2019 DOD budget would bring U.S. military spending up to levels we've rarely seen before

THE MIL & AERO COMMENTARY – There's no doubt that the fiscal 2019 budget request for the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD), submitted to Congress on Monday, is one of the biggest DOD budget documents we've ever seen. It calls for military spending of $686.1 billion on the U.S. military next year.

2019 DOD budget would bring U.S. military spending up to levels we've rarely seen before
2019 DOD budget would bring U.S. military spending up to levels we've rarely seen before
THE MIL & AERO COMMENTARY – There's no doubt that the fiscal 2019 budget request for the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD), submitted to Congress on Monday, is one of the biggest DOD budget documents we've ever seen. It calls for military spending of $686.1 billion on the U.S. military next year.

Some are hailing this DOD budget request as the largest in history; if it's not the largest, then it's close. This budget asks Congress for a base budget of $597.1 billion, and an overseas contingency operations (OCO) budget of $89 billion.

This would add $47 billion to the DOD budget, compared to the 2018 request, and increase the topline Pentagon budget request by 7.4 percent over the 2018 budget proposal. Any way we shape it, this is a lot of money for U.S. military forces and their suppliers in industry -- far-exceeding even the Reagan defense budgets of the early 1980s.

First off, let's settle this: is this really the biggest U.S. military budget request in history? Not as far as I can tell, but it's a close second. By my reckoning, the 2011 DOD budget request actually was the biggest at $708 billion -- $549 billion in the base budget, and $159 billion for overseas contingency operations.

Yet the 2019 DOD budget is bigger than 2010, when DOD asked Congress for $663.8 billion -- $533.8 billion the base budget, and $130 billion for overseas contingency operations. After those peak years of 2010 and 2011, no other DOD budget request came close -- until the 2019 budget.

Related: 2019 DOD budget proposes spending $686.1 billion in military spending: largest Pentagon budget ever?

President Trump had pledged to rebuild U.S. military forces in his 2018 campaign, and in this his first real DOD budget unconstrained by the priorities of his predecessor, the president would appear to be delivering on his promise. Say what you want about what Trump says, but he seems to mean what he says.

Here's a few highlights of the 2019 DOD budget:

-- $10.7 billion for 77 F-35 joint strike fighters;
-- $7.4 billion for two Virginia-class fast-attack submarines;
-- $6 billion for three Arleigh Burke-class missile destroyers;
-- $2.2 billion for 10 P-8A Poseidon maritime patrol and surveillance aircraft;
-- $2 billion for 5,113 Joint Light Tactical Vehicles (JLTVs);
-- $2.7 billion for 135 upgraded M-1 Abrams main battle tanks;
-- $2 billion for five Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle rockets;
-- $2.1 billion for Ground-Based Midcourse Defense ballistic missile defenses;
-- $2.3 billion for research on the future Air Force B-21 long-range strike bomber;
-- $3.7 billion for research on the Navy's future Columbia-class ballistic missile submarine;
-- $911.7 million for 29 MQ-9 Reaper attack unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs);
-- $1.16 billion for three new Navy MQ-4C Triton maritime patrol and surveillance UAVs;
-- $1.19 billion for four new E-2D Hawkeye carrier-based radar surveillance aircraft;
-- $867 million for upgrades to the F-22 advanced tactical jet fighter;
-- $1.07 billion for radar upgrades to the F-15 Eagle jet fighter;
-- $418.8 million for 36 upgraded M109A6 self-propelled artillery systems;
-- $1.67 billion for 43 SM-3 Block IB sea-based anti-ballistic missile weapons;
-- $1.17 billion for 43,594 Joint Direct Attack Munitions (JDAMs); and
-- $253.7 million for 6,826 Small Diameter Bombs.

In the coming days and weeks we'll take a deeper look into the 2019 DOD budget request for allocations in electronics and communications; cyber security and cyber warfare; procurement, research, operations and maintenance; and a variety of other military programs with substantial electronics content.

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