President Donald J. Trump signs the $717 billion Fiscal 2019 National Defense Authorization Act at a ceremony. Photo: US Army
US president Donald J. Trump has signed a $717 billion National Defense Authorization Act under which the US Navy would get funds for a total of 13 new vessels.
Signed by the president at a ceremony at Fort Drum, New York, August 13, the NDAA includes funds for three littoral combat ships, a fourth Ford-class aircraft carrier, a Columbia-class ballistic missile submarine, and six icebreakers.
“With this new authorization, we will increase the size and strength of our military by adding thousands of new recruits to active duty, Reserve and National Guard units, including 4,000 new active duty soldiers,” Trump told members of the Army’s 10th Mountain Division and their families. “And we will replace aging tanks, aging planes and ships with the most advanced and lethal technology ever developed. And hopefully, we’ll be so strong, we’ll never have to use it, but if we ever did, nobody has a chance.”
The act – named for Arizona Sen. John S. McCain – does not fund the military. Rather, it authorizes the policies under which funding will be set by the appropriations committees and then voted on by Congress. That bill is still under consideration.
In addition to new ships, the act authorizes a 2.6 percent military pay raise and increases the active duty forces by 15,600 service members. It sets active duty end strength for the Army at 487,500 in fiscal 2019, which begins Oct. 1, 2018. The Navy’s end strength is set at 335,400, the Marine Corps’ at 186,100 and the Air Force’s at 329,100.
On the acquisition side, the act funds 77 F-35 joint strike fighters at $7.6 billion. Also included are 24 F/A-18 Super Hornets, 10 P-8A Poseidons, two KC-130J Hercules, 25 AH-1Z Cobras, seven MV-22/CMV-22B Ospreys and three MQ-4 Tritons.