Trump says wants defense buildup to
project U.S. power abroad
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[March 03, 2017]
By Ayesha Rascoe
NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (Reuters) - President
Donald Trump said on Thursday he wants a U.S. military buildup of more
ships and planes to "project American power in distant lands," making
his case for a proposed $54 billion increase in defense spending that
has U.S. lawmakers squabbling.
Wearing an olive military jacket and hat aboard a new aircraft carrier,
the Gerald R. Ford, in Newport News, Virginia, Trump said he wanted the
U.S. military to have the finest equipment in the world.
Trump this week proposed a $54 billion increase over last year in
defense spending, boosting the Pentagon budget to $603 billion, and said
he wanted to launch the biggest military buildup in American history to
make up for what he called a depleted armed forces.
Some Republican lawmakers want more money for defense and others, along
with Democrats, are opposed to his option for offsetting the cost of the
buildup in the U.S. budget. He would cut foreign aid and other
non-defense programs by $54 billion.
Trump said he would like to get the U.S. Navy back up to having 12
aircraft carriers. The Navy currently has 10.
"I just spoke with Navy and industry leaders and have discussed my plans
to undertake a major expansion of our entire Navy fleet, including the
12 (aircraft)-carrier Navy we need," Trump said, receiving applause.
"We also need more aircraft, modernized capabilities and greater force
levels," he said. "Additionally, we must vastly improve our cyber
There are questions about how the increase in the budget will be spread
across the different service branches and which weapons programs will
During the campaign, Trump said he would increase the Army's troop
strength and increase the number of ships in the Navy to 350 from about
275 ships. The timeline and the exact cost of the buildup is unclear.
[to top of second column]
Navy sailors listen as President Donald Trump delivers remarks
aboard the pre-commissioned U.S. Navy aircraft carrier Gerald R.
Ford at Huntington Ingalls Newport News Shipbuilding facilities in
Newport News, Virginia, U.S. March 2, 2017. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
Trump said the Navy will "soon be the largest it's been."
The U.S. Navy peaked at 6,768 ships in 1945 at the end of World War Two
and by 1990 it still had 570 ships, even though the ships now are more
advanced and capable.
"We are going to have very soon the finest equipment in the world," he
said. "We will give our military the tools you need to prevent war and,
if required, to fight war and only do one thing. You know what that is?
Trump said the Gerald R. Ford and other new ships "project American
power in distant lands."
"Hopefully, it's power we don't have to use. But if we do, they're in
big, big trouble," he said.
(Reporting by Ayesha Rascoe; Editing by Jonathan Oatis)
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