Trump’s DOD Budget Raises Spending Modestly

President Donald Trump’s Fiscal 2018 defense budget, which will be officially unveiled Tuesday afternoon, will propose an increase of $18.4 billion, or 3.3 percent, over the final FY18 projections of the Obama administration. According to a leaked version of the DOD budget, Trump will propose essentially the same numbers included in the administration’s budget blueprint in March, or $575 billion in base budget spending, and $64.6 billion in overseas contingency operations funds. Almost half of the increased spending in the base budget is “consumed by the costs of the higher pay raise and end-strength levels enacted by Congress in FY 2017,” writes Todd Harrison, a senior fellow at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. The Air Force is expected to receive $165 billion in base funding, or an increase of four percent. Overall, “this budget does not appear to be a significant departure from the Obama defense budget,” Harrison writes. Nonetheless, he does not believe the budget is likely to pass the Senate in its current form because it exceeds the FY18 caps of the Budget Control Act for defense spending by $54 billion while cutting nondefense discretionary spending, including cuts to the State Department. In recent years, the Senate has been willing to raise BCA caps only when approving parallel spending increases in military and domestic funding. Harrison believes that “a compromise will be forged that includes a smaller increase for defense and no cuts to nondefense.”