President Trump reiterated entreaties from military leaders on Tuesday when he called for Congress to end defense spending caps and increase funding for the Pentagon.
Trump used his first State of the Union address to link America’s ability to push back against militants in places in Iraq and Syria, and confront powerful states like Russia and China, to a strong defense budget.
“In confronting these dangers, we know that weakness is the surest path to conflict, and unmatched power is the surest means of our defense,” he said. “For this reason, I am asking the Congress to end the dangerous defense sequester and fully fund our great military.”
While defense spending has been constrained as a result of the 2011 Budget Control Act and the across-the-board budget limits it created, the Trump administration is hoping to restore military funding. The administration is expected to request $716 billion for its 2019 defense budget, a significant increase.
Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and other military leaders have said that the spending caps and a lack of a regular budget process endangered military readiness and jeopardized American security.