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Sunday, February 04, 2018
Why Trump's Investment in the Army Will Pay Off for the United States
A guest post by Josh Montgomery.
One of President Trump’s campaign promises was a bigger and better military, and he seems to be coming through with his historic passing of a $700 billion National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), in September of 2017.
Broken down, the total military spending is budgeted to be $824.6 billion, with $574.5 billion to be used as the base Department of Defense budget, $64.6 billion to be used for the Overseas Contingency Operations for the fight against the Islamic State group, $173.5 billion to be used for other agencies (Department of Veteran Affairs, State Department, Homeland Security, FBI and Cybersecurity and National Nuclear Security), while $12 billion is set aside for the State Department and Homeland Security’s fight against ISIS.
The final vote of the Republican chamber was 89-8 for the NDAA, for the fiscal year 2018. This Act authorizes $640 billion to be used to fund Pentagon’s capital operations: weapons purchase and troop payments; as well as $60 billion to be used to fund the ongoing conflicts in Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria.
Though the decision was controversial, as many complex topics tend to be, here are the top reasons this increase will benefit the US in the long-term:
1. The Technological Developments
Historically, greater investments in the military branch have led to great technological leaps and new gadgets. Just look at the computer, first developed for the purposes of the Second World War and now omnipresent.
It doesn’t stop there, with the Second World War the only war in which weapons used at the start of the war were nothing like the ones used at the outset. During the course of the war the atomic bomb, jet aircrafts and guided missiles, just to name a few, were developed.
With the US spending at its all time high, in addition to it being the biggest investor in the military (with China lagging behind with a spending of $215.7 billion), it makes it more probable that the US will be the power to decide the path of technological development.
It goes without saying that the US has a vested interest in developing these technologies first, in order to keep its position of the largest military force in the world and to keep the potentially devastating technologies as far away from potential enemies as possible.
2. The Macroeconomic Effects
As the defense sector is large and complex, it also includes and boosts great industries: research and development, manufacturing, human resources, etc…
A boost in military spending means more jobs in the defense sector and those closely connected to it, encouraging economic growth.
Not only will there be more jobs in the sector, but the current troops are entitled to a 2.1 percent pay raise, while veterans are set to receive more prominent support, which will boost their living standard and affect the economy positively.
To put it simply, more jobs and higher pay signify more spending power, which in term boosts the local economy and trade.
Additionally, the defense sector protects trade and property rights, which needs to run smoothly for a country as big as the US to seamlessly function; while investing in cyber-defense protects us when online, a dire need in times of technological improvements and emerging new technologies. It’s vital for the US to keep on top of new trends and develop cyber-defense simultaneously.
All segments of the defense sector stand to benefit from the new budgetary measures.
3. Not Being Caught Unprepared
Increased spending signifies preparedness for all scenarios, a position in which the US should be comfortable in, especially considering its history.
In the current budget, there is $8.5 billion budgeted to be used in strengthening missile defense. This seems to be prudent, as North Korea continues to conduct nuclear weapons and ballistic missile tests, while also issuing threats directly to the US.
Learning its lessons from history, the US will not allow the mistakes of the First and the Second World War to happen, when the country was caught severely unprepared for the conflicts, as it attempted to stay neutral.
Late-comers in the Second World War, the greatest war of all time claiming 60 million lives, the US is determined not to be caught unawares if such a conflict were to arise again.
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