President Donald Trump spoke about the accomplishments of the Fiscal Year 2018 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) on Tuesday before he signed the act into law.
Trump, surrounded by Vice President Mike Pence, Secretary of Defense James Mattis, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Gen. Joseph Dunford, and other service members, remarked how the legislation "represents a momentous step toward rebuilding our military."
"The National Defense Authorization Act could not come at a more opportune or important time. This legislation represents a momentous step toward rebuilding our military and securing the future for our children," Trump said. "I applaud the work of the members of both parties who came together to pass the National Defense Authorization Act, which passed with overwhelming bipartisan support–something that sounds very nice to my ears."
The NDAA is the legislation that allows the U.S. military to be funded. Without it, projects would come to a halt and personnel may not be paid.
Trump also called for an end to defense sequestration, which has cut funding on defense drastically, harming the military. Military leaders have repeatedly said that it is damaging the readiness of America's military.
"In recent years, our military has undergone a series of deep budget cuts that have severely impacted our readiness, shrunk our capabilities, and placed substantial burdens on our warfighters. And great warfighters they are," he said.
The president highlighted some of the act's accomplishments, saying it will help modernize the service and give servicemembers "the tools they need to fight and to win."
"This legislation will enhance our readiness, expand and modernize our forces, and help provide our servicemembers with the tools that they need to fight and to win," he said. "We will fight and win, but hopefully with this we will not have to fight because people will not be wanting to fight with us."
He noted the NDAA increases the size of the American forces for the first time in seven years.
"Finally, the defense bill authorizes major investments in our military's greatest weapon of all: its warriors. The NDAA increases the size of the American Armed Forces for the first time in seven years, and it provides our military service members with their largest pay increase in eight years," Trump said. "Now Congress must finish the job by eliminating the defense sequester and passing a clean appropriations bill.
"I think it's going to happen. We need our military. It's got to be perfecto," Trump added.
House Republican Conference chairwoman Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (Wash.) praised the legislation in a statement on Tuesday.
Our primary obligation is the security of the American people. It’s imperative that our military has the resources it needs to prepare for and respond to the evolving terror threats worldwide. The NDAA will strengthen the U.S. military, modernize equipment, restore readiness, and give our troops a well-deserved pay raise, like those who serve at Fairchild Air Force Base in Spokane, Washington. I’m grateful to see President Donald Trump sign this bill into law, and commend Rep. Mac Thornberry, Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, for his work on behalf of the men and women in uniform who serve our great nation and keep us safe.