On Monday, President Trump spoke before the National Governor's Association Meeting in Washington, D.C., announcing dramatic cuts to several federal agencies in order to boost military spending by $54 billion. Why does Trump want to increase military spending? That's the $54 billion question right now — but the president's hawkish federal budget plans shouldn't come as a surprise. In September, Trump outlined a 10-point national security plan that included increases in military spending in a speech to the Union League of Philadelphia. Here's what Trump said six months ago:
As soon as I take office, I will ask Congress to fully eliminate the defense sequester and will submit a new budget to rebuild our military. This will increase certainty in the defense community as to funding, and will allow military leaders to plan for our future defense needs.
As Monday's speech before the National Governor's Association proved, Trump has made good on that campaign promise. In September, Trump said the military funding increases would be "accomplished through common sense reforms that eliminate government waste and budget gimmicks" — another promise Trump kept on Monday, when he said that budget reductions would be made to "lower priority programs and most federal agencies."
That's all well and good, but literally why does Trump feel the need to increase our military spending? Speaking on Here & Now, military analyst Andrew Bacevich spoke to host Jeremy Hobson and asked the very same question, but with a much deeper layer of context:
Why do we need to spend an additional $54 billion? Where will that money go? ...toward what end? What is the strategy? What is the problem that spending an additional $54 billion a year is going to solve?
It's true that Trump inherited conflicts from Obama — three, specifically, in Afghanistan, Iraq, and north-west Pakistan. But, as Bacevich noted, Trump has yet to get into the specifics of what that $54 billion more will accomplish in relation to current U.S. conflicts abroad. "People talk a lot about military strategy as if sending an additional brigade of U.S. forces to the region is a strategy," Bacevich said. "It's not a strategy."
But perhaps Trump has foreshadowed exactly toward what that spending will go. In that same speech Monday, Trump said, "America needs to start winning wars again," but he did not specify what wars he thought the country was involved in that it wasn't winning or what wars it needed to start (and win, presumably). Either Trump thinks the country must wrap up its current "wars" — or start a new one entirely. The White House did not respond to Romper's request for comment.
The United States is engaged in several global conflicts that could critically impact U.S. interests, according to The Center for Preventative Action. But international conflict and "war" in the traditional sense are complex terms in the age of global terrorism. There's no denying that Trump is a war hawk — but does America really need another war?