Donald Trump signs into law $692 bn US defence budget, additional $66 bn set for 'overseas contingency operations'

Washington: President Donald Trump signed a $692 billion defence budget on Tuesday, which among other things gives funding to provide legislative authority to implement his South Asia strategy and authorises critical missile capabilities to confront threats posed by North Korea.

The National Defence Authorisation Act (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'.

File image of Donald Trump. AP

File image of Donald Trump. AP

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.

At the signing ceremony at the White House, Trump said NDAA 2018 could not come at a more opportune or important time. "This legislation represents a momentous step toward rebuilding our military and securing the future for our children," he said.

He rued in recent years, military has undergone a series of deep budget cuts 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 Islamic State 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. "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.

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Updated Date: Dec 13, 2017 09:39:38 IST

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