Last modified on May 27, 2021, at 23:42

Donald Trump achievements: Military, national security, and anti-terrorism

Official presidential photo of President Donald Trump
Main article: Donald Trump achievements

This article is a non-exhaustive list of achievements by U.S. President Donald Trump, his administration, and Congress related to the military, United States national security, and anti-terrorism actions.

For national security actions directly related to U.S. trade policy, see Donald Trump achievements: Trade policy. For national security actions directly related to immigration and border security, see Donald Trump achievements: Immigration and border security. For diplomatic actions related to military, national security, and anti-terrorism, see Donald Trump achievements: Foreign policy.

This article has been split, by year, into sub-articles to better manage the long list of achievements.


See: Donald Trump achievements: Military, national security, and anti-terrorism (2017)

It was observed relatively early in his presidency that President Trump had developed a strong position on fighting terrorism, making good on his campaign promises.[1] It was reported in June 2017 that public trust in the Trump Administration in protecting the nation from terrorism increased to 70%, up from 55% in 2015.[2] Due to the policies of President Trump and Secretary of Defense James Mattis, the U.S. had made major gains against ISIS in Iraq, Syria,[3] and Afghanistan by the first year of Trump's presidency, and it oversaw the first steps of military expansion.[4] President Trump's strategy on defeating ISIS differed from that of Obama's,[5] and gains against ISIS increased during the Trump Administration.[6] By the end of 2017, ISIS lost 98% of the terrirtory it once held, and most of its losses occurred during the Trump Administration.[7] On December 9, 2017, Iraq declared final victory over ISIS.[8] President Trump's first year in office coincided with a nearly 25% decrease in worldwide terrorist attacks and their deadliness compared to the previous year.[9]

President Trump had several former military generals in his administration and relied on them substantially for advice.[10] The Department of Homeland Security gained influence during Trump's presidency.[11] Secretary Mattis also put his effort into increasing and maintaining military effectiveness and fiscal responsibility.[12] National security was one of the areas that President Trump prioritized when making political appointments, as seen by the fact that by December 2017, he was ahead of the Obama Administration in filling Defense Department positions despite being behind overall.[13] The Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States increased its scrutiny of foreign investors compared to previous years.[14]

To the approval of CIA staffers, the Trump Administration ended Barack Obama's micromanaging and his overemphasis on political correctness in U.S. national security policy.[15]

Among President Trump's 2017 achievements:

  • Beginning the expansion and rebuilding of the U.S. Armed Forces, including by signing a defense budget increasing defense spending by $21 billion.
  • Banning transgender individuals from the military.
  • Beginning the successful campaign against ISIS and other terrorist organizations, and empowering the military to take effective action.
  • Taking various actions to increase U.S. national security in the cyber, tech, and foreign investment realms, including blocking foreign companies from entering the U.S. market.
  • Releasing a national security strategy promoting several conservative policies.
  • Beginning a government-wide review of the U.S. defense supply chain and taking other actions to reduce U.S. dependence on rival countries.


See: Donald Trump achievements: Military, national security, and anti-terrorism (2018)

Secretary of Defense James Mattis took a more visible role in the Trump Administration in 2018,[16] and he helped advance the Trump agenda on several fronts.[17] According to Mattis, the Defense Department began focusing on countering Russia and China, "strategic competitors" of the U.S., rather than the War on Terror.[18] As an indication of the Trump Administration's successful fight against ISIS,[19] the U.S. deactivated its command in charge of American ground operations against the terrorist organization.[20] According to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, the Trump Administration also ended the Obama Administration's "downward trend in U.S. military spending."[21] The Trump Administration took numerous actions to protect U.S. election security and national security from Russia,[22] massively increased spending for espionage activities against Russia, China, and North Korea, among other intelligence operations.[23] By 2018, President Trump had made some moves to promote reforming Islam to eradicate its radical elements.[24] The Trump Administration worked to develop new low-yield nuclear weapons.[25] In 2018, along with the previous year, the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States increased its scrutiny of foreign investors.[14]

Among President Trump's 2018 achievements:

  • Continuing to expand and rebuild the military, including by increasing the defense budget and having the Armed Forces increase its readiness.
  • Signing the 2019 National Defense Authorization Act, which included several provisions to protect U.S. national security against China.
  • Completing the first-ever department-wide audit of the Pentagon.
  • Creating the United States Space Command and beginning the process for creating the United States Space Force.
  • Releasing the National Defense Strategy, which promoted some America First and realist national security positions.
  • Signing an executive order keeping Guantanamo Bay Detention Camp open.
  • Blocking several foreign companies – particularly Chinese – from either expanding operations to the U.S., from buying American companies, or from purchasing products from the U.S.
  • Taking various actions to strengthen U.S. cybersecurity and implementing a new national cyber strategy.
  • Continuing the successful assault on terrorist organizations such as ISIS and al-Shabab.


See: Donald Trump achievements: Military, national security, and anti-terrorism (2019)

Among other national security-related actions,[26] the Trump Administration continued working to develop low-yield nuclear weapons, beginning production of them in January 2019,[27][28] and it continued acquiring other advanced technologies and weapons.[29] It also continued working to strengthen the domestic defense industry,[30] and it expanded its focus on outer space as a national priority.[31] Contrary to much of the mainstream media's coverage of President Trump's criticism of intelligence agencies, he respected those agencies while Obama politicized them during his presidency.[32] The FBI worked to refocus its operations to combat cyber threats[33] and also focused on China,[34] while the CIA refocused to counter nation-state rivals.[35] The U.S. military also refocused some of its operations to counter China,[36] and it attempted to expand its presence in the Arctic Ocean.[37] The Trump Administration adopted an aggressive cyber policy, expanding its offensive operations.[38] The federal government took some steps to secure U.S. elections.[39] Faced with the threat by China, the Trump Administration began working to secure new sources of rare earth minerals,[40] and it worked to protect U.S. national security in the tech sector.[41] By March 2019, the Trump Administration had made significant progress combatting the Islamic State,[42] and the last ISIS-controlled town was freed that month.[43] The U.S. conducted other operations against Islamic terrorist groups,[44] and it helped other countries improve their counterterrorism efforts.[45] The deep state in the military, however, continued working against President Trump's conservative agenda.[46]

Among President Trump's 2019 achievements:

  • Continuing the U.S. military expansion, including by creating the United States Space Force, beginning construction of low-yield nuclear weapons, and continuing to increase defense spending.
  • Taking actions to strengthen the U.S. defense supply base.
  • Continuing to prevent foreign companies from exporting American technology or from entering the U.S. market when they posed national security threats.
  • Seeking to reduce U.S. reliance on rival countries for rare earth minerals.
  • Taking decisive actions against terrorist organizations such as ISIS and al-Shabab, and killing ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.


See: Donald Trump achievements: Military, national security, and anti-terrorism (2020)

Among other national security-related actions in 2020, the DHS worked to ensure safety at houses of worship in the U.S.[47] Additionally, the DOJ cracked down on Chinese espionage and intellectual property theft,[48] and the Armed Forces expanded their efforts to counter China.[49] The Trump Administration prioritized combating the terrorism network supported by Iran in a way that the Obama Administration never did,[50] and it took strong action against Islamic terrorism in general.[51] The Armed Forces also worked to expand and improve its cyber operations.[52] The U.S. continued working to ensure election security.[53]


  1. Wong, Kristina (April 24, 2017). Trump Takes on Terrorism in His First Hundred Days. Breitbart News. Retrieved April 24, 2017.
  2. Multiple references:
  3. McKay, Hollie (December 8, 2017). Trump, Mattis turn military loose on ISIS, leaving terror caliphate in tatters. Fox News. Retrieved December 8, 2017.
  4. Wong, Kristina (July 19, 2017). WINNING: Five Pentagon Successes Under President Trump. Breitbart News. Retrieved July 20, 2017.
    See also:
  5. Wong, Kristina (July 24, 2017). Defense Secretary Jim Mattis Explains How Trump’s ISIS Strategy Is Different from Obama’s. Breitbart News. Retrieved July 26, 2017.
  6. Multiple references: The Washington Post article also published by Stars and Stripes: Other sources:
  7. Multiple references: See also:
  8. Multiple references:
  9. Multiple references:
  10. Antle III, W. James (August 2, 2017). Trump turns to his generals in times of trouble. Washington Examiner. Retrieved August 2, 2017.
  11. Multiple references:
  12. Wong, Kristina (December 31, 2017). Why Defense Secretary Jim Mattis Doesn’t Carry Challenge Coins: ‘I’m Saving Money for Bombs’. Breitbart News. Retrieved December 31, 2017.
  13. Boyer, Dave (December 26, 2017). Trump having trouble appointing swamp-drainers. The Washington Times. Retrieved December 26, 2017.
  14. 14.0 14.1 Ferek, Katy Stech (November 22, 2019). National Security Panel Stepped Up Scrutiny of Foreign-Money Deals. The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved November 22, 2019.
  15. Dorman, Sam (November 5, 2019). CIA staff complained about Obama White House's political correctness, new book claims. Fox News. Retrieved November 5, 2019.
  16. Wong, Kristina (March 28, 2018). Defense Secretary Jim Mattis — President Trump’s New Battle Buddy? Breitbart News. Retrieved April 14, 2018.
    See also:
  17. Wong, Kristina (August 30, 2018). Defense Secretary Jim Mattis Works Non-Stop–This Is What He’s Achieved So Far. Breitbart News. Retrieved August 30, 2018.
  18. Mora, Edwin (April 26, 2018). Mattis: Pentagon Moving Away from War on Terror to Challenges by China, Russia. Breitbart News. Retrieved April 30, 2018.
    See also:
  19. Mora, Edwin (May 11, 2018). Under Trump Era, Islamic State Downgraded from ‘Caliphate’ to Shrinking Terror Pockets. Breitbart News. Retrieved May 13, 2018.
    See also: The capture of five high-ranking ISIS leaders in May 2018 served as a notable achievement against ISIS: Other victories: Despite all this, ISIS remained a threat:
  20. Multiple references: See also:
  21. Multiple references: See also:
  22. Multiple references:
  23. Re, Gregg (October 30, 2018). Trump dramatically expands US espionage spending amid threats from Russia, China and North Korea. Fox News. Retrieved October 30, 2018.
    See also:
  24. Kant, Garth (August 7, 2018). Trump's Plan to Change the World. The Daily Caller. Retrieved August 7, 2018.
  25. Osborn, Kris (December 20, 2018). Pentagon moves ahead with new low-yield nuclear weapon, amid resurgent debate. Fox News (from Warrior Maven). Retrieved December 29, 2018.
    See also:
  26. Multiple references: See also:
  27. Multiple references: See also:
  28. Mehta, Aaron (December 28, 2019). Nuclear weapons get small boost in budget deal. Defense News. Retrieved December 28, 2019.
  29. Multiple references: See also:
  30. Navarro, Peter (March 19, 2019). Why America Needs a Stronger Defense Industry. The New York Times. Retrieved March 21, 2019.
  31. Philipp, Joshua (March 22, 2019). Trump’s Space Program to Counter Strategic Threats, Advance Innovation. The Epoch Times. Retrieved May 9, 2019.
    See also:
  32. Klein, Aaron (February 4, 2019). Klein: Trump Respects Independence of Intel Agencies While Obama Politicized Them. Breitbart News. Retrieved February 4, 2019.
    See also:
  33. Volz, Dustin; Tau, Byron (March 29, 2019). FBI, Retooling Once Again, Sets Sights on Expanding Cyber Threats. The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved March 30, 2019.
    See also:
  34. Multiple references:
  35. Multiple references:
  36. Multiple references: See also:
  37. Multiple references:
  38. Multiple references: Specifically regarding Russia, including President Trump's response: Specifically regarding China: Regarding Iran:
  39. Multiple references:
  40. Multiple references: See also:
  41. Multiple references: See also:
  42. Multiple references: See also:
  43. Multiple references: The White House's announcement: On March 23, 2019, U.S.-supported forces in Syria announced the Islamic State had been defeated: See also:
  44. Multiple references:
  45. Donati, Jessica (May 6, 2019). As Diplomacy Shifts, U.S. Expands Military-Style Counterterrorism Training. The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved May 6, 2019.
  46. Wolfgang, Ben (December 1, 2019). Military slow-walk or 'deep state' defiance?: Trump sees direct orders modified. The Washington Times. Retrieved December 1, 2019.
  47. Multiple references:
  48. Gertz, Bill (January 8, 2020). 'Economic espionage': Special DOJ unit cracks down on China's illicit activities. The Washington Times. Retrieved January 8, 2020.
  49. Multiple references:
  50. Dunleavy, Jerry (January 12, 2020). Trump prioritizes fight against Iran-backed narcoterrorist network Obama neglected: DEA official. Washington Examiner. Retrieved January 12, 2020.
  51. Fleitz, Fred (January 14, 2020). Fred Fleitz: Pensacola shooting – Trump is honest about radical Islam threat, Obama tried to ignore it. Fox News. Retrieved January 14, 2020.
  52. Read, Russ (January 14, 2020). 'We want to win the next war': US Army will revamp cyber operations to counter Russia and China. Washington Examiner. Retrieved January 14, 2020.
  53. Giaritelli, Anna (January 14, 2020). 'Top national security priority': Trump official seeks to assure local leaders on election integrity. Washington Examiner. Retrieved January 14, 2020.