Wish list: How should a defense budget increase be spent?

Pay increases, mental health services and updated equipment are the highest priorities for the military community

Wish list: How should a defense budget increase be spent?

Lance Cpl. Ivan Franklin attached to 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit, conducts an equipment inventory to account for gear in the upper vehicle stowage area of the amphibious assault ship USS Bataan (LHD 5). (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Raymond Minami/DVIDSHUB)

By Military1 Staff

Last week, President Trump proposed increasing the national defense budget by $54 billion, a nearly 10 percent increase from the current budget. Officials from every branch more than likely already have a list of a million things they’d love to see that money go towards.

But, those working day in and day out on the ground to ensure planes continue to fly, ships continue to sail and hills continue to be taken have ideas for the extra money, too.

Pay increase

After several years of smaller than average pay increases that barely keep up with the cost of living, many in the military community think a healthy pay raise is in order. It will be interesting to see the size of the military pay raise in Trump’s first defense budget this fall.

Equipment upgrades

A military that has spent the last 16 years at war will show wear and tear, including gear and equipment. With international conflicts increasing, not decreasing, it’s important to invest in upgrades and updates for all branches so troops can continue to be successful without sacrificing safety and preparedness.

“Put money aside for gear like shrapnel- and bullet-resistance protection,” Justin Brooks wrote in a Facebook post. “Update vehicle parts and replace antiquated equipment for all units.”

Mental health support

Back-to-back deployments have not only put stress on equipment and gear, but on troops themselves. Mental health awareness and treatment is an important part of taking care of returning servicemembers, without stigmatizing their needs.

Training and Reserve investment

Low troop numbers means the amount of time spent on training hours and prepping for tactical scenarios is cut, which creates vulnerability during deployments.

“I suggest pouring [additional funds] into the Guard and Reserves,” Alex Corrales wrote in a Facebook post. “By encouraging more active duty personnel, particularly in the Army and Marine Corps, into the Guard or Reserves the government would not only save more money, also ease these heroes’ transition to civilian life.”