President Donald Trump signed the Department of Defense appropriations bill on Friday, providing $674 billion to fund military operations in Fiscal Year 2019, which begins Monday.
By signing the bill into law before the Oct. 1 start to the fiscal year, members of Congress noted this was the first time in a decade the military received funding on time.
“When I became Chairman of the Armed Services Committee, too many of our senior commanders and DOD officials had become resigned to the notion that inadequate budgets and inefficient continuing resolutions were going to be facts of life far into the future,” Rep. Mac Thornberry (R-Texas), chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, said in a statement. “These same officials had begun to view degraded readiness and lost agility as risk factors they would have to accept when facing increasingly sophisticated adversaries. Today, President Trump’s signature begins to turn that situation around. It is a monumental achievement. By funding our military in full and on time, we can begin to restore its strength, agility, and effectiveness.”
The bill, a $19.8-billion increase from the FY 2018 level, funds an active duty personnel pay raise of 2.6 percent and provides money for several key Navy and Marine Corps programs.
“The priority of this defense bill is supporting our troops and their families in the field and at home. At the same time, our bill is geared towards innovation, with record levels of funding for research and development and medical research, which I’m hopeful will lead to the breakthroughs of tomorrow,” Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), the ranking member of the Senate Appropriations defense subcommittee, said in a statement.
“This bill shows what Democrats and Republicans can accomplish when we work across the aisle to solve problems.”
The bill provides $24.2 billion for building 13 new battle force ships – three Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyers, three Littoral Combat Ships, two Virginia-class attack submarines, two John Lewis-class fleet oilers, one Expeditionary Sea Base, one Expeditionary Fast Transport and one towing, salvage and rescue ship.
The bill provides funding for prep work associated with future ship construction, including $250 million for buying materials to build an additional Arleigh Burke in 2020 and $225 million to increase the capacity of the nation’s submarine industrial base.
For aviation, the bill provides $468 million for six additional Navy and Marine Corps V-22 aircraft and $340 million for two additional Navy E-2D aircraft beyond the Pentagon’s request. The bill also increases F-35 Lighting II Joint Strike Fighter funding by $1.7 billion to pay for 16 additional aircraft – eight for the Air Force and eight for the Navy and Marine Corps.
“This package continues a historic increase in funding for our nation’s defense, helping the President deliver on his commitment to rebuild the military and keep our Armed Forces the strongest and best trained, equipped, and prepared in the world,” Sen. Richard Shelby (R-Ala.), chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, said in a statement.
The defense industry also applauded the on-time passage of the defense appropriations bill. The National Defense Industrial Association (NDIA) – a trade group representing the interests of defense contractors by promoting department of defense budget stability – released a statement complimenting the bill’s signing.
“NDIA is pleased the Defense Department will have accurate funding to execute the administration’s security strategies without the looming specter of another continuing resolution, which in the past has left our warfighters inadequately funded and our readiness and modernization levels depleted,” the NDIA statement said. “As the Senate and House passed the conference report by large margins, NDIA is hopeful that both the administration and Congress will continue to respect all stages of the budget process. Budget instability hurts the defense industrial base’s ability to supply warfighters with the equipment they need to defend our homeland. Budget stability is among NDIA’s strategic priorities, and we will continue this advocacy and look forward to engaging with stakeholders in the administration and on Capitol Hill.”