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Senate approves massive $700 billion military budget – here’s what’s in it

Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis visits Minot Air Force Base, N.D., Sept. 13, 2017. (DOD/U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Jette Carr)
September 19, 2017

The U.S. Senate on Monday passed a defense policy bill that gives the military a $700 billion budget, which is a boost of more than 27 percent over the previous budget.


This is the largest military budget to date, particularly the most significant budget to be passed during the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. The previous military budget was capped at $549 billion; this budget has been increased, then, by more than $150 billion, or about 27 percent.


The vote on the National Defense Authorization Act [NDAA] was passed by an 89 to 8 vote. The spending measure provides for the fiscal year starting Oct. 1.

Sen. John McCain, who chairs the Senate Armed Services Committee, said Monday: “The NDAA is the culmination of months of bipartisan work, and it is legislation in which all Senators, and all Americans, can take great pride. The fundamental purpose of this legislation is to provide our Armed Forces what they need to do the jobs we ask of them. Congress has no higher duty than to do everything we can to support our fellow Americans who serve and sacrifice every day to keep us safe.”


McCain had tweeted some key points of the NDAA prior to its passing, and said the legislation “strengthens our ability to deter and respond to attacks in cyberspace by increasingly aggressive Russia and China.”


He also tweeted: “By authorizing $8.5 [billion] in new homeland, regional and space missile defense, the [NDAA] works to counter North Korea’s provocations.”


The NDAA also “strengthens Pentagon accountability and streamlines the process for getting our troops the equipment, training and resources they need,” McCain tweeted.


Notably, the bill increases U.S. missile defenses and provides funds so that some military bases will not have to be closed. It also reportedly calls for funding for more F-35 and F/A-18 Super Hornet fighter jets and Navy ships.

The bill also authorizes the Department of Defense for:

  • Procurement, including aircraft, missiles, weapons and tracked combat vehicles, ammunition, shipbuilding and conversion, space procurement, and other procurement;
  • Research, Development, Test, and Evaluation;
  • Operation and Maintenance;
  • Working Capital Funds;
  • The Joint Urgent Operational Needs Fund;
  • Chemical Agents and Munitions Destruction;
  • Drug Interdiction and Counter-Drug Activities;
  • The Defense Inspector General;
  • The Defense Health Program;
  • The Armed Forces Retirement Home;
  • Overseas Contingency Operations; and,
  • Military Construction.

According to the Bill summary, H.R. 2810, the bill “also authorizes the FY2018 [Fiscal Year] personnel strength for active duty and reserve forces and sets forth policies regarding compensation and other personnel benefits, the Ready Reserve Force and Military Sealift Command surge fleet, and matters relating to foreign nations.”