Trump’s ‘public safety and national security’ budget damages public safety and national security

The plan is allegedly to bolster national security, but it may do just the opposite.

President Donald Trump smiles while speaking to a meeting of the National Governors Association, Monday, Feb. 27, 2017, at the White House in Washington. CREDIT: AP Photo/Evan Vucci
President Donald Trump smiles while speaking to a meeting of the National Governors Association, Monday, Feb. 27, 2017, at the White House in Washington. CREDIT: AP Photo/Evan Vucci

The White House is pushing a budget that sacrifices global diplomacy for American militarism and may actually undermine national security, according to experts.

The budget proposal will reportedly include a $54 billion increase in defense spending while simultaneously cutting important funding from other agencies, including the Environmental Protection Agency and the State Department.

The singular approach is a focus on “public safety and national security,” according to President Donald Trump.

But the cuts from agencies that handle important diplomatic procedures do not help national security — they undermine it.

“The Department of Defense is not the only federal agency responsible for protecting our national security,” Larry Korb, a senior fellow at the Center for American Progress and assistant secretary of defense from 1981 through 1985, said in a testimony to the Senate Armed Services Committee last month. “The State Department, the Agency for International Development, and the Department of Homeland Security all play a vital role in protecting this country. If we provide so much of our limited resources to the Pentagon that we cannot fund these agencies adequately, our national security will suffer.” (ThinkProgress is an editorially independent news site housed at the Center for American Progress.)

The Office of Budget and Management typically tries to balance domestic and national security spending. But the latest White House budget would deviate from past norms, particularly considering Trump has yet to give any indication what his plan will be on infrastructure and a host of other crucial issues. And Congress could ensure that Trump’s current plan is “short-lived”, according to Rudy deLeon, Senior Fellow with the National Security and International Policy team at the Center for American Progress.

The White House is expected to announce “dollar for dollar cuts,” according to a senior administration official interviewed by Politico. While campaigning, President Donald Trump spoke regularly about the financial burden international agencies like the UN and NATO place on the United States.

“This budget expects the rest of the world to step up in some of the programs this country has been so generous in funding in the past,” the OMB official told reporters Monday morning.

The plan seems to fall in line with comments by Trump and his chief strategist Steve Bannon at CPAC, said deLeon.

Bannon has been a big proponent of ‘‘economic nationalism” and American “sovereignty,” terms that underline his protectionist ideology. Trump has meanwhile spoken regularly about his perception that the American military has deteriorated under the Obama administration, even though top experts have described the power of the armed forces as “awesome.”