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

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Official presidential photo of President Donald Trump
Main article: Donald Trump achievements: Military, national security, and anti-terrorism

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 in 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]

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.

Legislation signed, 2017

  • H.R. 244, which was signed into law by President Trump on May 5, 2017, and funded the government through September 30, 2017, expanded military spending by about $21 billion without an identical increase in domestic spending and fulfilled several of the military's requests.[16]

Executive actions, 2017

Military

Secretary of Defense James Mattis
The USS Gerald R. Ford[17] in April 2017. The aircraft carrier was commissioned in July 2017.[18]

The Trump Administration made several achievements related to the U.S. military:

  • January 27, 2017—President Trump signed a memorandum to begin the expansion and rebuilding of the U.S. military.[19]
  • February 3, 2017—The Trump Administration and Lockheed Martin reached a tentative deal that would purchase 90 F-35 jets at the lowest price in the program's history.[20] The first 90 planes were about $725 million below budget, with billions of more dollars of savings expected, and it saved at least one U.S. ally, Japan, $100 million.[21]
  • June 30, 2017—The Department of Defense announced it would delay an Obama Administration plan to have the military recruit transgender people for six months in order to ensure the military's readiness would not be affected by the change.[22] On July 26, 2017, President Trump announced he would reverse Obama's policy and disallow transgender people from serving in the military,[23] and he formally signed an order banning them from joining the military on August 25, 2017.[24] President Trump signed a final order on March 23, 2018, that banned transgender individuals from military service but with certain exceptions.[25]
  • The Trump Administration gave wider powers to the Department of Defense than it had under Obama.[26] In April 2017, President Trump gave Mattis authority to set troop levels in Iraq and Syria for the fight against ISIS,[27] and it gave military commanders authority to perform military actions without approval from Washington.[28] The U.S. military made large advances against ISIS under their autonomy.[29] In June 2017, the Trump Administration authorized the Defense Department to set troop levels in Afghanistan,[30] and in October 2017, it relaxed the rules of engagement for its troops in the country by ending a requirement for soldiers to be in contact with the enemy before opening fire.[31] The expanded authority given to the military could also be seen in U.S. operations in Somalia.[32]
  • July 21, 2017—Defense Secretary James Mattis ordered a department-wide review of its military training requirements, particularly that which is irrelevant to actual warfighting such as political correctness exercises, in order to make the military more effective and lethal.[33]
  • July 2017—Defense Secretary Mattis took a strong stance on reducing waste in the military when he criticized a program that spent tens of millions of dollars on camouflage uniforms that turned out to be ineffective.[34]
  • President Trump elevated the Department of Defense's Cyber Command to the status of Unified Combatant Command, showing the Trump Administration's increased focus on cyber security.[35]
  • It was reported in October 2017 that the Department of Defense had stopped using resources from the Southern Poverty Law Center, a left-wing organization, for training on extremism.[36]
  • December 7, 2017—The Department of Defense announced it would begin its first-ever agency-wide financial audit.[37] The Pentagon completed and released the audit in November 2018.[38]

National security

The Trump Administration made several achievements related to U.S. national security:

  • March 21, 2017—The DHS instituted an electronics ban on 10 foreign airports for flights into the U.S.[39] Due to this ban, many of the affected airports[40] and airlines[41] improved their screening methods enough to remove them from the list. The laptop ban was lifted from all ten airports by July 20, 2017, when all the airports met the DHS's first phase of new security measures.[42]
  • May 11, 2017—President Trump signed an executive order to review U.S. cyber security and hold the various federal departments accountable for ensuring the protection of valuable information.[43]
  • May 11, 2017—President Trump signed an executive order creating a commission, chaired by Vice President Mike Pence and vice-chaired by Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, to review the extent of voter fraud and suppression in the United States.[44] On January 3, 2018, President Trump dissolved the commission due to its work being slowed down by many Democrat lawsuits, and he ordered the DHS to conduct the investigation into voter fraud instead.[45] Despite this, the DHS announced it would not be taking up the investigation.[46]
  • June 28, 2017—The DHS announced new measures to increase security in international airports an to protect flights to the U.S. from terrorist attacks.[47]
  • July 11, 2017—The Trump Administration limited the governmental use of Kaspersky Lab software due to suspicions that the Russian government was using it for cyber espionage.[48] The Trump Administration ordered the full removal of the software from government computers in September 2017.[49] On December 12, 2017, President Trump signed into law a ban on Kaspersky Lab software in the U.S. government.[50]
  • July 21, 2017—President Trump signed an executive order requiring a government-wide review of the U.S. defense industry and supply change in order to improve national security, described as one of the most significant such reviews since Dwight D. Eisenhower's presidency.[51] On October 5, 2018, the Trump Administration released the review's findings and took actions based on those findings.[52]
  • September 13, 2017—The Trump Administration blocked the purchase of a U.S. superconductor maker firm to a Chinese company supported by the nation's government.[53] This was the fourth time in 27 years that a U.S. president had blocked a foreign takeover of an American company.[54]
  • October 13, 2017—The Department of Defense instituted increased security vetting measures for the Military Accessions Vital to the National Interest (MAVNI) program letting noncitizens serve in the U.S. military in exchange for expedited citizenship.[55]
  • October 16, 2017—The DHS ordered all federal agencies to adopt measures to increase their cybersecurity for their email and websites.[56]
  • October 26, 2017—The Trump Administration instituted tougher security screenings for people flying to the U.S.[57]
  • December 18, 2017—President Trump released his national security strategy,[58] something which he – unlike his predecessors – was able to complete within his first year in office.[59] While the strategy continued to promote several of the globalist ideas of Trump's predecessors – something which pleased "Never Trump" globalists[60] – the NSS also promoted several conservative policies. The Trump Administration applied its "America First" philosophy in the strategy, and it emphasized economic prosperity and border security.[61] It also emphasized trade.[62] The Trump Administration also took a strong stance on immigration, border security, and national sovereignty in the strategy, and these issues were placed prominently in the document.[63][64] In the strategy, the Trump Administration rejected the Obama Administration's emphasis on promoting democracy and human rights, and it reversed the Obama Administration's decision to list climate change as a national security threat,[59][61][64][65] even suggesting that the climate change lobby is a national security threat.[66] Unlike the Obama Administration's NSS, the Trump Administration emphasized Islamic terrorism, called it out by name, and noted their desire to force others to follow Sharia law,[64][67] and it argued against the notion that Israel is to blame for problems in the Middle East.[68] The Trump NSS also took a tough stance on China.[69] The strategy was the first NSS to call for protecting the U.S. electric and power grid from an EMP attack.[70] President Trump criticized previous American leaders in his speech announcing his strategy, stating that "They lost sight of America's destiny, and they lost their belief in American greatness. They surrendered our sovereignty to foreign bureaucrats in far away and distant capitals."[71]
  • December 20, 2017—President Trump signed an executive order directing federal agencies to increase the production of important minerals that the U.S. is dependent on Chinese and Russian imports for, in order to reduce U.S. dependence on the countries.[72]

Anti-terrorism

MOAB, the "Mother Of All bombs"

The Trump Administration made several achievements related to anti-terrorism actions and operations:

  • April 13, 2017—Under the increased autonomy President Trump gave the Defense Department,[73] the U.S. dropped a GBU-43B (also known as MOAB or the "Mother Of All bombs"), the largest non-nuclear bomb in existence at 21,000 pounds on a complex of Islamic State tunnels in Afghanistan. Although tested in 2003, the bomb had never been used in combat before.[74] It caused much damage,[75][76] being estimated to have killed at least 94 ISIS fighters, including four commanders – no civilians were killed.[77] It also destroyed several of the tunnels as well as weapon stockpiles.[78][79] The attack was reported as having dealt a heavy blow to ISIS's Afghanistan branch.[80]
  • Unlike former President Obama, the State Department under President Trump described the Afghanistan Taliban as a terrorist organization without hesitation.[81]
  • May 26, 2017—President Trump made clear his stance against terrorism in a statement wishing Muslims a joyful Ramadan.[82] President Trump did not hold a Ramadan dinner, breaking the annual tradition held since Bill Clinton's presidency, and instead issued a statement greeting Muslims for Eid al-Fitr on June 24, 2017.[83][84] Secretary of State Rex Tillerson also refused to host a Ramadan event at the State Department.[85]
  • June 25, 2017—It was reported that the DHS defunded several Islamic organizations supported by the Obama Administration and that were set to be funded under it.[84]
  • July 11, 2017—In an attempt to solve a diplomatic crisis between Qatar and several other Persian Gulf nations, the U.S. and Qatar signed an agreement for Qatar to increase its counterterrorism measures and to end funding for terrorist groups.[86]
  • In July 2017, DHS Secretary Kelly was able to get the head of the DHS Office for Community Partnerships to resign, symbolizing the shift in strategy from the Obama Administration in countering Islamic radicalism.[87]
  • October 13, 2017—The Treasury Department enacted terrorism-related sanctions on Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps.[88]
  • November 20, 2017—The Trump Administration officially designated North Korea a state sponsor of terror.[89]
  • The U.S. military conducted airstrikes against Islamic terrorists in Somalia beginning in early November 2017.[90] One of these airstrikes, conducted against al-Shabab on November 21, 2017, killed over 100 militants alone.[91] Another airstrike, also carried out against al-Shabab on December 12, 2017, removed what the U.S. military called "an imminent threat to the people of Mogadishu."[92]
  • In 2017, the U.S. killed Al Qaeda's chief bomb maker in a counterterrorism operation in Yemen, something confirmed by President Trump two years later.[93]

Setbacks, 2017

The following setbacks to the MAGA agenda were often caused by Congress or officials in the Trump Administration, rather than President Trump himself. Some of them can also be considered partial achievements.

  • Although President Trump did not proclaim the month of June, in 2017, as "LGBT Pride month,"[94] the Pentagon continued its annual "LGBT pride celebration."[95] Despite this, the Department of Defense delayed an Obama Administration plan to open up the military to transgender recruits.[22]

References

  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. 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. Multiple references:
  17. Multiple references: However, the aircraft carrier was the first Navy ship to have gender-neutral bathrooms:
  18. Multiple references:
  19. Multiple references:
  20. Multiple references: See also:
  21. Multiple references:
  22. 22.0 22.1 Multiple references:
  23. Multiple references: The announced ban was popular with social conservatives:
  24. Multiple references: However, the ban would not go into effect until a study on the order was completed:
  25. Multiple references: Despite this order, President Trump retreated from a total ban on transgender individuals in the military: See also:
  26. Multiple references:
  27. Multiple references:
  28. Multiple references:
  29. Scarborough, Rowan (July 2, 2017). Trump’s war of annihilation strategy against Islamic State frees military to quickly seize territory. The Washington Times. Retrieved July 3, 2017.
  30. Multiple references: President Trump, however, was not uninvolved or detached from decision making regarding the Afghan War:
  31. Multiple references: See also:
  32. Multiple references:
  33. Multiple references:
  34. Multiple references:
  35. Multiple references:
  36. Multiple references:
  37. Multiple references: See also:
  38. Multiple references: See also: The Pentagon released a follow-up to the audit in January 2019, and it announced it had begun a second agency-wide audit: The effects of the Pentagon's efforts:
  39. Multiple references: The DHS later revealed it instituted the ban after a similar explosive destroyed an airplane in a test:
  40. Dinan, Stephen (July 11, 2017). Six foreign airports earn their way off DHS’s laptop ban. The Washington Times. Retrieved July 11, 2017.
  41. Multiple references:
  42. Multiple references:
  43. Multiple references:
  44. Multiple references: President Trump later appointed conservative J. Christian Adams to the commission: The commission's first meeting was held on July 19, 2017:
  45. Multiple references: See also:
  46. Dinan, Stephen (January 16, 2018). DHS won’t do voter-fraud investigation after Trump commission shut down. The Washington Times. Retrieved January 16, 2018.
  47. Multiple references:
  48. Multiple references:
  49. Multiple references:
  50. Multiple references:
  51. Multiple references: See also:
  52. Multiple references: Some of the actions taken by the Trump Administration to counter the vulnerabilities listed in the report: See also:
  53. Multiple references:
  54. Trump Blocks China-Backed Lattice Bid. Bloomberg. September 13, 2017. Retrieved September 14, 2017.
  55. Multiple references:
  56. Multiple references: Most government domains met the one-year deadline:
  57. Multiple references:
  58. Multiple references:
  59. 59.0 59.1 Hayward, John (December 18, 2017). Trump’s National Security Strategy: Economic Strength, Border Security, Ideological Warfare. Breitbart News. Retrieved December 18, 2017.
  60. Jasper, William F. (December 29, 2017). Deep State Boasts: We’re Sabotaging Trump From the Inside. The New American. Retrieved December 29, 2017.
  61. 61.0 61.1 Multiple references:
  62. Carney, John (December 18, 2017). Trump Puts Trade at Heart of National Security Strategy. Breitbart News. Retrieved December 18, 2017.
  63. Munro, Neil (December 18, 2017). Open Borders Are a Top Threat, Says President Trump’s Security Strategy. Breitbart News. Retrieved December 18, 2017.
  64. 64.0 64.1 64.2 Hasson, Peter (December 18, 2017). Five Ways Trump’s New National Security Strategy Is A Rejection Of Obama’s. The Daily Caller. Retrieved December 18, 2017.
  65. Multiple references:
  66. Pollak, Joel B. (December 18, 2017). Trump’s National Security Strategy Suggests Climate Change Lobby Is a Threat. Breitbart News. Retrieved December 19, 2017.
  67. Berger, Judson (December 18, 2017). Trump national security strategy restores reference to 'jihadist' terror threat. Breitbart News. Retrieved December 18, 2017.
    See also:
  68. Multiple references:
  69. Multiple references:
  70. Bedard, Paul (December 20, 2017). Trump first president to protect electric grid from EMP, cyberattacks. Washington Examiner. Retrieved October 16, 2018.
    See also:
  71. Seldin, Jeff (December 18, 2017). Trump Hails New Era of Global Competition, Says 'America is Going to Win'. Voice of America. Retrieved December 18, 2017.
  72. Multiple references: See also:
  73. Griffin, Jennifer; Tomlinson, Lucas (April 14, 2017). MOAB drop ordered by US general, Trump approval not needed, officials say. Fox News. Retrieved April 14, 2017.
  74. Multiple references:
  75. McKay, Hollie (May 2, 2017). 'MOAB' aftermath: Fox News tours site where Afghanistan bomb was dropped. Fox News. Retrieved May 2, 2017.
  76. McKay, Hollie (May 11, 2017). MOAB damage in Afghanistan extreme, widespread. Fox News. Retrieved May 11, 2017.
  77. Multiple references: The estimates came from the Afghan government, as the U.S. government chose not to release death toll numbers:
  78. Davis, Jack (April 14, 2017). MOAB Inflicts Vast Damage To ISIS In Afghanistan – ‘Biggest Complex Destroyed’. Western Journalism. Retrieved April 17, 2017.
  79. Chappell, Bill (April 14, 2017). Afghan Official Says 94 ISIS Fighters Killed In 'Mother Of All Bombs' Attack. NPR. Retrieved April 17, 2017.
  80. Mora, Edwin (April 14, 2017). With MOAB, U.S. Military Delivers Major Blow to Weak Afghan Islamic State. Breitbart News. Retrieved April 16, 2017.
  81. Mora, Edwin (May 17, 2017). Trump State Dept. Breaks from Obama White House: Afghan Taliban Is a ‘Terrorist Organization’. Breitbart News. Retrieved May 18, 2017.
  82. Multiple references:
  83. Multiple references: See also:
  84. 84.0 84.1 Munro, Neil (June 25, 2017). DHS John Kelly Defunds, Disinvites Islamic Groups Favored By Barack Obama. Breitbart News. Retrieved June 25, 2017.
  85. Multiple references:
  86. Multiple references: Despite the agreement, the diplomatic crisis between Qatar and the other Arab nations continued: Qatar appeared to make additional progress in taking action against terrorism:
  87. Multiple references:
  88. Multiple references:
  89. Multiple references:
  90. Multiple references: See also:
  91. Multiple references:
  92. Guled, Abdi (December 12, 2017). US drone strike removes 'imminent threat' to Somali capital. Stars and Stripes (from the Associated Press). Retrieved December 22, 2017.
  93. Multiple references:
  94. Carter, Brandon (July 1, 2017). Trump breaks tradition, doesn't recognize LGBT Pride Month. The Hill. Retrieved July 1, 2017.
  95. Scarborough, Rowan (June 11, 2017). Pentagon continues LGBT pride celebration; conservatives say it’s a shame in Trump administration. The Washington Times. Retrieved June 11, 2017.