Thursday, January 19, 2017

Congress Produces Its Shopping List for Beefing Up the U.S. Military

The Chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, Arizona Senator John McCain, released a paper calling for the Pentagon to receive a nine percent boost in defense spending next year. The plan calls for spending more than $430 billion over five years.

The document warns that "China and Russia aspire to diminish U.S. influence and revise the world order in ways that are contrary to U.S. national interests." It also warns that North Korea and Iran pose threats to regional security, and that Al Qaeda, the Islamic State and other terrorist groups are threats into the foreseeable future.
The Navy, currently at 273 ships, was set to climb to 308 ships. President-Elect Donald Trump campaigned on a promise of 350 ships. Once Trump had won the office, the Chief of Naval Operations did him even better and declared the service needed 355 battle force ships.

Starting with submarines, McCain wants to accelerate production from two per year to three per year, up to four per year by 2021.
The Marines would mostly get manpower out of the defense increases. The Marines would grow from 182,000 personnel today to 200,000 by 2022.

The Air Force would see a major influx. Partially due to delays in the fielding of the F-35A, the service is short 100 active, combat-ready aircraft. Older aircraft are being retired before their replacements come on line, leaving a shortage of warplanes.

The Army is set to receive a mixture of both equipment and personnel. McCain wants to increase the Army from 475,000 active duty troops to 525,000 over five years.