Troops, Toys & Threats: Trump Signs $700 Billion Military Funding Bill

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war money military industrial complex

US President Donald Trump has signed into law $700 billion in funding to the Pentagon, which includes a pay raise for troops and funding for a number of pet projects. It also breaks the ceiling set by the 2011 law on budget caps.

Congress sent the final version of the 2018 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) to Trump at the end of November, and he ceremonially signed the bill Tuesday. The White House noted that the bill envisioned the largest pay raise for US military personnel in eight years and the biggest military expansion since the 1980s.

The final markup allocates $634 billion to Pentagon operations and almost $66 billion for the overseas contingency operations (OCO) fund, intended for bankrolling wars in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere. That’s about $32 billion more than what Trump initially requested.

Shiny toys

“Brand new beautiful equipment is on its way, the best you’ve ever had by far,” Trump said on Tuesday. The bill authorizes the purchase of many weapons systems. In particular, the Congressional version authorizes the expenditure of $10.6 billion for 94 Joint Strike Fighter planes, which is $3.1 billion and 24 planes more than the White House asked for.

This translates into 60 F-35A models for the US Air Force, 24 F-35B models for the Marines, and 10 F-35C models for the US Navy. Another 24 F/A-18 Super Hornets – 10 more than the administration requested – have also been approved, to make up the shortfall of Navy planes.

The bill also approves $103 million more than the government requested to restart the production of A-10 ground attack aircraft, a 1970s workhorse which the F-35 was supposed to replace.

More missile money

Over $12 billion is allocated to the Missile Defense Agency (MDA), along with orders for a rapid buildup of missile defense capabilities to counter the threat from what Trump called the “vile dictatorship in North Korea.”

Congress approved $705 million for missile defense programs the US is developing jointly with Israel, including  $290 million for purchases and $268.5 million for research, development and testing – $558.5 million more than the administration requested.

Another $65 million is allocated for research and development of a ground-launched intermediate-range missile, in order to close the “capability gap” with Russia without violating the 1987 Intermediate Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty.

The bill declared that Russia’s RS-26 Rubezh ballistic missile is violating the INF Treaty. Trump took exception to that, saying he will “apply this provision consistent with the President’s constitutional authority to identify breaches of international agreements.”

More ‘warriors’

The NDAA would also see the size of America’s armed forces increase for the first time in seven years, with Trump referring to US service members as “warriors” during the signing of the bill on Tuesday.

“Finally, the defense bill authorizes major investments in our military’s greatest weapon of all: its warriors,” Trump said“The NDAA increases the size of the American armed forces for the first time in seven years, and it provides our military service members with their largest pay increase in eight years.”

Trump has long spoken of wanting to build up the “depleted” US military, stating in February that America was going to start “winning wars again.”

Big Bad Russians

Claiming that “Russian aggression” requires the US to consider permanently deploying troops in Eastern Europe, the NDAA allocates funds for “European Deterrence Initiative” to the base Pentagon budget. Such funding was previously part of the contingency operations fund.

The Russian threat was also invoked to prohibit the Pentagon from using software developed by Kaspersky Labs, and to approve $500 million in “defensive lethal assistance” to Ukraine. However, the disbursement of these funds will be conditional on “substantial” reforms of Ukraine’s military by the authorities in Kiev, which would need to be certified by the US Secretary of Defense.

War without end

Even though Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) has been declared defeated in Syria and Iraq, the NDAA authorizes $1.8 billion in funding for counter-IS efforts via the “train and equip” program. Another $4.9 billion was allocated for the Afghanistan Security Forces Fund, of which $25 million will go towards “recruitment, training, and integration of women into the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces.”

Pentagon audit and reforms

The 2018 NDAA also requires the Pentagon to certify its financial statements as ready for audit. Last week, the Department of Defense announced it would start the first-ever audit of some $4.2 trillion in assets.

Section 910 of the NDAA promotes the Chief Management Officer (CMO), to the third most senior position in the Pentagon. While Trump said he supports the policy behind it, the provision “raises constitutional concerns” related to the president’s appointment authority, he said in a signing statement.

In order for the NDAA to become law, Congress would need to repeal the 2011 sequester that imposes limits on federal spending, which has not happened yet. The law caps 2018 military spending at $549 billion.

Deal-breaker

Among the amendments to the NDAA, No 1096 aims to “prohibit multichannel video programming distributors from being required to carry certain video content that is owned or controlled by the Government of the Russian Federation.”

Senator John McCain (R-Arizona) submitted the amendment, proposed by Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) and co-sponsored by Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-Rhode Island).

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  • darkhorse

    $700 billion for the United States to fight the Jewish wars??? Where’s the $$$ coming from? The American taxpayers? Is it time yet, folks???

    • NonYo Business

      Rally the troops Darkhorse… get them jews Boi!

      • darkhorse

        they’re all asleep… they deserve to lose everything – and they are!!

  • Zaphod Braden

    Trump is a jewish meat puppet. I said so during the election. I thought Bannon might have some truck but Kushner knifed him well. To the Arabs the sellout of Jerusalem which incidentally has been open to all faiths for centuries is the ultimate betrayal by the Great Satan. I worked in the ME for some years. I know the Arab psyche. قصاص ‘An eye for an eye’. It’s also the great betrayal of Amerika. Sold for a few shekels. Trump should be impeached, not just for the betrayal but for blind stupidity and incompetence. Amerika has a long history of idiotic Presidents but Trump really takes the cake. A NY hustler totally outclassed on the World stage. Putin and Xi Jinping must have spilled their soup when they heard.
    Trump is making ISRAEL FIRST
    We do NOT owe Trump a thing. We voted for the PROMISED policies of AMERICA first.
    FAKE —- Trump is a FAKE president —– Trump’s Biggest Owner/Donor Sheldon Adelson Pushed For Jerusalem Embassy Move https://www.globalresearch.ca/trumps-bigge…mbassy-move/5621657 ahhhhhhhh what happened to Trump “Too rich to be bribed and funding HIS OWN campaign”?????? Bought and PAID FOR …………..

    Not only that, Mister “Art of the Deal” who claims every treaty we have is a “rotten deal” …. What did Mr. Negotiator GET for groveling to his Owners? Will Adelson order all the Jewish politicians that have been blocking the Wall and forcing Invaders onto Us to STOP?!? Will America finally cut off the $5+BILLION WELFARE CHECKS ? Israel has been collecting WELFARE from America for SEVEN DECADES, did Drumpf stop that !?
    The United States can no longer pretend to be an objective negotiator, and finally the farce of the never-ending “peace process” can end.

  • Zaphod Braden

    NOW is the time we should be paying off our debt — 7 years feast ……..
    Get some FACTS straight …. the DOW, NASDAQ, & S&P are hitting all time highs. Unemployment is supposed to be at all time LOWS. We are supposedly having a glorious upsurge in the economy, If we do not pay off the debt NOW when will we? All this glorious economic news and we still have DEFICITS?! Why do you have to “cut taxes for the already rich” so they will supposedly be inspired to create more jobs …… when everybody is supposedly employed???!! And the true job creation is proven to be by Small Business and financed by Middle Class spending, NOT by millionaires.

    We should be raising taxes. If these Billionaires had to pay a proportionate amount equal to the benefit they derive from Us protecting Their money, property, LIVES …….. they would take an interest in getting a GOOD government not just one that serves their immediate interests …. They would insist on ending corruption and waste and balancing the books. People whine there is no such thing as “fair” taxes ,,,,, but there is . The Workers pay with blood & money for ONE house with a mortgage to the BANKSTERS ….. counting all they pay for state, local, sales, federal taxes 1/3 of their gross. The Billionaires whine they need tax cuts “to create jobs” and NEVER SERVE in uniform so they never get PTSD, amputations, maimed or die.
    TAKE 60% of their gross because they own multiple homes with NO mortgages.
    It is past time these Billionaires & mega-corporations PAY for the wars from which they profit and which protect them. Either PAY for the wars, or we put your Boards of Directors in the Front Lines to BLEED with us working stiffs. You want to move your corporation, OUR JOBS, to another country to dodge taxes here? So WE have to pay for your wars? Over YOUR DEAD BODIES. The U.S. has intervened militarily and covertly in so many nations it is impossible to recount them all but in every case the American military is protecting some investments of value to American corporations, or a strategic position or both.

    ————————-
    Time for the 1% to contribute PROPORTIONALLY to the War Efforts. Much is expected from those to whom much is given.
    Some of our Troops give ALL, or are maimed for life,and the 1% balks at giving MONEY when they have so much?!
    Cut taxes for the “Rich” so they will invest their money in creating more jobs? Humanity already tried that. It was called FEUDALISM, a primitive form of COMMUNISM.
    LISTEN to what these neocon PSEUDO-capitalists are saying:
    “TAKE from the POOR and GIVE to the RICH” According to their “genius” we should give everything we have to the .01% and that would make us all RICH.
    It is proven that the Middle Class creates the jobs through their spending. Just look at what happened when Ford paid his workers a living wage ….. the economy exploded.
    “FROM each according to their ABILITY, TO each according to their NEED. The POOR have the ABILITY to be squeezed for more taxes …….. and the Rich NEED more money to MAYBE create jobs”.
    This is INSANITY, this is C-O-M-M-U-N-I-S-M by a different name.
    The 1% rich “Nobles” paid NO taxes and they created LOTS of jobs for the SERFS and PEASANTS………building CASTLES and making life better for the RICH-NOBILITY. Work and Taxes was all the Serfs knew. Where do the heroic figures of Robin Hood and William Tell spring from if not resistance to this inane idea? Seing this extremist idea dragged out of the muck of history proves to me that our Nation has truly been DUMBED DOWN and Public Schools need to be upgraded and intensified.
    Quit living in Never-Never Land where Wars are not paid for. The Founding Fathers of America didn’t. The Founding Fathers were rich, but they knew it was their CIVIC DUTY to contribute. It was called LEADERSHIP. They personally “raised” entire companies of men for the war. That means THEY PAID FOR THEM. Not like today when the YELLOW-BELLIED-DRAFT-DODGING RINONeocan WAR PROFITEERS beat the drums for endless war, and insist that YOU pay for it, while they reap profit off Defense Stocks. It is REALITY CHECK time America. Make those who pound the War Drums, GO TO THE WAR.