremony on Monday at Fort Drum, New York, Trump signed the National Defense Authorization Act that Congress approved in early summer.
“We got $700 billion. And next year, already approved, we have $716 billion to give you the finest planes and ships and tanks and missiles anywhere on earth,” Trump said during his speech.
“We will replace aging tanks, aging planes and ships with the most advanced and lethal technology ever developed. And hopefully we’ll be so strong, we’ll never have to use it, but if we ever did, nobody has a chance,” he added.
The budget line includes $617 billion for basic operations, some $69 billion for missions abroad such as in Syria and Afghanistan, and about $22 billion for a nuclear missile program.
It also includes a 2.6 percent wage raise for the Armed Forces, the largest in nearly a decade, in addition to the recruitment of 4,000 new soldiers.
The Pentagon will allocate this budget, for example, to purchase 77 models of F-35 Joint Strike Fighter jets for $7.6 billion and UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters for $85 million from defense contractor Lockheed Martin.
The budget will also fully fund the development of Northrop Grumman’s B-21 Raider stealth bomber.
For the Navy, the measure will authorize the purchases of three coastal defense ships: the fourth Ford-class aircraft carrier, six icebreakers, and a Columbia-class ballistic missile submarine.
The Army, for its part, will be allowed to purchase almost 5,000 combat vehicles, including 135 M1 Abrams tanks, 60 Bradley fighting vehicles, 197 armored multi-purpose vehicles, 38 improved recovery vehicles, and 3,390 joint light tactical vehicles.
Trump’s total budget for the Department of Defense consequently hits $717 billion, the largest since US troops left Iraq in 2011.
“The National Defense Authorization Act is the most significant investment in our military and our war fighters in modern history,” Trump wrote on Twitter.
This top-line budget for 2019 is well above the one authorized for this fiscal year ($700 billion) as well as the one approved by former President Barack Obama ($619 billion) during his last year in the White House.