You can tell a lot about the United States’ future military posture, goals and ultimately its actions by carefully analyzing President Donald Trump’s recently released proposed budget for FY 2017. Trump wants Congress to appropriate $639 billion in defense spending for the new fiscal year, a $52 billion, or 10 percent increase.

Air Force to play growing role in Trump's defense strategy

Surprisingly, Air Force overseas contingency operations personnel got the biggest financial boost seeing its budget grow an additional $168 million to $837 million in FY 2018. However, Air Force Reserve’s personnel budget stayed flat at $1.7 billion.

This could mean that the Trump defense department will depend more on beefing up the Air Force with new recruits and incentives to entice veterans to re-enlist. There has been much bipartisan criticism in Congress about the danger of depending too much on the Air Force Reserve and National Guard for ongoing, combat operations.

Aircraft procurement also got a nice budget boost from Trump, rising from 14 billion to 16 billion. The Air Force also got the biggest bump in its construction budget, up $93 million to $1.7 Billion. The Army construction budget got only a $28 million increase, while the Navy and Marine Corp. would get a $67 million increase. It becomes pretty clear that the Air Force will have an increasingly important role under Trump.

Trump budget pays for 'special skills' workers

A new item on Trump’s defense budget is $199 million that is proposed to be spent on recruiting and training workers with special skills for the Department of Defense. This could include the training of cyber war fighters or other various personnel needed to defend the United States in the 21st century.

This also could include hiring and training covert intelligence analysts.

If anyone doubts that the Trump Administration doesn’t believe in backing its foreign policy with a big stick, one only has to look at its hefty proposed increases in munitions, missiles and new aircraft in its proposed budget:

  • Army aircraft procurement – $5.2 billion, up $1.6 billion
  • Army missile procurement -- $2.3 billion, up $853 million
  • Army ammunition procurement -- $ 2 billion, up $487 million
  • Navy aircraft procurement -- $18 billion, up $4 billion
  • Chemical agents and munitions destruction, defense -- $678 million, up $12 million

Still, Trump's Defense Budget also reveals that his administration is not interested in increasing its Ground Troops in Afghanistan, Syria or Iraq.

Monies budgeted to help these countries against insurgents is flat. It appears that under Trump, the United States will depend more on its Air Force and Navy to project its power rather than the additional commitment of boots on the ground.

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