U.S. Military Is ‘Coming Back,’ Mattis Says
The U.S. military is “coming back,” Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said in response to the unveiling of the $686.1 billion defense budget for 2019 and the bipartisan agreement that lifted 2018 and 2019 caps on military spending.
“We appreciate Congress passing that urgently needed two-year agreement,” he said. The agreement lifts defense spending caps in the 2011 Budget Control Act by $80 billion for fiscal 2018 and $85 billion for fiscal 2019. Some of that money applies to other federal agencies, but DoD benefits from the majority of the increase. The 2019 budget, for example, proposes a $74.2 billion increase in Defense Department spending.
The Army budget would be $182 billion in 2019 under President Donald Trump’s budget, a $13 billion increase over 2018.
Mattis described DoD as “grateful” for the increase. “They’ve now found the money, so we will move forward with … a more capable, more lethal and obviously more ready force as we fill in the readiness gap,” he said. “It is up to us now when the money starts coming in to make certain that we spend it wisely and earn the trust of the American people.”
The U.S. has a “very strong military,” Mattis said. “You can see that everywhere we are operating, but we want to make certain that the underpinnings are sufficient.”