Donald Trump ran for the presidency promising that he would rebuild America’s military. The joint force definitely needs renewal, but after 100 days in office, Trump doesn’t look like the leader who can accomplish it. For starters, the military has been in gradual decline for a long time — roughly two decades — and that isn’t likely to be fully turned around during Trump’s tenure. Second, the White House can’t deliver on necessary increases in defense spending because it has failed to give Democrats an incentive to go along with removing spending caps in current law. Third, the president has so many other priorities that they are likely to eclipse his defense commitments. Fourth, neither major political party has exhibited much enthusiasm for military spending increases if they require making sacrifices in other areas. Fifth, current threats are so diverse and confusing that it is hard to build a consensus on how much money the military needs, and to what ends. I have written a commentary for Forbes here.
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