President Trump used the commissioning of the Navy’s newest aircraft carrier, the USS Gerald R. Ford, to make a pitch for increased military spending.
“We must end the Defense sequester once and for all,” he told a crowd of sailors and their families gathered at Chambers Field at Naval Air Station Norfolk in Virginia, referring to long-standing budget restrictions that cap federal spending.
“This has led to deferred maintenance, a lack of investment in new equipment and technology and a shortfall in military readiness,” the president said. “In other words, it’s been a very, very bad period of time for our military.”.
Trump is proposing a $54 billion increase in defense spending next year, to be paid for with corresponding cuts to domestic programs.
Calling the new class of nuclear-powered carriers a “100,000-ton message to the world,” Trump prodded Congress to approve his Defense budget “that provides higher, stable and predictable funding levels for our military needs that our fighting men and women deserve.”.
The carrier, named after the nation’s 38th president, has suffered a series of cost overruns and delays that added up to $12.9 billion.
It’s set to be the prototype for a new Ford-class of “supercarriers” that will eventually replace today’s Nimitz-class carriers. The Navy now has 10 carriers. Trump has promised a 12-carrier Navy, even as older carriers are decommissioned.
The president said the Gerald R. Ford will reinforce America’s dominance on the seas.
“Our enemies will shake with fear because everyone will know that America is coming and America is coming strong,” he said to an audience that included Ford’s four children – Susan, Jack, Steve and Michael – as well as former vice president Dick Cheney and former defense secretary Donald Rumsfeld.
Despite the fanfare of the president’s commissioning, the ship may not be deployed for another five years as various systems still must be vetted, according to The Navy Times.
In visit to a new aircraft carrier, Trump pushes for military buildup.
Navy set to christen new carrier USS Gerald R. Ford.