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Donald Trump signs $692 billion defence budget

The budget would give legislative authority to the US President to implement his South Asia strategy and authorises critical missile capabilities to confront threats posed by North Korea.

world Updated: Dec 13, 2017 14:29 IST
Press Trust of India, Washington
Donald Trump,Defence budget,US Defence
US President Donald Trump, surrounded by military officials and members of Congress, signs the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2018 at the White House in Washington, DC, on Tuesday.(AFP)

Terming it a “momentous step”, US President Donald Trump signed a $692 billion defence budget which will give legislative authority to implement his South Asia strategy and authorise critical missile capabilities to confront North Korea’s threats.

Trump signed the budget at the White House on Tuesday while noting that the National Defence Authorisation Act (NDAA) could not have come at a more opportune or important time.

The NDAA authorises $626 billion of the base budget resources for the Department of Defence and the national security programmes of the Department of Energy, providing an additional $66 billion for Overseas Contingency Operations.

It approves $26.2 billion for shipbuilding, including multi-year procurements of Virginia class submarines, $10.1 billion to procure 90 Joint Strike Fighter aircraft and $2.2 billion for Army ground combat vehicles.

The budget would give legislative authority to implement his South Asia strategy and authorises critical missile capabilities to confront threats posed by North Korea.

Trump had sought a major role for India in bringing peace in Afghanistan and ruled out a hasty withdrawal of troops from the war-torn nation while announcing his new Afghanistan and South Asia policy in August.

“This legislation represents a momentous step toward rebuilding our military and securing the future for our children,” he said.

He rued that the military had undergone a series of deep budget cuts in recent years that have severely impacted its readiness, shrunk capabilities, and placed substantial burdens on warfighters.

“Today, with the signing of this defence bill, we accelerate the process of fully restoring America’s military might,” he said, adding that this legislation will enhance readiness, expand and modernise forces and help provide service members with the tools that they need to fight and to win.

“We will fight and win. But hopefully, with this, we won’t have to fight because people will not be wanting to fight with us. It authorises funding for our continued campaign to obliterate the Islamic State. As you know, we’ve won in Syria, we’ve won in Iraq. But they spread to other areas and we’re getting them as fast as they spread,” Trump said.

“We’ve had more success with the ISIS in the last eight months than the entire previous administration has had during its entire term,” Trump said.

NDAA-2018 approves missile defence capabilities to create maximum pressure on the vile dictatorship in North Korea, he said.

“It upgrades our Ground Combat Vehicles, allows for the purchase of new Joint Strike Fighter aircraft, and paves the way for beautiful new Virginia-class submarines - the finest in the world,” Trump said.

First Published: Dec 13, 2017 14:28 IST