Trump promises CENTCOM, SOCOM 'beautiful new planes,' equipment

By Jordana Mishory / February 6, 2017 at 3:10 PM

President Trump has promised to provide "beautiful new equipment" to U.S. Central Command and U.S. Special Operations Command.

"We're going to be loading it up with beautiful new planes and beautiful new equipment," Trump said, speaking Monday at MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa, FL. "You have been lacking a little equipment. We are going to load it up. You are going to get a lot of equipment. Believe me."

Trump thanked the men and women serving in the armed forces and noted that those serving at CENTCOM and SOCOM "shed [their] blood across the continents and the oceans." Trump said his administration would always honor their sacrifice and ensure that they "have the tools, equipment, resources, training and supplies you need to get the job done."

"You've seen me say we've been depleted," Trump said. "Our Navy is at a point almost as low as World War I. That's a long time ago. That's a long time ago. It's not going to happen anymore, folks. It's not going to happen anymore. Not with me."

Trump campaigned on the platform of rebuilding the military, including rebuilding the Navy toward a goal of 350 ships.

Expressing his desire that no taxpayer dollars are wasted, Trump trumpeted his involvement in saving more than $700 million when he engaged in negotiations for the F-35 Lot 10 production. On Friday, the F-35 joint program office awarded Lockheed Martin a contract to produce 90 Joint Strike Fighter aircraft in low-rate initial production Lot 10 after more than a year of negotiations.

Inside Defense reports that in a Feb. 3 statement, the JPO does not disclose the total cost of the contract, but notes the price of an F-35A dropped from $102 million in Lot 9 to $94.4 million in Lot 10, a 7 percent drop, according to the JPO and "the lowest-priced F-35s in program history," according to a separate release from the Office of the Secretary of Defense.

Trump's claim of $700 million increases the amount White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer cited on Friday of $455 million. Inside Defense reported that public statements from F-35 program officials and past reporting indicates the cost-cutting measures the administration has attributed to Trump's involvement in negotiations have actually been in the works for months and are part of a larger "Blueprint for Affordability" plan to reduce the F-35A's unit cost to $85 million by 2019.

During the speech, Trump also noted that he "strongly" supports NATO, provided that the NATO members make their full financial contributions to the alliance. "It's been very unfair to us," he said.