Since the night of Tuesday, November 8 there has been utter turmoil in the United States. Some woke up the following morning feeling ecstatic while others felt like it was the apocalypse. A large portion of the campaign process was one fueled by the media in order to depict Donald Trump as a madman that would not be fit to be our Commander in Chief. One of his biggest promises to voters was a stronger military as he consistently bashed Obama and Hillary Clinton for allowing the military to be weakened substantially. Since the recent inauguration, he has continued his claims of strengthening all branches and here is an outline on how he plans to do so.
Trump wants to drastically increase defense spending in order to give the military the shot in the arm it certainly needs. The first obstacle standing in his way is the 2011 Budget Control Act. This put a cap on defense spending and limits the amount of flexibility he has in terms of growth. However, with the Republicans having control of both the house and the senate it is very likely this act could be squashed.
His vision for the Army is to increase Brigade Combat Teams from 32 which they currently have to 50 active teams. To put this into perspective it means growing from approximately 475,000 soldiers in uniform to around 540,000 soldiers. After officially putting an end to the ground campaigns in both Iraq and Afghanistan, the Army is currently the smallest it's been since the end of World War II. That is very alarming to most and cause for the reinforcement.
The Navy currently has 288 combat ships and Trump has stated he hopes to get that number up to 350 active combat ships. This insinuates heavy investments of new subs and Arleigh Burke-class destroyers. Assuming the defense budget cap is no longer in play, they also hope to renew maintenance on certain warships that had to be postponed due to rising costs and limited funding. In order to man the new equipment the Navy would likely increase from 330,000 sailors to 380,000 strong. This means Trump's navy would be the largest since 1998.
Both the USMC and Air Force would also see similar surges in personnel and equipment. Trump proposed an increase from 23 Marine Battalions to 36 and for the Air Force a target of 1,200 fighter aircrafts. There would need to be an additional 40,000 trained airmen to fly the additional aircrafts. This cannot happen over night as the required training is extensive but could happen over the next few years. The additional aircrafts are very necessary as the Air Force is still recovering from 2014 when cuts caused them to have the lowest number of active duty soldiers since 1948. In response to the additional battalions, retired Marine lieutenant colonel Dakota Wood is all for is. He claims the additional man power would allow the United States to win two wars at the same time. While fighting two wars simultaneously is no where near idea, the ability to do so is essential as the US can handle one major conflict and send additional forces to handle minor issues elsewhere around the world. This stance would strike fear into adversaries and mark a turning point in US defense as we would be more than capable.
Trump has also began to appoint several key members that will greatly effect the military. For one, the new Secretary of Defense is General James Mattis. He is highly respected among his peers as being a ferocious fighter as well as a strategic thinker. Trump made a point of expecting all generals to have a prosed plan on how to defeat ISIS within 30 days.
Whatever your opinion of Donald Trump may be, it is foolish to say a weak military will benefit the United States. Past administrations have made many mistakes in terms of the defense industry but Trump seems to be off to a strong start in terms of his vision to attack our enemies as well as his recent appointments. By surrounding himself with experienced veterans as well as his strong stance on making the military strong once again, I believe great strides will be made in this department.