Trump Wants $54 Billion More for Defense — Here’s What That Money Could Buy

Photo by Getmilitaryphotos /

President Donald Trump is requesting a $54 billion increase in defense spending — a nearly 10 percent increase over the $582.7 billion budget former President Barack Obama proposed for the Department of Defense for fiscal year 2017.

The federal budget in 2016 was $4 trillion, so $54 billion would be just about 1.35 percent of the budget that year.

Nonetheless, the number is really too big to fully comprehend, so to make it more manageable, here’s what “We, the People,” might get for $54 billion in defense spending. For the sake of comparison, we’re going to throw in what we could do with that amount of money in non-defense spending, as well.

1. 570 F-35 Fighters

Staff Sgt. Darlene Seltmann / U.S. Air Force / Money Talks News

The F-35 Lighting II is the U.S. fighter jet of choice for the foreseeable future, replacing the stalwart F-16. Though its development was plagued by cost overruns and delays, the U.S. Marine Corps deployed its first squadron in July 2015, followed by the Air Force in August 2016. The base model — not the kind for short runways or aircraft carriers — is expected to cost about $94.6 million per plane, based on a lot that includes 55 jets for the United States and 35 for allied countries (which are paying for their own planes) to be delivered in 2018.

The U.S. plans to buy 2,457 of the planes.

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