How Trump’s Military Buildup Will Hurt National Security

How+Trump%27s+Military+Buildup+Will+Hurt+National+Security

Joe Burtzlaff

In his address to a Joint Session of Congress, President Donald Trump proposed a $54 billion increase in defense spending in order to make America more safe. The proposed increase would be one of the biggest increases in defense spending in recent decades. Trump, despite wanting to decrease taxes for many Americans, needed to find a way to get the necessary money. A significant part of that proposal is cutting $1.3 billion from the U.S. Coast Guard, who protect America’s shores and borders. Such a cut would significantly hamper national security, and here’s why.

The Coast Guard’s budget currently sits at $9 billion, which means a cut of $1.3 billion would cost the Coast Guard 14% of their annual budget. While often overlooked, the Coast Guard is one of five armed services branches in America’s military and despite its small budget, is perhaps one of the most vital branches. The Coast Guard is specifically tasked with securing and protecting America’s shores as well as stopping illegal entry into the homeland, which poses a major national security threat. In 2016, the Coast Guard apprehended 6,346 people trying to enter the country illegally. The Coast Guard also plays a valuable role in the war on drugs, and in 2016 alone, seized 201 metric tons of cocaine and 52,613 pounds of marijuana trying to be illegally smuggled into the country.

In addition to the Coast Guard, Trump’s budget also calls for $900 million cuts for both the TSA and FEMA in order to fund the wall on the US-Mexico border in addition to his military buildup. TSA is responsible for securing and protecting America’s airports, which are a vital part of the American infrastructure, as well as a major security threat in the post-September 11 world. FEMA, while not necessarily a security agency, is tasked with coordinating disaster response anywhere in the US and greatly assists local authorities in a time of emergency. Cutting $900 million from both TSA’s and FEMA’s budgets would end up doing more harm than good. America’s airports would be would less safe and the federal government would be less equipped to provide good and efficient disaster relief in response to a terrorist attack, making America a more vulnerable nation.

If Trump really wants to rebuild the military, he should find a way to pay for it that doesn’t inadvertently compromise national security. The Coast Guard, TSA, and FEMA are too vital to American safety and vitality to be cut so drastically. While a military buildup may be necessary, it must be paid for in a way that does not end up hurting American security.