Uncertain What a Trump Presidency Would Mean for Defense Spending

Donald Trump’s lack of clear positions on national security policy, including whether he favors undoing the statutory budget caps to increase defense spending, make it difficult to handicap what direction he would take the military if he captures the White House in November.

“I’m going to make our military so big, so powerful, so strong, that nobody — absolutely nobody — is going to mess with us,” the Republican presidential nominee says in a short video on his campaign website, reports Politico.

At a much-anticipated speech on foreign policy in April, Trump said the military would be “funded beautifully” if he becomes president — but he never explained what that meant, according to the story.

At this point, it’s not clear that Trump is planning to increase the Pentagon’s budget, as he has never outlined a position on defense spending. At times, he has indicated his efforts to eliminate waste and fraud would preclude the need to bolster DOD’s budget.

“It’s gonna be so strong, nobody’s gonna mess with us. But you know what? We can do it for a lot less,” Trump said in an October “Meet the Press” interview.

He also has referred to the need to limit the sway of the defense industry. “A lot of the equipment that we get in the military is not the equipment that the generals want,” Trump said at a May rally in Indiana. “It’s forced down their throat by a company that is politically good but doesn’t make the equipment that is good,” the candidate said.

“Trying to connect the dots is hard,” said Todd Harrison, director of defense budget analysis for the Center for Strategic and International Studies. “We have all of these different statements that were made at different times in different contexts, but what we don’t have is a detailed plan or policy statement about how all of these things fit together,” Harrison said.

Dan Cohen
Dan Cohen

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