US Elections: Trump offers big US military expansion
Donald Trump proposed for more troops, more planes and more boats for the US military at a rally in Philadelphia. He sent a message to US generals that they would have to come up with a plan to defeat Islamic State (IS) in his first 30 days as Commander in Chief.
The latest polls for the race to the White House show that it has narrowed. Democrats and several Republicans have labeled Mr Trump as a misfit to serve as President of the United States Of America but Trump has close in on the lead by rival Hillary Clinton. In his speech he called his vision for the US military by quoting Ronald Reagan's "peace through strength".
Mr Trump pledged to increase Marine Corps battalions to 36, increase the number of Navy ships to 350, and add Army combat brigades. They are the same numbers pledged by Carly Fiorina during the Republican primary campaign, and similar to those of Mitt Romney when he was campaigning for the presidency in 2012. In a nutshell, they represent traditional and mainstream Republican defense policy.
Trump's pledge to build such as strong military clearly shows that Mr Trump is running to renovate the already known situation that the USA has the capacity to fight two ground wars at the same time. The Pentagon has stated that, under President Obama, it couldn't sustain that due to trimmed budgets.
Hillary Clinton spent most of her time responding to hostile questions on her use of emails while she was secretary of state and her vote to endorse the Iraq War. She didn't have to explain in details her national security strategy, because she has been doing that often ever since she started her political career, initially for the Senate in 2000. When she was permitted in the end to avoid her defensive crouch through a question about her process for deciding when to use military force to destroy IS, she gave a traditional Democratic answer, eschewing too hot (ground troops) and too cold (disengagement) responses. Mrs Clinton said that US voters "know they can count on me to be the kind of commander-in-chief who will protect our country and our troops, and they know they cannot count on Donald Trump". She further said that "They view him as a danger and a risk."
Trump pledges an Army of 540,000 troops, bigger than the current 490,000. That way the USA can fight two major regional wars simultaneously with some reserves available too. Trump's proposed increase of Marine battalions to 36 Marine is a significant topup from 23 the corps has now and it would, that will also allow the Marines to fight in two major regional conflicts while maintaining a 20 percent reserve.
Trump proposed an increase of the Navy from 276 to 350, while 306 is currently needed. He wants the USA to load itself with at least 1,200 war planes, which is the number needed by the Air Force. The massive military is ok considering the perilous and unstable times in which Americans live.There are military situations in Eastern Europe, the Middle East and the Western Pacific. However, that kind of military strength is also extremely expensive, and Mr. Trump needs to explain how it will be funded. He mentioned some offsets, but his plan would still cost about $150 billion according to the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget.