Washington, February 28: United States President Donald Trump has planned to boost the budget of defense spending by 10 percent in his first budget. Notably, the proposal will increase defense spending by 54 billion dollars but seeks to recoup that sum through deep cuts elsewhere, including foreign assistance other non-military spendings.
A White House budget official, who outlined the plan on a conference call with reporters, said the administration would propose "increasing defense by $54 billion or 10 percent." That represents the magnitude of the increase over budget caps Congress put in place in 2011.
However, Republican John McCain said the 603 billion dollar defense budget which was outlined by White House officials would be insufficient. But Mick Mulvaney, the White House budget director, said the plan would bring the Pentagon's budget to $603 billion in total, just 3 percent more than the $584 billion the agency spent in the most recent fiscal year, which ended on Sept. 30, 2016. The rise would be slightly higher than the country's current 2.5 percent rate of inflation.
Speaking at the White House during a meeting with state governors, President Trump said that he intends to do more with less and make the government lean and accountable. Trump's plan leaves large welfare programmes untouched, despite Republican calls for reform. The president has consulted government agencies about his plans and will present his budget to Congress in May. He said his proposal was a "landmark event" and would send a message of "American strength, security and resolve" to other countries.
Interestingly, President Trump has said previously he would expand the Army to 540,000 active-duty troops from its current 480,000, increase the Marine Corps to 36 battalions from 23 or as many as 10,000 more Marines boost the Navy to 350 ships and submarines from 276, and raise the number of Air Force tactical aircraft to 1,200 from 1,100.
He has not said where he would place the extra hardware and forces or made clear what they would be used for. The United States has been shutting some of its military bases in recent years. Trump has also said he would bolster the development of missile defenses and cyber capabilities. Importantly, military spending has declined in recent years due to budgetary battles in Congress that led to a spending freeze on defense.