Aboard aircraft carrier, Trump pushes for more military spending

Newport News Shipbuilding prepares for Trump visit

Speaking in a packed hangar aboard the U.S. Navy's newest and most advanced aircraft carrier, President Donald Trump on Thursday vowed to launch a "great rebuilding" of American military power.

The USS Gerald R. Ford in 2013.

The Navy had 204 surface warships out of its total 774 active ships in 1918 when that war ended, though ship technology has changed over the past century and a direct comparison to today's high-tech warships is not exact, according the Naval History and Heritage Command.

The president stated before an audience of sailors that his budget proposal to invest $54 billion into defense spending.

Trump plans to deliver a speech about his defense budget priorities aboard the U.S.S. Gerald R. Ford, a $13 billion soon-to-be commissioned war vessel whose construction has been plagued by cost overruns and delays.

"We need to build up the Navy anyway, and I think him coming out here and visiting everybody will be a good thing", said industrial engineer Greg Congleton.

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Kelly Avellino is in Newport News and will have more online and on NBC12.

President Trump addresses a joint session of Congress on Tuesday, Feb. 28. But for now, he is upbeat, especially when it comes to Trump's plans. "By eliminating the sequester and the uncertainty it creates, we will make it easier for the Navy to plan for the future and, thus, to control costs and get the best deals for the taxpayer". In doing so, Trump said, our forces would be properly prepared to defend the country. "And America's military will ensure that even through the darkest nights, a bright and glowing sun will always shine on our nation and on our people". During the campaign, Trump expressed support for a 350 ship Navy. Wearing an olive-green bomber jacket he had received after arriving on the ship, Trump also swapped out his iconic red hat for the navy-blue cap worn by the almost completed ship's crew.

This increase keeps with a December US Navy Force Structure Assessment, which called for more large surface combat ships, attack submarines, amphibious warfare ships, and an additional Ford-class aircraft carrier.

He called the Ford a "monument" to American might.

"Show me the money", said Donald Jones, a 60-year-old sheet metal mechanic from Portsmouth/ "We're glad he's here".

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