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A Defense Buildup in the Near Term?

Procedural and political hurdles make it difficult to see how a substantial defense buildup on the order of the $54 billion proposed by the Trump administration, the $621.5 billion agreed to by the House Armed Services Committee and the Appropriations Committee Defense Subcommittee, or the $640 billion proposed by the Senate Armed Services Committee can be realized. The wide gulfs between the political parties, and between the defense hawks and the fiscal hawks, will not be closed soon. Additionally, the full legislative calendar of the Congress before September 30, 2017, including Obamacare repeal, FY 2018 appropriations, and an impending debt ceiling debate, increase the likelihood that FY 2018 will begin with a several-month-long continuing resolution, rather than a substantial increase in defense spending.

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