Trump Defense Bill, military spending


Spiegel898 (talk)

By Spiegel898 (talk) (English Wikipedia) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Gavin Kuncl, Writer

On August 13, President Trump signed a $716 billion dollar Defense Bill into law. The spending plan was overwhelmingly bipartisan, approved by the Senate in June with an 87 for and 10 against vote. It is one of the biggest defense budgets in American history.

The Defense Bill allows the Pentagon to spend $639.1 billion in base funding while earmarking another $69 billion for obligatory military expenditures. Military personnel get a 2.6 percent pay raise, the first pay raise in around a decade. The Defense Bill also identifies emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence, space and counter – space capabilities, cyber attacks, foreign influence operations and hypersonic weapons as threats.

This bill follows the trend of the military investing more in equipment. The United States Marine Corps (USMC) has begun to phase out the M16 rifle and its respective variants. The rifle has served the Corps since 1983 but is being dropped in favor of the more modern Heckler and Koch M416. The United States Army recently dropped the Beretta M9 sidearm, which has served the Army for nearly 32 years, in favor of Sig Sauer P320. The United States Air Force (USAF) has started phasing out older models of fighter aircraft and deploying the F – 35A jet for $94.3 million apiece.

According to the official North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) figures, the US spends only 3.5 percent of its GDP on defense. That 3.5 percent is nearly twice the amount spent on defense by other NATO countries combined.

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