August 13, 2018 – The 2019 Defense Budget has been approved by Congress and signed by President Trump in record speed with a 2.6 percent pay increase and a $717 billion national defense budget. This is the earliest the defense budget has been passed in the last 40 years.
“I am grateful for the strong commitment of members on both sides of the aisle to pass this year’s NDAA in record time. Together, they have demonstrated the deep and abiding bipartisan support our military enjoys,” said Secretary of Defense James N. Mattis
2019 Defense Bill Approved Items:
- Military Benefits & Compensation
- Military Pay: Raises service member pay by 2.6 percent – the highest in nine years
- No TRICARE Fee Increases
- No reduction to the Basic Allowance for Housing (BAH)
- $10 million in impact aid for severely disabled military children.
- The Transition Assistance (TAP) program will have to begin a full year before separation for almost everyone whereas previously it had to start within 90 days of separation.
- Basic Allowance for Subsistence Rates: The proposed BAS rate increase is 3.4%.
- Basic Allowance for Housing Rates: The proposed BAH rate increase is 2.9%.
- Totally disabled veterans are now eligible for Space-A travel.
- MWR benefits will be available to Purple heart, Medal of Honor, service-connected disabled veterans, and family caregivers starting in 2020.
- SGLI will be increased to $400,000 when deployed in a combat zone.
- Military Personnel
- Increases the military’s authorized active-duty end strength by 15,600
- Facilities & Program Investments
- Directs next steps for a Space Force
- Recognizes the importance of modernizing and strengthening the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States to more effectively guard against the risk to national security posed by certain types of foreign investment
- Provides waiver relief to key U.S. partners and allies from certain Russian-related sanctions under the Countering America’s Adversaries through Sanctions Act.
The 2019 Defense Budget passed with overwhelmingly bipartisan support – a vote of 87-10 in the Senate and 359-54 in the House.
Defense Budget Approximate Approval Timeline:
Note: The 2019 NDAA into law the fastest time since 1997.
February 12, 2018 – DoD Releases Fiscal Year 2019 Budget Proposal
Spring/Summer 2018 – Congressional committees submit “views and estimates” of spending and revenues.
Summer/Fall 2018 – House & Senate Armed Appropriations Committees work on the FY2019 defense bill.
Summer/Fall 2018 – House of Representatives and Senate pass their versions of the defense bill and negotiate differences.
November/December 2018 – The House of Representatives and Senate pass the final version of the defense bill.
December 2018 – The defense bill is signed into law
For more detailed information on the 2018 Defense Budget proposal, visit the 2019 DoD Defense Budget Request site.