A draft executive order obtained by The Washington Post would call on new Defense Secretary James Mattis to significantly boost the size and strength of America’s military while placing unnecessary programs on the chopping block.
According to the three-page document, President Donald Trump would direct Mattis to immediately carry out a thirty-day “readiness review” in which the head of the Pentagon would be expected to examine the needs of the nation’s military in the face of ISIS and “other forms of Islamic terror,” as well as “near-peer competitors,” in the global theater. Although not addressed directly, “near-peer competitors” is often a term used to indicate China and Russia, as their military might combined with raised tensions with the United States set them apart from most other developed nations.
A second, simultaneous review would also be ordered, in which the Pentagon would need to work hand-in-hand with the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to produce a “military readiness emergency budget amendment” that would immediately boost America’s defense funding. Mattis would then be expected to amend and revise the tentative budget proposal for 2018 to coincide with the funding increase.
The order does stipulate that military operations and programs that are not considered “highest priority operations” would be cut, though it doesn’t identify which ones. A reasonable assumption would be that Mattis would be responsible for identifying such programs as a part of his review process. Programs that are identified as priorities for the increases in funding were a modernization of America’s nuclear arsenal, addressing the maintenance delays in existing equipment and hardware, and increasing manpower assigned to areas in need of personnel, such as cyber-warfare, personnel recovery, and expeditionary naval forces.