Mattis wins ‘largest budget in US history’
WASHINGTON - Agence France-Presse
U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, a battle-seasoned Marine with the diplomatic skills needed to join forces with a mercurial president, won an important victory on March 23 with his sought-for military budget.
The centerpiece of the budget signed by President Donald Trump is a $61-billion increase in defense spending, boosting funding for the government’s biggest department to $700 billion.
Mattis spoke during Trump’s statement on the omnibus spending bill, saying the $700 billion in military funding is the largest in history.
That is more than half of the government’s projected total spending for the current fiscal year.
Since taking office, Trump has frequently touted his support for the U.S. military and placed high-ranking generals in top White House and cabinet posts, though not all have survived.
National Security Advisor HR McMaster, a lieutenant general still serving with the army, became the latest top official to go when he announced on March 22 he is leaving the post.
Along with Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, who Trump fired on March 13, McMaster and Mattis jointly resisted Trump’s instinctual rejection of multilateralism.
Of that trio, only Mattis remains. The defense secretary stood with Trump and a few other cabinet members on March 23 to publicly discuss the budget, which Trump called “a record” for defens