Military brass to detail budget needs—14gh.,b37
The Armed Services committees are getting the ball rolling on their plans to beef up the military, with the vice chiefs of each branch visiting both the House and the Senate in the coming week to detail their budget needs.
President Trump has promised a “great rebuilding” of the military and directed Defense Secretary James Mattis to conduct a readiness review. But he’ll need Congress to authorize and appropriate funds for any military buildup. President Trump on Friday afternoon signed an executive memorandum that he said would spark a “great rebuilding” of the United States military.
“First, I’m signing an executive action to begin a great rebuilding of the armed services of the United States, developing a plan for new planes, new ships new resources, and new tools for our men and women in uniform, and I’m very proud to be doing that,” he said at the Pentagon. “As we prepare our budget request for Congress … our military strength will be questioned by no one, but neither will our dedication to peace, we do want peace.”
The executive action calls on Trump’s newly minted Defense secretary James Mattis — who was sworn in by Trump at the Pentagon on Friday — to conduct reviews and make recommendations aimed at bolstering the military and U.S. nuclear capabilities.
Mattis was instructed to conduct a 30-day “readiness review” of the armed forces to assess “readiness conditions, including training, equipment maintenance, munitions, modernization, and infrastructure” and submit a report about actions that can be implemented within the fiscal year.
The document also calls for a joint review from the Pentagon and Office of ManagementBudget (OMB) to craft a budget amendment that would boost military spending this year and give Mattis the ability to make changes to his agency’s budget proposal for 2018 within 90 days.
Mattis is also tasked with reviewing the United States’ ballistic missile and nuclear systems to “ensure that the United States nuclear deterrent is modern, robust, flexible, resilient, ready, and appropriately tailored to deter 21st-century threats and reassure our allies.”
Strengthening the military was one of Trump’s major campaign promises. He said this week that he would prioritize military spending over a balanced budget.
In line with Trump’s order, Mattis directed the Pentagon on Wednesday to begin a review of its budget. The review will start with a request for more money for this fiscal year and then look to craft a budget for fiscal 2018. “The president and I are committed to strengthening the U.S. Armed Forces,” Mattis wrote in the memo, dated Tuesday. “The ultimate objective is to build a larger, more capable and more lethal joint force, driven by a new National Defense Strategy.”
Trump’s order, signed Friday at the Pentagon, calls for rebuilding the military to pursue “peace through strength,” a slogan Trump used in the campaign. The Pentagon’s efforts will be split into three phases, according to Mattis’s memo.
The first phase will include a fiscal 2017 budget amendment request. The request should address “urgent warfighting readiness shortfalls” and new requirements created by accelerating the campaign against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, Mattis wrote.
“The amendment may increase force structure in critical areas where doing so would have an immediate readiness impact,” Mattis wrote. The request will include offsets from “lower priority programs” but will be a net increase over what former President Obama had requested for fiscal 2017.
The second phase will include a “comprehensive but accelerated” fiscal 2018 budget review, the memo says. The budget should address programmatic shortfalls including buying more critical munitions, funding facilities sustainment at a higher rate and growing force structure.
The third phase will include crafting the 2018 National Defense Strategy. The strategy will include a new force sizing construct and an approach to enhancing lethality and effectiveness of the force, according to the memo.
Following the creation of the strategy will be the fiscal 2019–2023 Defense Program, which will seek to further grow the force, invest in advanced capability and improve how the department does business, the memo says.
“Through all of these budget and program actions and strategy reviews, we cannot lose sight of the imperative to keep faith with our service member and their families,” Mattis concluded. “We will ensure that we are caring for those charged with defending the nation and its interests.”
The annual defense policy bill was marked up in the House committee at the end of April last year and passed by the full House in May.Thornberry also blamed Congress’s reliance on a continuing resolution (CR) to fund the government for pushing back work on next fiscal year. The CR expires at the end of April, at which point Congress will need to decide on a way to fund the government for the rest of the fiscal year.