U.S. President Donald J. Trump delivered his weekly address from the soon-to-be commissioned U.S.S. Gerald R. Ford aircraft carrier this week. Trump outlined his desire for the U.S. military to be made ready to meet “any and all global challenges.”
“Our carriers are the centerpiece of American military might, projecting power and our unparalleled strength at sea,” he said. “This beautiful new warship represents the future of naval aviation, and she will serve as a cornerstone of our national defense for decades to come.
“A famous aviator once wrote that to build a truly great ship, we shouldn't begin by gathering wood, cutting boards, or distributing work, but instead by awakening within the people a “desire for the vast and endless sea.” In the same way, we must continue to renew the American spirit in order to rebuild our country.”
Last week, before a Joint Session of Congress, President Trump laid out a vision for how to accomplish that national rebuilding. Trump proposed to add $54 billion to the defense budget, a 10 percent increase. His vision includes the elimination of what he called “the defense sequester,” which has imposed steep cuts to the U.S. military.
“Investing in the military means investing in peace—because the best way to prevent war, as George Washington said, is to be prepared for it. Most importantly, an investment in the military is an investment in the incredible men and women who serve our country in uniform. They are the best of us. They are the greatest force for peace and justice the world has ever known—and we will support them every single step of the way.”
These are truly exciting times, he said. “If we all work together, and put our country first, then anything is possible.”
Trump and White House officials have highlighted the number of naval vessels currently as evidence of the defense sequester. However, The New York Times states that while today’s fleet size is the smallest since 1916, the ships are much more capable and the U.S. has more aircraft carriers than any other nation.
In recent years, the Navy has had between 270 to 290 ships. Expanding it to Trump’s 350-ship goal is expected to cost $25 billion a year over the next 30 years. This is more than 60 percent above the average amount allocated for shipbuilding.
Although Trump claims his budget is an historic move for the military, The New York Times notes Todd Harrison, the director for defense budget analysis at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, indicating otherwise in the tweet below.