2018 Defense Budget

Updated: December 24, 2022
In this Article

    The 2018 Defense Budget was signed into law on Dec. 12, 2017 by President Trump. The defense budget authorizes just under $700 billion in defense spending and a 2.4% increase in military pay and a .7% increase in BAH.

    2018 Defense Budget
    U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class George M. Bell

    The $700 billion plan exceeded the budget cap of  $549 billion as established Budget and Control Act (BCA) of 2011. On Feb. 9, 2018 President Trump signed in law the final spending bill after two stopgap measures were passed.

    See the latest update on the 2024 Defense Budget and the impact on 2024 military pay.

    What the Defense Budget Means to You:

    • Military Pay: 2.4% pay increase for military members. In line with private sector wage growth
    • Basic Allowance for Subsistence Rates: The BAS rate increase will be .3% after seeing no increase last year.
    • Basic Allowance for Housing Rates: The 2018 Basic Allowance for Housing rate will see an average increase of .7 percent or $10 per month. Individual areas will vary.
    • BAH: BAH for dual military couples unchanged. The senate proposed changing married service members BAH payments to the “without dependents” rate
    • Higher TRICARE pharmacy co-pays: Many retirees and military dependents who didn’t pay TRICARE fees now. Disabled retirees, their dependents and dependents of service members who died on active duty will not see these increases. Tricare users under 65 will now pay the following
      • Generics by Mail: $10 for a 90-day supply
      • Brand Name Drugs: Increase of $28 for a 90-supply
      • Brand Name Drugs in-network Retail: Increase of $28 for a 90-supply
    • Military Spouse License Rebates:  $500 rebate on a professional license or certification after a permanent change of station move
    • PCS Moves: Some families will be allowed to move before or after a service member has to change duty stations for school, job or other reasons.
    • Widow’s Tax: The Special Survivor Indemnity Allowance (SSIA) of $310 will no longer be offset by receiving Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC) payments.
    • Intimate Media Sharing: Prohibits the sharing of intimate media service members without the subject’s consent and includes a means to prosecute.
    • Other Than Honorable Discharges: aka “bad paper” discharges will have expanded processes to address discharges affected by post-traumatic stress or a related condition.
    • Employment Records: A new database will be created where states and employers can access unclassified military training records that are applicable to civilian employment, civilian licensing or certification requirements.
    • 20,300 more troops
      • 16,600 active duty
        • 7,500 Army
        • 4,000 Sailors
        • 1,000 Marines
        • 4,100 Air Force
      • 1,400 National Guard
      • 2,300 Reserves
    • Space Corps: The defense budget passed on the creation of a Space Corps, a new arm of the Air Force
    • F-35s: Pentagon to buy 90 F-35s
    • Missile Defense: $4 billion for missile defense
    • Afghanistan: $1.2 billion to send 3,500 troops to Afghanistan

    Original Proposed NDAA Details:

    Pay Raises, Manning Levels

    • 2.1% pay increase for military members. This is less than the 2.4% under the formula in current law
    • 1.9% pay raise for civilian employees
    • 2.9% average increase in Basic Allowance for Housing Rates with 96% coverage of housing costs
    • 3.4% increase in Basic Allowance for Subsistence
    • Sustainment of FY 2017 National Defense Authorization Act increased manning levels
    • Modification of the military’s retirement system, “to allow enlisted members beyond 26 years to receive government contributions under the Thrift Savings Plan” according to

    Defense Budget Approximate Approval Timeline:

    Feb. 9, 2018 – Congresses passes and President Trump signs spending bill and ends brief overnight shutdown.

    Jan. 22, 2018 – Congress passes another stopgap spending bill good until Feb. 8, 2018.

    Jan. 19, 2018 – The four-week stopgap spending bill expires and the government is shutdown.

    Dec. 12, 2017 – Presidential Trump signs the nearly $700 billion NDAA into law.

    Dec. 7, 2017 – Congress passed a stopgap spending bill on Thursday to prevent a government shutdown.

    Nov. 16, 2017 – Both houses pass the NDAA and send to President Trump for Approval.

    Nov. 14, 2017 – US House and Senate committee come to agreement on 2018 NDAA.

    May 23, 2017 – DoD Releases Fiscal Year 2018 Budget Proposal

    Summer 2017 – Congressional committees submit “views and estimates” of spending and revenues.

    Summer/Fall 2017 – House & Senate Armed Appropriations Committees work on the FY2018 defense bill.

    Summer/Fall 2017 – House of Representatives and Senate pass their versions of the defense bill and negotiate differences.

    November/December 2017 – The House of Representatives and Senate pass the final version of the defense bill.

    December 2017 – President Trump signs the defense bill into law.

    Compare to the 2017 Defense Budget that went into effect on Jan. 1, 2017. For more detailed information on the 2018 Defense Budget proposal, visit the Defense Budget Overview.

    The NDAA is effective on Jan. 1, 2018.

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    Military Pay DatesMilitary Reserve Pay Dates
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    Written by Veteran.com Team