Armed Forces News

The Trump administration’s proposed $686-billion defense-spending bill for 2019 includes a 2.6-percent raise in basic pay — the largest increase in nine years.

End strength would increase by 25,900 — 24,100 for the active force and 1,800 for reserve components — over 2018 figures. The Army would gain the most from the increase in personnel. The Association of the U.S. Army reported that strength would increase by 12.500 active-duty and 500 reserve and National Guard soldiers.
The proposal, which was submitted to Congress Feb. 12, also calls for $8 billion for family-support programs, to include:

* Spouse and community support.
* Childcare.
* DoD Dependent Schools (DoDDS).
* Commissary operations.
* Counseling services for those in uniform and their families.

The proposal also calls for significant increases in spending for aircraft, ships, ground systems, missile defense, munitions, nuclear deterrence, facility upkeep, reform of business practices, and overseas contingency operations. The services would get:

* 77 more F-35 Joint Strike Fighters, 15 KC-46 aerial refuel tankers, 24 F/A-18 Super Hornets, 60 AH-64 Apache attack helicopters, six VH-92 Presidential helicopters, 10 P-8A Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft, and eight CH-53K King Stallion helicopters.
* Two Virginia-class submarines, three DDG-51 Arleigh Burke-class destroyers, One littoral combat ship, one CVN-78 Gerald R. Ford-class aircraft carrier, two fleet-replenishment oilers, and one expeditionary sea base.
* Thirty amphibious combat vehicles, 5,113 Joint Light Tactical Vehicles, 135 M-1 Abrams tank modifications, and 197 armored multi-purpose vehicles.
* A modernized nuclear-deterrence arsenal, to include development of the B-21 long-range strike bomber, Columbia-class submarine, long-range standoff missile, and the ground-based nuclear deterrent.
Modernization initiatives include a plan to reduce management headquarters by 25 percent and elevating the status of U.S. Cyber Command. Another plan would split the Pentagon’s acquisition and technology office into two separate entities. One would address research and engineering, while the other would manage acquisition and sustainment.