This bill would authorize $695 billion in defense spending for fiscal year 2018, of which $634.2 billion would go to the base defense budget while $65.7 billion would be set aside for Overseas Contingency Operations.
Troops & Families: This legislation increases the size of the Army, Navy, AIr Force, Army Guard & Reserve, Naval and Air Reserve, and Air Guard. Total personnel levels would rise from 1,670,400 active & reserve troops as authorized in fiscal year 2017 to 1,689,300. The military would receive an across the board pay raise of 2.4 percent.
Military medical facilities used by deployed troops and their families would remain open, reversing a decision that would’ve reduced inpatient care for military treatment facilities outside of the U.S. Also, the bill would reimburse a service member up to $500 for a spouse’s expenses related to obtaining licensing or certification in another state because of a military move.
Equipment: Acquisitions for several key defense technologies would stepped up, including:
90 F-35 Joint Strike Fighters, rather than the 70 requested in the president’s budget;
24 F/A-18 Super Hornets, rather than the 14 requested;
71 AH-64 Apache helicopters rather than the 61 requested;
Three guided missile destroyers rather than the two requested;
Three littoral combat ships rather than the one requested;
85 upgraded Abrams tanks rather than the 56 requested;
93 upgraded Bradley fighting vehicles rather than the 60 requested
Afghanistan: Funds would be made available to enhance the Afghan Air Force’s air fleet and expands the nation’s Special Security Forces. The Secretary of Defense would also be required to provide an Afghanistan that looks at the trajectory of U.S. efforts beyond the next five years, which includes a timeline and necessary resources to achieve U.S. goals.
Syria & Iraq: This bill would provide continued support to partners combatting ISIS through Operation Inherent Resolve. The DOD would provide a comprehensive, regional strategy for Syria that describes America’s long-term objectives in the wake of active combat against ISIS.
Ukraine: Defensive lethal assistance would be provided to Ukraine to defend itself against Russian aggression. $150 million would be made available for the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative to train, equip, and assist the Ukrainian military and security services.
Russia: To counter Russian aggression in Ukraine, its support for the Assad regime, interference in the U.S. election, violations of disarmament treaties, and provocative actions against American and NATO forces funding for the European Deterrence Initiative (EDI) would be increased. This involves heel-to-toe rotations of American combat units to Europe, prepositioning of up to a division set’s worth of equipment, infrastructure improvements, and additional training. The DOD would be required to examine placing permanent U.S. troops back in the European theater.
In response to violations of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces treaty, this legislation would authorize $50 million to develop military options to respond to Russian capabilities deployed that violate the treaty. If Russia hasn’t returned to compliance with the treaty after 15 months, the U.S. would no longer be bound to the treaty as a matter of domestic law.
Counterterrorism: This bill would fully authorize and resource the counterterrorism efforts of U.S. Special Operations Forces including ongoing operations in Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan, Yemen, Somalia, and elsewhere.
Access to Space: Development of a new American rocket engine would continue in order to replace the Russian RD-180 engine that the U.S. currently relies on.
Missile Defense: The president’s budget request for the missile defense program would be fully funded, and an additional $4.4 billion would be added in response to ballistic missile threats from North Korea. That would allow for additional procurement of the THAAD, Patriot MSE, and SM-3 IB interceptors. The Missile Defense Agency would also be required to develop a space-based sensor layer for ballistic missile defense.
Nuclear Forces: The full budget request would be provided for the National Nuclear Security Administration’s nuclear weapons activities and defense nuclear nonproliferation program, including the modernization of America’s nuclear weapons stockpile.
Cyber Operations: A total of $8 billion would be provided for cyber operations, an increase of $1.7 billion, to support DOD’s defense and offensive cyberspace capabilities.