LISTEN TO TLR’S LATEST PODCAST:
By Saagar Enjeti
President Donald Trump’s 2018 budget for the U.S. government blames former President Barack Obama by name for the U.S. military’s readiness crisis.
The declaration is a break from traditional protocol, much like many of Trump’s actions in his first day in office. Past presidents have criticized their predecessors but generally avoided blaming them by name in official U.S. government documents.
“The military’s depletion under President Obama is our foremost challenge,” Trump’s budget declares. The budget continues, “under the Obama Administration, our shrinking military has been stretched far too thin. The military has been forced to make aging ships, planes, and other vehicles last well beyond their intended life spans. The President will reverse this dangerous trend. From rebuilding our Armed Forces to beefing up our border security and safeguarding our Nation’s sovereignty, this Budget makes security priority one.”
Trump pledged a large increase in military spending in an early February speech at U.S. Central Command saying the U.S. would reinvest in a “depleted” military. He continued, “You’ve been lacking a little equipment, we’re going to load it up. You’re going to get a lot of equipment.”
Even Trump’s 52 billion dollar increase in military expenditure is not enough, both chairmans of the armed services committee’s say. “With a world on fire, America cannot secure peace through strength with just 3 percent more than President [Barack] Obama’s budget. We can and must do better,” Senator John McCain said in a statement in late February.
Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee Mac Thornberry similarly said “While we cannot repair all of the damage done by those cuts in a single year, we can and should do more than this level of funding will allow.”