Katherine Blakeley, a defense analyst at the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments, said Republicans are likely to try to attach a defense supplemental to the broader fiscal 2017 appropriations bill, which needs to be passed by April 28 to avoid a federal government shutdown. That move would put maximum pressure on reluctant lawmakers in both parties to support additional funding for the military. “The more leverage you can put on any one pivot point,” she said, “the greater the likelihood it will come through by hook or by crook.”
The Trump administration has inherited a military that, while engaged worldwide in defense of America’s interests, has been suffering from the combination of high operational tempo and the corrosive effects of sequestration.
There is excitement at the Pentagon over President Trump’s pledge to undertake a buildup of the country’s military. Support for the new president’s defense agenda is also found among many on Capitol Hill, with Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman John McCain proposing to add roughly $430 billion to the defense budget over the next five years.
McCain praised the conclusion of both the CSBA and MITRE studies that the Navy should halt procurement of Littoral Combat Ships and future frigates as soon as possible, and instead move toward a more powerful small surface combatant design. McCain has been a frequent critic of the LCS program. McCain was particularly impressed by the "comprehensiveness" of the CSBA study, according to his statement. He said CSBA's study should be the "starting point for the new administration's review of naval forces." President Trump campaigned on a goal of building the Navy from its current size of about 270 ships up to 350 vessels. "It proposes necessary new strategic, operational, basing, and force structure recommendations that deserve immediate consideration by Navy leaders," McCain said. The CSBA study makes a host of recommendations, perhaps most notably moving away from the Navy's current basing strategy and instead creating a forward deployed set of "deterrence forces" to be augmented with a "maneuver force" in the event of a crisis.
Another alternative structure, developed by Bryan Clark at the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments, proposes a fleet architecture “to provide the United States an advantage in great power competition with China and Russia or against capable and strategically located regional powers such as Iran.”…
The United States will soon reach a crossroads in its struggle against terrorism. The international coalition fighting the Islamic State (also known as ISIS) has driven the group out of much of the territory it once held and, sooner or later, will militarily defeat it by destroying its core in Iraq and Syria. But military victory over ISIS will not end the global war on terrorism that the United States has waged since 9/11. Some of ISIS’ provinces may outlive its core. Remnants of the caliphate may morph into an insurgency. Al Qaeda and its affiliates will still pose a threat. Moreover, the conditions that breed jihadist organizations will likely persist across the greater Middle East. So the United States must decide what strategy to pursue in the next stage of the war on terrorism.