Trump seeks nuclear readiness for US military

President Donald Trump said his administration is going to build a nuclear arsenal “like you’ve never seen before,” as part of a military buildup provided for under the newly released fiscal year 2019 budget proposal.

“In the budget, we took care of the military like it’s never been taken care of,” he said during a meeting at the White House. “We will have a nuclear force that will be absolutely modernized and brand new … We’ll always be number one in that category, certainly as long as I’m president.”

In addition to the modernization of the U.S. nuclear arsenal, President Trump said the Department of Defense will be “increasing arsenals of virtually every weapon … We want you to buy twice what you thought at half the price.” Trump also hinted that the administration might look to update the weapons procurement process, so the government can buy artillery and munitions at lower prices.

Last year, President Trump famously called out Lockheed Martin (NYSE:LMT) for the cost of its F-35 fighter jet, which the company later said contributed to its decision to reduce the price of the craft.

The Trump administration’s 2019 budget blueprint asks the U.S. military to transition to “a new paradigm of thinking about and preparing for the possibility of a major war.” It calls for $686 billion in funding for the Department of Defense, a 13% increase over the level enacted in 2017. The Pentagon had requested $597 billion for its annual budget, plus $89 billion to fund ongoing conflicts. The blueprint allocates $24 billion to “modernize and sustain the three legs of the nuclear triad — land, sea, and air — as well as nuclear command, control, and communications systems.”

While Trump expressed hope the U.S. would never have to use its nuclear technologies, he said the military has to continue building up its arsenal to keep pace with other countries.

The military proposal is part of a larger $4.4 trillion budget blueprint that would add more than $980 billion to the U.S. deficit next year. It includes cuts to entitlement and spending programs like Medicare and Medicaid. It also provides funds for $200 billion worth of spending on the administration’s proposed infrastructure overhaul, detailed on Monday.

The new budget proposal comes just days after lawmakers approved a budget deal for 2018, which Trump attributed to the acknowledged need among lawmakers to fund the military.

“The budget was recently passed and the reason it was passed it because of our military,” he said. “Our military was totally depleted.”