Trump’s Proposed Defense Budget Is Meant To Make Us Win Again

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DoD photo by U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Marianique Santos

President Donald Trump announced a “historic” increase in military spending on Monday, calling it a “landmark event,” and saying that in such dangerous times, the military should have the tools it needs to fight and “only do one thing: Win."


"This is a landmark event and message to the world in these dangerous times, of American strength, security and resolve,” Trump said, according to Reuters. “We must ensure that our courageous servicemen and women have the tools they need to deter war and when called upon to fight in our name, only do one thing: Win.”

The defense budget increase, which Trump plans to formally propose during a joint session of Congress on Tuesday night, is close to 10%, and amounts to about $54 billion. Trump plans to boost the Pentagon’s budget by cutting funding to domestic programs and foreign aid.

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“We are going to do more with less and make the government lean and accountable to the people,” Trump said on Feb. 27. “We can do so much more with the money we spend.”

White House budget officials announced the proposed spending increases the same day that Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis was expected to brief the president on the details of a plan to Defeat the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria.

There are concerns that cutting funding to administrations like the State Department, which could see as much as one-third of its budget slashed, would do more harm to national security than any good that might come from then funneling those resources to the defense department. According to Reuters, more than 120 retired U.S. generals and admirals urged Congress on Feb. 27 to fully fund U.S. diplomacy and foreign aid, saying that "elevating and strengthening diplomacy and development alongside defense are critical to keeping America safe."

“We never win a war. We never win. And we don’t fight to win. We don’t fight to win,” Trump said Feb. 27. “So we either got to win or don’t fight it at all.”

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Members of the Syrian Democratic Forces control the monitor of their drone at their advanced position, during the fighting with Islamic State's fighters in Nazlat Shahada, a district of Raqqa. (Reuters/Zohra Bensemra)

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Long before Tony Stark took a load of shrapnel to the chest in a distant war zone, science fiction legend Robert Heinlein gave America the most visceral description of powered armor for the warfighter of the future. Forget the spines of extra-lethal weaponry, the heads-up display, and even the augmented strength of an Iron Man suit — the real genius, Heinlein wrote in Starship Troopers, "is that you don't have to control the suit; you just wear it, like your clothes, like skin."

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First introduced in 2013, U.S. Special Operations Command's Tactical Assault Light Operator Suit (TALOS) purported to offer this capability as America's first stab at militarized powered armor. And while SOCOM initially promised a veritable Iron Man-style tactical armor by 2018, a Navy spokesman told Task & Purpose the much-hyped exoskeleton will likely never get off the launch pad.

"The prototype itself is not currently suitable for operation in a close combat environment," SOCOM spokesman Navy Lt. Phillip Chitty told Task & Purpose, adding that JATF-TALOS has no plans for an external demonstration this year. "There is still no intent to field the TALOS Mk 5 combat suit prototype."

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