The Trump administration is set to take a $1.3 billion cut in defense spending, including a $400 billion reduction in funding for the Army, the Air Force and the Navy, as part of the latest round of spending cuts and tax increases that have left many defense workers fearful.
The White House said Monday that the administration would announce an increase in defense funding by $800 billion over the next decade, to $603 billion.
“You’re not gonna die, and you’re not going to have to take any chances,” said Mark Esper, who oversees the Office of the Secretary of Defense.
“We’re going to get the best of the best, and we’re going get the people that we need.”
The administration announced the new plan in a budget memo that was circulated to lawmakers, but the final cut won’t be released until Wednesday.
The Trump transition office said the proposal would be announced at a meeting of the National Security Council, a decision that was met with some confusion among defense contractors and lawmakers.
But it did not explain why the administration decided to cut so much money from the Pentagon.
“This is going to hurt defense contractors, which are facing the biggest budget cuts in history, and this is going be a blow to our entire defense industrial base,” said Bill Burns, a former Pentagon official who served on Trump’s national security advisory council.
“There’s no one person who’s going to be more worried about that than the defense industry.”
Defense contractors are the ones who have been hit hardest by the budget cuts.
They are among the top earners in the military, and some are expected to lose their jobs.
A small number of contractors have managed to keep their jobs despite the cuts.
Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said in a statement that the plan “will be the most significant in our nation’s history.”
The Defense Department’s budget, which was first announced last week, was $1,946 billion, or about 0.4 percent of the nation’s Gross Domestic Product.
The cuts will be spread across a variety of military programs and projects.
The Army will receive $3 billion more than it did in 2019, for instance, and the Air National Guard will see a $500 million increase, the Pentagon said.
The Navy will receive an additional $400 million.
The Air Force will receive a $600 million increase and the Marine Corps will receive another $400,000, the department said.
Meanwhile, the Defense Department is looking to buy a dozen F-35 fighter jets and eight Aegis warships, which will cost an estimated $1 trillion over 10 years.
Those purchases are set to cost $2.4 trillion.
“I’m hoping that the people who have the greatest expertise and know the greatest value are going to see their jobs go,” said Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Conn., who chairs the Senate Armed Services Committee.
“These are the people in the best positions to understand how this war can be fought and won, and they’ll be in the most danger.”
Defense Secretary Mattis said the proposed cuts will help ensure the United States can win wars that will end the threat of nuclear proliferation.
“While we cannot yet predict the consequences of these reductions, we know the costs will be minimal and will be achieved through other measures,” Mattis said.
Trump signed the budget proposal into law on March 8.
He said in his first week in office that the president will be “taking aggressive action” against the “vicious enemy of ISIS” and is working to prevent a “major catastrophe.”
But he has yet to unveil any specific plans to do so.
He has said that he is open to discussing how to deal with the Syrian refugee crisis and how to “put the country back together.”
A senior administration official said in an email to reporters that the President “has always made clear that the U.S. will continue to take decisive action to end the use of violence and ensure that our homeland is safe and secure.”
Trump has repeatedly blamed the U,S.
military, including its personnel, for civilian deaths at the hands of Syrian rebels, and has accused his predecessor, President Barack Obama, of “sabotaging” the U’s military capabilities.
He also repeatedly said that Syria should be allowed to remain a battlefield for the U to fight.
The president’s actions have made it a common refrain for Republicans and Democrats alike to warn that the cuts will undermine America’s credibility on the world stage and put Americans in danger.
“If you believe the President is a liar, the president is a criminal,” said Rep. Adam Schiff, D–Calif., a senior member of the House Intelligence Committee.
But Trump has said he believes the cuts are necessary because of the threat posed by North Korea, Iran and Russia.
“They have to come out of the woods, and if they don’t, they’re gonna come back with a vengeance,”