With Oct. 1 marking a new month, the Pentagon is facing an unusual situation: For the first time in 10 years, it’s able to begin a fiscal year with funding in place rather than working under a continuing resolution.
President Donald Trump on Sept. 28 signed the so-called minibus appropriations measure, part of a larger deal of over $850 billion to fund labor, health and human services and education priorities. It also funds priorities spelled out in the 2019 National Defense Authorization Act.
A total of $686 billion is allocated for the Defense Department.
“Today, I signed into law important legislation to rebuild our military, protect our communities, and deliver a better future for all Americans,” Trump said in a statement. The bill, he said, ups defense spending to a record number and includes a 2.6 percent pay hike for troop — the largest raise in nearly a decade.
The funding would also pay for “93 new F-35 Lightning Joint Strike Fighters, 142 Apache and Black Hawk helicopters, and 13 Navy battle force ships—made right here in the USA,” the president said.
The bill also includes:
- Nearly $1.5 billion toward school safety;
- $6.7 billion to address substance use and mental health;
- A $1.3 billion boost for the National Guard and Reserve Equipment Account; and
- $1.6 billion, annualized, to keep building the border wall
DOD said the bill directly supports the three main lines of effort in the 2018 National Defense Strategy:
Restoring readiness and building a more lethal force;
Strengthening existing alliances while building new partnerships abroad;
Reforming and modernizing our department for greater affordability, accountability and performance
Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Sen. Richard Shelby, R-Ala., praised the president’s signing of the legislation and called the action “a drastic turnaround” in how the government has been funded in recent years.
“This package continues a historic increase in funding for our nation’s defense, helping the President deliver on his commitment to rebuild the military and keep our Armed Forces the strongest and best trained, equipped, and prepared in the world,” Shelby said in a statement.
The National Defense Industrial Association also applauded the bill’s passage.
“NDIA is pleased the Defense Department will have accurate funding to execute the administration’s security strategies without the looming specter of another continuing resolution, which in the past has left our warfighters inadequately funded and our readiness and modernization levels depleted.”