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Trump Signs $82 Billion Spending Boost for Pentagon

"It was not very hard" to get the spending bill through Congress, Trump said. And he's definitely right about that.

Cris Faga/ZUMA Press/NewscomCris Faga/ZUMA Press/NewscomPresident Donald Trump on Monday signed a military budget boosting the Pentagon's spending by $82 billion in the next year—a spending increase that dwarfs the entire military budgets of most other nations on Earth. Russia, for example, will spend an estimated $61 billion on its military this year. Total.

With the increased spending included in this year's National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), the Pentagon will get to spend more than $700 billion next year. The budget hike was a priority for Trump and was approved by Congress as part of a March spending deal that saw spending on both defense and domestic programs hiked by about $165 billion—smashing through Obama-era spending caps.

This year's NDAA is "the most significant increase in our military and our war-fighters in modern history," Trump said. "It was not very hard. I went to Congress, I said, 'Let's do it, we gotta do it.'"

Indeed, it was not very hard. Democrats are quick to condemn nearly everything Trump proposes and many Republicans are less than enamored with the current occupant of the White House, but partisan animosity vanishes when defense spending comes up. The final House vote on the NDAA—technically known as the "John S. McCain National Defense Authorization Act" because you wouldn't vote against something named after an American hero, right?—was 359-54, while the final Senate roll call was 87-10, with only two Republican senators opposing the bill and three declining to cast votes.

The spending increase will allow the Pentagon to hire another 4,000 active duty soldiers, Trump said, and would help replace aging tanks, planes, and ships with "the most advanced and lethal technology ever developed."

"Hopefully, we'll be so strong that we'll never have to use it," Trump said. "But if we ever did, nobody has a chance."

Trump also used the occasion to plug his recent call for the creation of a Space Force, which would be the sixth branch of the U.S. military. A Space Force is necessary, Trump said, to counter aggression from other countries in the final frontier. "I've seen things that you don't even want to see," Trump said, apparently referencing advancements in space technology being developed by other countries.

There is no funding included in this NDAA for the Space Force, but the administration plans to have the new branch up and running by 2020—and it's not going to be cheap.

No worries, Trump seemed to say on Monday, as he promised more spending increases to come—reversing what he said was years of "depleted" spending on the Pentagon.

But as I noted in June when the NDAA cleared the Senate: the Pentagon's biggest problem isn't a shortage of funding, but misuse of the money that it already receives.

Unfortunately, we don't know much about that because the Pentagon has still not been subjected to a full scale audit, despite the fact that all federal agencies and departments were ordered to undergo mandatory audits in 1990. A preliminary audit of just one office within the Pentagon found that more than $800 million could not be accounted for. Auditors said the Pentagon's Defense Logistics Agency (DLA)—described as "the military's Walmart" because it's responsible for processing supplies and equipment—has financial management "so weak that its leaders and oversight bodies have no reliable way to track the huge sums it's responsible for."

Whether it's investing in bomb-sniffing elephants, paying $8,000 for something that should cost $50, or shelling out for the famous $640 toilet seat, there's no shortage of absurd waste in the Pentagon. A Reuters probe in 2013 found "$8.5 trillion in taxpayer money doled out to the Pentagon since 1996 … has never been accounted for. That sum exceeds the value of China's economic output [for 2012]."

The Pentagon doesn't need more money, but until politicans from at least one party show a willingness to turn off the tap, there is no incentive for the Department of Defense to change its culture of waste and tradition of opacity.

Photo Credit: Cris Faga/ZUMA Press/Newscom

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  • Jerryskids||

    The Great Negotiator convinces a small child to eat a large bowl of chocolate ice cream. You don't see skills like that every day!

  • Yellow Tony||

    You just don't get it, loser. The kid was lactose intolerant. It takes one hell of a negotiator to convince the angel and devil on his shoulders to agree on forcing this faggot kid to eat his motherfucking ice cream at gun point.

  • Juice||

    $8,000 for something that should cost $50

    Dammit, I got into the wrong business.

  • IceTrey||

    $500.

  • Juice||

    Still.

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    "$8.5 trillion in taxpayer money doled out to the Pentagon since 1996 … has never been accounted for.

    We're merely talking about scale here. This is everywhere in government, and its there by design.

  • IceTrey||

    Lets see 2% of our GDP is $400 billion. According to Trump we should cut the spending in half.

  • Juice||

    If the budget is $4T, then 2% would be $80B, wouldn't it?

  • Calidissident||

    The NATO target is % of GDP, but the % of the budget.

  • Calidissident||

    *not

  • Juice||

    Oh duh.

  • Just Say'n||

    "with only two Republican senators opposing the bill and three declining to cast votes."

    I'm old enough to remember when the opposition party reflexively adopted the anti-war position. If Democrats could get as riled up about war as they do over Judge Kavanuagh they might be worth a vote. But, alas, all their ideas are just a hodgepodge of identity politics mixed with neocon foreign policy.

  • Chipper Morning Baculum||

    Damn, I didn't know you were that old.

  • Just Say'n||

    Democrats in 2006 tried to de-fund the Iraq War and the Republicans in 2013 tried to preemptively vote against any assault on Syria (which just happened secretly, which Congress knew about and just nodding along playing dumb).

    The opposition party use to at least pretend to oppose needless militarization not that long ago

  • Just Say'n||

    "No matter who you vote for, you always get John McCain"

  • Rev. Arthur L. Kirkland||

    Another $250 per American -- $1,000 for an average family of four -- per year for military spending. That's atop more than $1,800 per American -- more than $7,000 for an average family of four -- previously devoted to military spending.

    Attempting to square that level of taxpayer funding with claims to support "limited government" and "small government" should test even the most devoted Republican, conservative, and/or faux libertarian.

  • The Last American Hero||

    After adjusting for inflation, that increase is roughly what the North and the South spent on the Civil War.

  • Hugh Akston||

    The spending increase will allow the Pentagon to hire another 4,000 active duty soldiers, Trump said, and would help replace aging tanks, planes, and ships with "the most advanced and lethal technology ever developed."

    America's aging military technology must be why the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq have been going on for near 20 years.

  • Libertymike||

    What would be the Randian explanation for the duration of these wars?

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    Triangles.

  • Libertymike||

    The Objectivist Center sees what you did. They have already contacted counsel.

  • Just Say'n||

    Objectivists oppose foreign conflicts?

  • Hugh Akston||

    Probably something to do with the denial of reality or something.

  • Libertymike||

    What type of reality denial?

  • Hugh Akston||

    How the fuck should I know man?

  • Libertymike||

    No problem.

  • coriander617||

    But there won't be ANY Money for a COLA for Social Security recipients this year....RIGHT???

  • loveconstitution1789||

    There should be massive cuts to Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and the military budgets.

  • Yellow Tony||

    I know a cheap method to perpetuate our military's dominance: harness the power of this nation's incels (and volcels.) To the ignorant ones here, when a male virgin reaches the age of thirty, he becomes a wizard and is blessed with fantastical powers. Further, as one's chastity matures, so does the man's magical power. If we are the first to form the Wizardry Corps, we will be the first nation to truly dominate the world with our mentally perturbed men.
    USA! USA! USA!

  • Mongo||

    The new Space Force motto is 'We have Nukes and are Orbiting You but We're a Bit Unsure on What to Do.."

  • Yellow Tony||

    I'm 90% sure that the Force will be tasked with developing Space AIDS.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    Are you HIV positive about that?

  • Yellow Tony||

    Considering the amount of (human and non-human alike) assholes I stuff my dick into, I hope not.

  • Yellow Tony||

  • NotAnotherSkippy||

    Thankfully we don't have to talk about entitlements because they are just magically funded. No, let's keep talking about everything but that.

    A Reuters probe in 2013 found "$8.5 trillion in taxpayer money doled out to the Pentagon since 1996 … has never been accounted for. That sum exceeds the value of China's economic output [for 2012]."
    The dollar amounts, too, don't necessarily represent actual money lost, but multiple accounting entries for money in and money out, often duplicated across several ledgers. That's how, for example, a single DFAS office in Columbus, Ohio, made at least $1.59 trillion - yes, trillion - in errors, including $538 billion in plugs, in financial reports for the Air Force in 2009, according to a December 2011 Pentagon inspector general report. Those amounts far exceeded the Air Force's total budget for that year.

    JOOURNALISMSS!!

  • Yellow Tony||

    Both social entitlements and military entitlements need to be drastically cut. Every time an article appears about government waste with respect to the military, somebody feels the need to point out this nation's ridiculous social spending despite the fact that both issues get covered here.

  • Hugh Akston||

    #whataboutism is a hammer and every article is a nail.

  • NotAnotherSkippy||

    Sticking your head in the sand is an effective fiscal plan.

  • Libertymike||

    Its happened to me on many occasions here as it has occurred with many others.

  • NotAnotherSkippy||

    No, the only thing that must be cut are entitlements. Every time that logic is pointed out innumerates come out and claim, "BUT BOTH!"

    And Reason publishes the occasional piece on entitlements think annual installments) versus the at least monthly whining about defense spending and the quarterly whining about tax cuts.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    Finally Reason covers something that Trump did, which was bad for the USA.

    This is a waste and the military needs to be pressured to make serious budget decisions on what they need and what they dont.

  • Libertymike||

    Monopoly. It sucks.

  • Juice||

    Sometimes they do that, but that doesn't satisfy the contractors. That's where all this money is going. Hmm. BRB, going to put in an order to buy a defense contractor ETF.

  • Happy Chandler||

    It's not like Bell Helicopter has a history of overcharging.

  • Sevo||

    Based on nothing other than your record of being an imbecile, I thought I'd check the links. Looks like the first one is as your innuendo suggests, but the second, well:

    "In August 2004, Bell notified the Defense Department's Inspector General that its billing of the costs of certain subcontracts, work transfers, and other transactions with its subsidiaries, divisions, and affiliated companies had resulted in overcharges to the government. The company submitted a report in 2006 describing its conduct and the financial impact on the government and paid the government $12,851,248.
    While the government was investigating and analyzing the conduct the company disclosed, Bell submitted additional reports detailing similar intra-company transactions with Bell Helicopter Textron Canada Limited that resulted in overcharges. As part of the settlement announced today, Bell agreed to pay an additional $3.7 million to resolve any claims the United States may have arising out of the newly disclosed conduct."

    You bet! We certainly don't want to contract with outfits which voluntarily report overcharging. Don't worry, your rep is safe.

  • Sevo||

    Just for the hell of it, I re-read the first link; you should too:

    "But federal prosecutors decided that the accounting issues that underlay the alleged cover-ups were so complex that it would have been difficult to successfully explain them to a jury, sources said Wednesday."

    So the claims of the government are so arcane that mere normals couldn't understand them?
    I'd say that issue is also in dispute, but dimbulb lefties who hate any profits naturally support any government claim, right, dimbulb?

  • Ken Shultz||

    "It was not very hard" to get the spending bill through Congress, Trump said."

    There's a congressional election in ten weeks. What did you expect, the Republicans to defy their voters and cut off the money spigot on principle?

    If the American people don't vote for candidates based on their fiscal conservatism, Trump probably isn't to blame for that. I'd blame the people who made Trump the central issue of the midterms.

    I blame the media and their TDS. If a tree falls in the forest, it doesn't make a sound unless the White House press corp can blame Trump for it somehow. They might ignore the House cutting spending in half unless Trump tweeted about it.

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    $82 Billion Spending Boost for Pentagon

    Good news, this is way... WAY down from what Ocasio-Cortez claimed on Trevor Noah's mostly-unwatched program.

  • Hugh Akston||

    All shows are mostly-unwatched.

  • Chipper Morning Baculum||

    Hugh, don't be so passive aggressive. I'll tune in next time. What's the URL for your webcam show again?

  • Giant Realistic Flying Tiger||

    double-u double-u double-u dot tubgirl dot ca.

  • LeaveTrumpAloneLiberal-tarian||

    Meh. Sky high defense budgets and locking ethnic undesirables in camps is the price we pay for Trump's libertarian agenda. Lighten up.

  • LeaveTrumpAloneLiberal-tarian||

    Of course, I would have voted for Gary Johnson in 2016, but I was convinced to vote for Trump because of his solid history of not using government power to advance his own agenda. That, and the role model he provides to men on how to treat women. I have one word for that: exemplary.

  • Chipper Morning Baculum||

    When are you gonna take on that cuck, OBL?

  • LeaveTrumpAloneLiberal-tarian||

    Doesn't it go without saying that the main battle we libertarians have to fight in 2018 was the fact that the aforementioned cuck raised taxes on 0.7% of the population by 3%? I mean, I didn't mention it because of its obviousness.

  • Giant Realistic Flying Tiger||

    LTA: You have really improved your schtick. It's smarmy, slimy, slick, and pretends to be a libertarian. You've put a bit of personality into it, and I've gotta say that it's pretty good, but not OBL level–yet. I say yet because while a week ago I would've never believed you could reach her level, now I think you legitimately have a shot to be just as good as OBL.

    The one thing I would suggest is changing the last word from "Liberal-tarian" to "Conserva-tarian." That'll help disguise the obvious trolling; would a Trump fan ever refer to him/her/itself as a "Liberal" rather than a "Conservative"?

  • No Yards Penalty||

    When are you going to take Trump's cock out of your mouth, Chipper Fuckwit?

  • Chipper Morning Baculum||

  • John||

    Meanwhile in Sweden

    http://twitter.com/petersweden.....10017?s=21

    Why cover this when there are important stories like 20 losers having a march in Washington

  • Chipper Morning Baculum||

    Oh, please. You know what they call that in California? An ember.

  • LeaveTrumpAloneLiberal-tarian||

    The example shown to us by rioters in Sweden is exactly why I want the government to decide who comes here-- especially considering the extremely low levels of violence that we have here in our peaceable republic. Thank you, John, for your thoughtful article and commentary.

  • Tony||

    What, are you auditioning for the unpaid internship at Fox News where you frantically dig up distractions? Let's mind our manners and stick to the point.

    Explain how this government spending is actually a good thing and Trump is a genius.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    Tony...manners....gone....

  • Conchfritters||

    ...the John S. McCain National Defense Authorization Act. Because of course. The man who grilled Lockheed for over spending hundreds of billions on the F-35, but then told everyone to write the check anyways. Maverick - - too bad Lindsey Graham isn't Goose.

  • Tony||

    I don't know how much more fiscal responsibility I can take.

  • Sevo||

    Tony|8.14.18 @ 12:10AM|#
    "I don't know how much more fiscal responsibility I can take."

    You seem very comfortably with it; tell us about O-care, shitbag. I love to hear about 'bending the cost curve' when I need a laugh.

  • Tony||

    Say one negative thing about Republicans.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    Republicans are not cutting the budget like their platform dictates.

  • VinniUSMC||

    Republicans suck slightly less than Democrats.

  • Sevo||

    OT:
    CA econ idiots have decided the CA city governments haven't yet dicked with the housing market enough to cause real damage, so we have Prop 10, guaranteed to kill new rental unit development now state-wide.
    https://ballotpedia.org/California_
    Proposition_10,_Local_Rent_
    Control_Initiative_(2018)
    You'll have to take this on my word for privacy reasons, but in discussions with a corporate officer, I'm told a good-sized CA REIT is now banking capital rather than working on any new rental developments in the face of the election outcome. Given the rent regulation in several cities, they had been focused on developing rental properties where that was not an issue.
    Rental unit development is becoming stalled for the reason that econ-idiots never understand; the market discounts the future. I remember turd assuring us that the hefty increases in medical insurance prior to the implementation of O-care couldn't possibly be a result of that, since it hadn't been passed yet. His idiocy is obviously contagious.
    Beyond that, properties which are near to or clear of debt will become more valuable as holes in the ground rather than rentals; 'you have 30 days...'
    CA renters? Better save up for a down-stroke on a condo; you screwed one way or the other.
    Suffice to say we'll do fine.

  • vek||

    I'm all for having a super strong, and advanced military... But we could probably cut our spending in half and still be fine.

    IMO I think our mistake is having so many active duty at all times. We're spending tons of money having people sitting around on bases doing nothing all the time. We should be spending more money than we do on R&D for crazy new fancy shit, but actually fielding less of it in the real world. Stay ahead of everybody technology wise, and we can roll it out as needed or as is convenient. With the number of allies we have worldwide for any REAL problems that might ever arise, we don't need hundreds of thousands of guys on call at the drop of a hat.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    Just having the USA pull out of Afghanistan, Iraq, and Syria would save the USA a good chunk of cash.

    Close down bases in Europe and Niger. Even more cash saved.

    Get a peace deal in Korea and then pull those troops out.

    Cut the Navy and the Air Force but make sure they have enough equipment to protect the USA and sealanes.

  • vek||

    All would be good/reasonable. If anything the navy and air force need to be kept closer to their current strength, because that's out projection power IF we ever need it. But I'm sure there is plenty of waste in them to be cut too, while keeping up actual useful programs.

  • Peacedog||

    Actually, I'm much more in favor of cutting down on free riders.

    The reality of US military dominance worldwide is that it guarantees the sea, and to a more limited degree air, lanes are open for all of that free trade libertarians are so big on.

    So, the answer to the outsized service the US provides for everyone else is easy:

    Start charging.

    And issue letters of marque for violators.

    Oh hey, European country X, you want your goods to make it safely across the Atlantic and through the Caribbean to Houston? Time to pay up bitches.

    Hi China, you want your goods to make it through the Suez to Greece. Ka-ching, thanks for the cash a-holes.

    If any of the other possible contenders were in charge of the major lines of transport, I doubt they would be as friendly about it.

    Plus, it's the perfect libertarian solution. Fee for service. Roughly $20T in international goods were exchanged. Charge a 2% access fee and you get $400B. Charge 5% and you just paid for the DoD and a significant part of the annual deficit. Hell, the Navy could easily get their 350 ship fleet paid for that way.

  • Echospinner||

    One idea is cut the Air Force and fold it into the army. The navy and marines do very well with their own air support.

    We do not need a space force. That can be handled by our existing forces.

    Privatize the VA.

    Get out of Afghanistan.

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