US Defense Spending Jumps to $700M

Congress Boosts Funds for Fighter Jets, Missile Defense In Military Spending Spree (excerpt)

It’s a good time to be a defense contractor. Weeks after the White House released its budget request, which provided a massive increase in defense spending, Congress took over and added even more money for ships, aircraft and missile defenses in what amounts to a spending spree on major weapons systems.

As part of the $1.3 trillion omnibus bill signed by President Trump on Friday, defense spending will jump to $700 billion, the largest increase in 15 years.

“We need to take care of our military,” Trump said. “Our military is very depleted. But it’s rapidly getting better. And in a short period of time, it will be stronger than it’s ever been.”

Some budget analysts fear the infusion of cash could galvanize the Pentagon to invest in new programs that it won’t ultimately be able to sustain if the high level of spending doesn’t remain constant.

“The problem is, you can start ramping up, but if you don’t have a long-term budget deal to maintain this level of funding, a lot of this could get wasted,” said Todd Harrison, a senior fellow at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. “In many cases, we spent billions developing new technologies and new weapons but didn’t buy them, and that’s an ever-present concern when you’ve got a buildup in defense spending like this.”

One of the biggest boosts in funding is for aircraft. In all, the Pentagon would get 143 additional planes, bringing the total of aircraft procurement spending to $44 billion, a 27 percent increase over the White House budget request. The big winner is Lockheed Martin, which manufactures the stealth F-35 Joint Strike Fighter. (end of excerpt)

Click here for the full story, on the Washington Post website.

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