President Donald Trump released a budget blueprint for fiscal year 2018 on Thursday that includes $574 billion in Department of Defense spending and $65 billion in overseas contingency operations spending. Excluding the OCO money and adding non-DOD defense spending, the blueprint proposes $603 billion in base defense spending. As such, it achieves a ten percent increase over the 2011 Budget Control Act cap of $549 billion, an amount that Congress has repeatedly surpassed, and it achieves a three percent increase over President Barack Obama’s last projection for FY18. The Trump blueprint says it is focused on “the rebuilding of our Nation’s military without adding to our Federal deficit,” and the plan offsets its new defense spending with $54 billion in cuts to domestic discretionary spending. Congressional leaders immediately criticized the plan for its fiscal restraint. “The Administration’s budget request is not enough … to rebuild the military as the President has discussed,” said Rep. Mac Thornberry (R-Texas), chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, in a statement Thursday. Thornberry has endorsed Sen. John McCain’s (R-Ariz.) proposal that calls for $640 billion in FY18 base defense spending to recover from readiness gaps. Trump’s $603 billion budget “will not be sufficient to rebuild the military,” but risks leaving the military “underfunded, undersized, and unready to meet the threats of today and tomorrow,” said McCain, who chairs the Senate Armed Services Committee, in a statement Thursday.
The U.S. supports “a stronger and more capable” European defense, Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III said during an Oct. 22 press conference in Brussels—but that defense should not duplicate the functions and capabilities of the NATO alliance.