Trump gives anti-Russian defense bill green light

Trump gives anti-Russian defense bill green light

U.S. President Donald Trump signed the 2019 National Defense Authorization Act which authorizes a top-line budget of $717 billion.

Trump traveled to Fort Drum, home of the Army's 10th Mountain Division, in upstate New York to sign the bill.

The 2019 National Defense Authorization Act, or NDAA, includes $616.9 billion for the Pentagon's base budget, $69 billion for overseas contingency operations funding and $21.9 billion for nuclear weapons programs under the Energy Department. 

The measure authorizes a 2.6% pay raise for troops. It also delays the delivery of stealth fighter aircraft to Turkey and blunts Chinese investments by strengthening the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States. The NDAA also allows $7.6 billion for 77 of Lockheed Martin's F-35 Joint Strike Fighters. 

The defense policy bill bars the delivery of F-35 jets to fellow NATO member Turkey amid concerns over Ankara's desire to buy a Russian missile defense system.

The legislation authorizes $85 million for UH-60M Black Hawk utility helicopters. Congress also agreed to fully fund the U.S. Air Force's new long-range stealth B-21 bomber. 

Congress approved $1.56 billion for three littoral combat ships. The bill also authorizes the fourth Ford-class aircraft carrier, six icebreakers, and a Columbia-class ballistic missile submarine. In all, 13 new warships were approved for the coming fiscal year.

The NDAA authorizes $225.3 million for Stryker A1 combat vehicles and supports efforts to modernize the Army's armored combat vehicles.

The legislation also adds $140 million to the Missile Defense Agency for development of critical directed energy and space sensing projects as well as hypersonic defense capabilities.

The Army's efforts to integrate its Patriot and Terminal High Altitude Area Defense, or THAAD, missile defense systems also gets $284 million.

A raft of Russia measures in the NDAA clears the way for the military to pursue a new low-yield nuclear warhead, hikes authorized funding for the U.S. military presence in eastern Europe, and provides new waivers the Pentagon says could wean allies from dependence on Russia, Interfax reported.