National Security

McCain Calls For Major Boost to Defense Spending, Modernization of Joint Force

Members of U.S. Army
Members of U.S. Army / AP

Sen. John McCain (R., Ariz.) on Monday released a plan to boost the national defense budget by $430 billion over five years in order to grow and modernize the U.S. military.

McCain, who chairs the Senate Committee on Armed Services, released a 28-page white paper recommending a $640 billion base defense budget in fiscal year 2018, which would represent a $54 billion increase over the budget proposal put forth by outgoing President Barack Obama. The plan also calls for repealing the Budget Control Act of 2011, which placed caps on the federal budget for a decade and paved the way for roughly $1 trillion in cuts to defense spending.

If adopted, the plan would add $430 billion to defense spending over the next five years in order to modernize the joint force and regain the capacity of the armed forces that has been eroded as a result of budget constraints and force drawdowns.

The paper includes specific recommendations to grow and modernize the Army, Air Forces, Marine Corps, Navy, and special operations forces. It also calls for expanding U.S. missile defense, making investments in next-generation space capabilities, and boosting funding for cyber forces and cyber weapons systems.

In addition to an increase in funding for the military, the plan also calls for continued defense and acquisition reforms to ensure that the Pentagon is not wasting taxpayer dollars.

President-elect Donald Trump, who will be inaugurated on Friday, has pledged to rebuild the military and end sequestration. McCain released the white paper just days after retired Marine Gen. James Mattis, Trump's choice for defense secretary, delivered testimony at his confirmation hearing before the Armed Services Committee advocating for an end to sequestration and strengthening of the U.S. military.

"The President-elect has said he wants to ‘fully eliminate the defense sequester' and ‘rebuild the military.' I could not agree more," McCain said in a statement on Monday. "This white paper details what I believe will be necessary to achieve these goals: repeal of the Budget Control Act, a $640 billion base defense budget in fiscal year 2018, innovation for the future, and an end to business as usual at the Pentagon."

"Rebuilding our military will not be cheap—$430 billion above current defense plans over the next five years," McCain said. "But the cost of inaction is worse: we will irreparably damage our military's ability to deter aggression and conflict. We owe it to our men and women in uniform to chart a better course."

The plan also recommends the incoming secretary of defense conduct a comprehensive review of the global force posture.