President Donald Trump signed a massive defense bill authorizing everything from troop pay increases to military end strength in fiscal 2018. The Fiscal 2018 National Defense Authorization Act or NDAA calls for nearly $700 billion of military spending for the upcoming fiscal year, though Congress has yet to fully fund it.
The additional soldiers is set to be divvied up this way: 487,500 for the Army, 335,400 in the Navy, 186,100 in the Marine Corps, and 329,100 in the Air Force.
Additionally, $7.6 billion will fund 77 F-35 fighter jets and $24.1 billion for the building of 12 new battle force ships.
The White House authorized 2.6% pay raise for soldiers, describing it as “the largest pay raise in nine years.”
President Trump, who signed the bill, touted it as a step toward delivering on his promise to build up the military, and during a visit to Fort Drum in upstate New York, stated, “After years of devastating cuts, we are rebuilding our military like we never have before. Our bases and vital equipment were allowed to fall into a state of disrepair, …but those days are over.”
Stars and Stripes noted, ”Trump’s signature marks the first on-time passage of the NDAA in 22 years with the start of the 2019 fiscal year on Oct. 1.”
Rep. Mac Thornberry, R-Texas, chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, said:
“I appreciate President Trump’s commitment to strengthening our military, as evidenced by his signing this bill. his action, and the large votes in both the House and Senate, confirm that overwhelming majorities of both parties can work together on behalf of the men and women who serve our nation in the Armed Forces and their families. This measure continues to rebuild and repair our military while making needed reforms in the Pentagon. It takes important steps to confront the aggressive behavior of Russia, China, and others. Most of all, it helps ensure that our troops get what they need to carry out the missions they are assigned.”