On new war­ship, Trump vows hike in de­fense bud­get

Pres­i­dent pledges boost in talk to crew of naval air car­rier.

Austin American-Statesman - - MORE OF TODAY’S TOP NEWS - By Ken Thomas

Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump pledged to boost de­fense spend­ing as he basked in the na­tion’s mil­i­tary might aboard a next-generation naval air­craft car­rier on Thurs­day.

Wear­ing an olive-green mil­i­tary jacket and blue ball cap, Trump vowed to mount “one of the largest” de­fense spend­ing in­creases in his­tory.

“Hope­fully it’s power we don’t have to use, but if we do, they’re in big, big trou­ble,” Trump said.

Trump spoke from the Ger­ald R. Ford, a $12.9 bil­lion war­ship that is ex­pected to be com­mis­sioned this year af­ter cost over­runs and de­lays. He touted his spend­ing plans, say­ing he would pro­vide “the finest equip­ment in the world” and give the mil­i­tary the “tools you need to pre­vent war.”

The pres­i­dent also toured the car­rier and met with sailors and mil­i­tary lead­ers

Dur­ing his trip to New­port News, Trump was joined aboard Air Force One by De­fense Sec­re­tary Jim Mat­tis.

A draft bud­get plan re­leased ear­lier this week by the White House would add $54 bil­lion to the Pen­tagon’s pro­jected bud­get, a 10 per­cent in­crease.

The U.S. cur­rently spends more than a half-tril­lion dol­lars on de­fense, more than the next seven coun­tries com­bined.

Trump, in his 2016 cam­paign, re­peat­edly pledged to re­build what he called the na­tion’s “de­pleted” mil­i­tary.

He of­ten ar­gued that the U.S. mil­i­tary is too small to ac­com­plish its mis­sions and pledged to put the Navy on track to in­crease its ac­tive­duty fleet to 350 ships, com­pared to the cur­rent Navy plan of grow­ing from 272 ships to 308 some­time af­ter 2020. The Ger­ald R. Ford will be the first of the Navy’s next generation of air­craft car­ri­ers.

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