CBO: Trump military buildup adds $683 billion to Pentagon budget over 10 years

CBO: Trump military buildup adds $683 billion to Pentagon budget over 10 years
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President Trump’s plans to bulk up the military could add $683 billion to defense spending over the next decade above what had been planned by the Obama administration, the Congressional Budget Office said in a report released Monday

The Pentagon’s base budget would be $688 billion by 2027 under the desired military buildup articulated by the Trump administration, according to the CBO.

“For the years after 2018, CBO estimates, the administration’s goals for the military would result in steady increases in costs so that by 2027, the base budget (in 2018 dollars) would reach $688 billion, more than 20 percent larger than peak spending during the 1980s,” the report said.

“If the new administration’s goals for increasing the readiness, size and capabilities of the military were pursued, cumulative costs would be $683 billion (or 12 percent) higher from 2018 through 2027 than costs of the Obama Administration’s final budget plan for those same years, according to CBO’s projections.”

About half of the increase would come from Trump’s goals of expanding the size of the military, while the rest come in increased spending on existing plans.

The report assumes that the armed forces would grow by about 237,000 troops, the Navy would have 355 ships in its fleet and spending on new weapons and research for future weapons would increase. It bases its assumptions on congressional testimony, the 2018 budget request and other official documents.

Trump came into office pledging a military buildup, including thousands more troops, dozens more ships and at least 100 more combat aircraft.

For fiscal 2018, his administration proposed a $603 billion defense budget, about $575 billion of which was for the base budget.

Congressional defense hawks, meanwhile, have been pushing a nearly $700 billion defense budget for fiscal 2018, a number they say is more in line with the buildup. Of that, about $626 billion is for the base budget.

But budget caps for fiscal 2018 limit the base budget to $549 billion, unless Congress can strike a deal to raise them.

In Monday’s report, the CBO said the buildup would cost $295 billion more than budget caps through 2021, when the caps expire. Going over the caps triggers across-the-board spending cuts known as sequestration.

“Avoiding sequestration would require amending the [Budget Control Act] to increase the caps, scaling back the goals of DoD (and possibly those of the other agencies funded by the national defense budget), or taking some combination of those actions,” the report said.