Trump signs defense bill that increases military budget and gives troops a raise

Trump signs defense bill that increases military budget and gives troops a raise
President Donald Trump is greeted by (from left), Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Joseph Dunford, U.S. Army Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Milley, U.S. Marine Corps Commandant Gen. Robert Neller and U.S. Air Force Chief of Staff, Gen. David Goldfein. Trump signed the National Defense Authorization Act for fiscal year 2018 on Tuesday at the White House in Washington, D.C. (Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

President Donald Trump signed a defense authorization bill Tuesday that will boost the nation’s defense budget, including a hike for troops’ wages.

In total, the bill allots $700 billion to the Defense Department, $634 billion of which will go to the base budget and $66 billion to the war budget.

“History teaches us that when you weaken your defenses, you invite aggression,” Trump said before signing the bill. “The best way to prevent conflict of any kind is to be prepared. Only when the good are strong will peace prevail.

“This legislation will enhance our readiness and modernize our forces and help provide our service members with the tools they need to fight and win,” he said.

The bill includes a 2.4 percent pay raise for troops, the highest since 2010. It will also add about 20,000 total troops — 7,500 more in the Army, 4,000 in the Navy, 1,000 in the Marine Corps, 4,100 in the Air Force and 3,400 in reserve forces.

Before the bill becomes a reality, Congress will have to agree to rescind a 2011 law that caps the defense budget at $549 billion. Trump gave them until the end of the year to do so.

In response to escalating tensions with North Korea, Trump designated a portion of the bill, $12 billion, for the Pentagon’s Missile Defense Agency, which will strengthen U.S. missile capabilities “as we continue our campaign to create maximum pressure on the vile dictatorship in North Korea,” Trump said.

“We’re working very diligently on that, building up forces,” Trump said.

The bill came just one day after a judge ruled that the military must begin accepting transgender recruits starting Jan. 1.