By Military1 Staff
The Trump administration released its preliminary budget this week, called a “skinny budget,” and the military can glean quite a bit from its contents.
The proposed budget raises defense spending by nine percent, it increases the Department of Homeland Security’s budget by seven percent and the Department of Veterans Affairs by six percent, while bringing cuts to all other major government departments.
The big question for the military community, however, is how will President Trump’s budget affect them?
1. Army and Marines would see personnel increases
The budget would increase personnel in the Army and Marine Corps, which would be a welcomed change after years of reduction in force cuts that have depleted troop levels in the branches.
2. Veterans would see services increase at VA clinics
The $4.4 billion increase in funds to the VA would give veterans more access to health services. Some of the money would be used to hire more medical staff, significantly decreasing wait times at clinics and hospitals around the country. The Veterans Choice program would also see a boost from the budget, allowing more veterans to choose physicians and clinics outside of the VA when wait times are too high.
3. More naval ships in service
During the election, Trump pledged to grow the Navy fleet to 350 ships under his administration, a sentiment the Navy agreed with after his win in November. The Trump budget proposes an increase from the current 272 ships currently in service.
4. More F-35 purchases and other weapons, warships and missiles
According to Business Insider, nearly $14 billion of Trump’s $30 billion supplemental defense budget proposal for 2017 would be used to purchase more F-35 fighter jets, along with Army Blackhawk helicopters and THAAD missile defense systems, like the one that was recently shipped to South Korea as a deterrence to North Korean missile aggressions.
5. It may not be enough
Some early critics of the budget say that, despite the nearly 10 percent increase in defense spending, the plan still leave the military underfunded and exposed, particularly with increasing international threats from countries like North Korea and China.
“Such a budget does not represent a 10 percent increase as previously described by the White House,” McCain said in a statement on Thursday, “but amounts to a mere three percent over President Obama’s defense plan, which has left our military underfunded, undersized and unready to meet the threats of today and tomorrow.”