By CLAUDIA GRISALES | STARS AND STRIPES
WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump on Monday signed into law a $717 billion defense policy bill, which authorizes a wave of significant military increases, including servicemembers’ biggest pay boost in nearly a decade, higher troop levels and new equipment and weapons for the upcoming fiscal year.
The 2019 National Defense Authorization Act also ushers through a series of new reforms and policy efforts, from revamping the military’s “up or out” promotion system to new policies to reign in sexual misconduct and domestic abuse among the ranks.
Trump signed the NDAA, or H.R. 5515, during a visit to Fort Drum in upstate New York on Monday afternoon. However, much work remains to pass companion legislation to pay for the bill’s expansive plans with that appropriations legislation stalled on Capitol Hill.
“After years of devastating cuts, we are rebuilding our military like we never have before,” Trump said after an introduction by Vice President Mike Pence at the base that houses the Army’s 10th Mountain Division. “Our bases and vital equipment were allowed to fall into a state of disrepair, …but those days are over.”