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

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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 2018.

Secretary of Defense James Mattis took a more visible role in the Trump Administration in 2018,[1] and he helped advance the Trump agenda on several fronts.[2] 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.[3] As an indication of the Trump Administration's successful fight against ISIS,[4] the U.S. deactivated its command in charge of American ground operations against the terrorist organization.[5] According to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, the Trump Administration also ended the Obama Administration's "downward trend in U.S. military spending."[6] The Trump Administration took numerous actions to protect U.S. election security and national security from Russia,[7] massively increased spending for espionage activities against Russia, China, and North Korea, among other intelligence operations.[8] By 2018, President Trump had made some moves to promote reforming Islam to eradicate its radical elements.[9] The Trump Administration worked to develop new low-yield nuclear weapons.[10] In 2018, along with the previous year, the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States increased its scrutiny of foreign investors.[11]

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, 2018

  • February 9, 2018—President Trump signed a government funding bill that allowed for increasing military spending by $165 billion over two years.[12]
  • March 23, 2018—President Trump reluctantly signed[13] an omnibus spending bill because it contained a massive military spending increase, with nearly $700 billion allotted to the military plus another $10 billion for military construction projects.[14] The bill also included the Taylor Force Act, which ended U.S. aid to the Palestinian Authority on the condition that it continued to give payments to convicted terrorists and their families.[15]
  • August 13, 2018—President Trump signed the 2019 National Defense Authorization Act into law,[16] which, among other reforms, banned the U.S. government from using products from the Chinese companies ZTE and Huawei, strengthened the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS), took measures to counter Chinese government influence in domestic U.S. society, and allowed Defense Secretary Mattis to waive sanctions on countries that had bought Russian weapons in the past but now wanted to buy American weapons.[17] While the bill took a tough stance on China, some of its measures were more lenient than originally proposed.[17]
  • September 28, 2018—President Trump signed a spending bill substantially increasing military spending to $674 billion, making it the first time in 10 years that Congress passed such a bill before the beginning of the new fiscal year.[18]
  • October 25, 2018—President Trump signed the Hizballah International Financing Prevention Amendments Act, enacting additional sanctions on Hezbollah and expanding the list of people able to be sanctioned for cooperating with the terrorist organization.[19]
  • November 16, 2018—President Trump signed a bill into law making the DHS the most important agency for cybersecurity and organizing the agency's cybersecurity division.[20]

Executive actions, 2018

President Trump giving a speech at Fort Drum, New York, August 2018
President Trump with U.S. troops, August 2018

Military

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

  • February 14, 2018—The Defense Department announced a new policy to remove service members who have been undeployable for over 12 months, with certain exceptions – when the policy was announced, nearly 300,000 service members, or about 14% of U.S. forces, were undeployable.[21]
  • March 23, 2018—President Trump signed an order banning transgender individuals from serving in the U.S. military except in "limited circumstances."[22] On January 22, 2019, the Supreme Court allowed the ban to temporarily go into effect pending hearings in lower courts,[23] and the Pentagon finally moved to implement the order in March 2019.[24]
  • May 4, 2018—The U.S. Navy announced it would recreate the Second Fleet in response to increased Russian activity in the north Atlantic Ocean.[25] The fleet was formally re-established on August 24, 2018.[26]
  • June 2018—The Department of Defense did not issue a memo commemorating LGBT Pride Month, a change from previous years.[27]
  • June 18, 2018—President Trump announced he was directing the Department of Defense to begin the process of creating the Space Force as a sixth branch of the military.[28] On August 9, 2018, Vice President Mike Pence announced the Trump Administration's plans to establish the Space Force.[29]
  • June 2018—The U.S. Army issued several service-wide memorandums to improve readiness training, which among other changes made formerly mandatory training on political correctness issues, such as transgender and drug abuse training, optional.[30] Early the next month, the Army revealed an updated and improved fitness test, the first time it had been updated since the 1980s,[31] and roughly the same time, it moved forward in completing the largest reorganization of the department in 45 years, establishing its Army Futures Command.[32] The Army took other steps in 2018 to improve its training and readiness.[33]
  • September 17, 2018—Secretary Mattis issued a memo ordering the Air Force and Navy to make 80% of their aircraft mission-capable in one year.[34]
  • November 15, 2018—The Pentagon completed and released its first-ever department-wide audit.[35]
  • December 18, 2018—President Trump signed a memorandum officially creating the U.S. Space Command.[36]

National security

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

  • January 19, 2018—The Department of Defense released its National Defense Strategy, which shifted its strategic focus away from the main focus on counterterrorism adopted by previous administrations and toward effectively countering the threats posed by nation states – such as Russia, China, Iran, and North Korea.[37] The strategy took a significantly harder line on China compared to the Obama Administration,[38] and it emphasized the need for U.S. allies to pay a greater share for their defense to reduce the U.S.'s burden.[39] Additionally, the strategy removed climate change as a security threat.[40]
  • January 30, 2018—President Trump signed an executive order to keep Guantanamo Bay Detention Camp open – reversing an order signed by Obama in 2009.[41] As stated in the order, on May 2, 2018, the Pentagon announced that Defense Secretary Mattis had sent new criteria to the White House for when to send individuals to Guantanamo.[42]
  • February 2, 2018—The Trump Administration released its Nuclear Posture Review, which called for expanding U.S. nuclear capabilities and developing low-yield nuclear weapons in order to counter Russia and, to a lesser extent, China, Iran, and North Korea.[43]
  • February 15, 2018—The Securities and Exchange Commission blocked a Chinese attempt to buy the Chicago Stock Exchange.[44]
  • March 12, 2018—President Trump blocked Broadcom, a Singapore-based microchip company, from taking over Qualcomm, an American company, due to national security reasons.[45]
  • April 16, 2018—The Commerce Department instituted a seven-year ban on the Chinese telecommunications company ZTE Corp. for not punishing employees who violated U.S. sanctions against Iran and North Korea, banning American companies from selling parts to it.[46] In May 2018, the Defense Department banned stores on its military bases from selling products made by ZTE Corp. and Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. due to concerns that those products could be used to spy on American servicemen.[47] On May 7, 2018, however, the Commerce Department announced it had reached an agreement with ZTE to lift its ban in exchange for a $1 billion fine and hiring a compliance team selected by the U.S. government,[48] and the ban was officially lifted on July 13, 2018.[49]
  • June 20, 2018—NASA, working with the White House, released a new plan to protect the Earth from nearby asteroids.[50]
  • April 17, 2018—The Federal Communications Commission unanimously voted to ban wireless carriers from using federal subsidies to buy from companies determined to pose a national security threat.[51]
  • July 2, 2018—The Trump Administration moved to block China Mobile from expanding operations to the U.S., recommending the FCC to reject its application.[52]
  • July 31, 2018—The DHS announced the creation of the National Risk Management Center to help protect the private sector from cyber threats.[53]
  • August 15, 2018—President Trump signed an order reversing an Obama-era directive limiting how the U.S. can launch cyber attacks against foreign nations.[54] On September 20, 2018, the Trump Administration announced it had implemented a new national cyber strategy.[55]
  • September 12, 2018—President Trump signed an executive order authorizing sanctions on any foreign individual or entity believed by the U.S. government to have meddled in U.S. elections.[56]
  • September 18, 2018—It was reported that the DOJ had ordered two Chinese state media companies to register as foreign agents.[57]
  • September 18, 2018—President Trump signed a memorandum ordering a new comprehensive biodefense strategy.[58]
  • October 5, 2018—The Trump Administration released a report discussing vulnerabilities in the U.S. defense industry, including reliance on foreign rivals such as China or susceptibility to hacking, and President Trump and his administration took steps to counter those vulnerabilities.[59]
  • October 9, 2018—The DHS took its first steps to protect the U.S. from an EMP attack, releasing an initial plan on the topic.[60]
  • October 11, 2018—The Trump Administration enacted restrictions on nuclear technology exports to China in order to prevent the country from using those exports to strengthen its military.[61]
  • October 24, 2018—Defense Secretary Mattis issued a memo creating a task force to find ways to protect the U.S. defense supply chain and prevent China, Russia, and other enemies from stealing important technologies.[62]
  • October 29, 2018—Citing national security concerns, the Commerce Department restricted U.S. exports to a Chinese semiconductor company.[63]
  • November 1, 2018—Attorney General Sessions announced the creation of a new DOJ initiative to crack down on Chinese espionage and its economic theft of intellectual property.[64]

Anti-terrorism

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

  • January 20, 2018—During a partial government shutdown, the U.S. military showed its strength by launching several airstrikes that killed about 150 Islamic State fighters in Syria.[65]
  • March 2018—The U.S. military conducted airstrikes on al-Qaeda terrorists in southern Libya for the first time ever,[66] killing a high-ranking al-Qaeda terrorist.[67]
  • June 6, 2018—When hosting his first Ramadan (or Iftar) dinner, President Trump disinvited Muslim organizations tied to the Muslim Brotherhood, something in contrast to Obama when he hosted the dinners.[68]
  • October 4, 2018—The Trump Administration released its counterterrorism strategy, the first one since 2011.[69] The strategy strongly differed from the Obama Administration's policies,[70] and it emphasized targeting "radical Islamic terrorist groups."[71]
  • The U.S. military continued conducting airstrikes against al-Shabab in Somalia, and one notable airstrike in October 2018 killed 60 militants without any known civilian casualties.[72] The U.S. later announced that it killed 62 al-Shabab militants in several airstrikes on December 15–16, 2018.[73]

Proclamations, 2018

  • September 11, 2018—In his proclamation commemorating the September 11, 2001 attacks, President Trump condemned the "radical Islamist terrorists" who conducted the attacks.[74]

Other achievements, 2018

While the following achievements were not official United States government policy actions by the Trump Administration, they were closely related to the Trump Administration and its policies:

  • Even when President Trump disbanded the voter fraud commission he created the previous year because of its ineffectiveness due to numerous left-wing lawsuits, he voiced his strong support for voter ID legislation.[75]
  • The Trump Administration significantly increased its use of attributing cyberattacks to specific countries, rather than withholding the culprit's identity, compared to the Obama Administration. In eight years, the latter blamed the government of four countries for cyberattacks while the Trump Administration had blamed six by April 19, 2018.[76]

References

  1. Wong, Kristina (March 28, 2018). Defense Secretary Jim Mattis — President Trump’s New Battle Buddy? Breitbart News. Retrieved April 14, 2018.
    See also:
  2. 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.
  3. 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:
  4. 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:
  5. Multiple references: See also:
  6. Multiple references: See also:
  7. Multiple references:
  8. 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:
  9. Kant, Garth (August 7, 2018). Trump's Plan to Change the World. The Daily Caller. Retrieved August 7, 2018.
  10. 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:
  11. Ferek, Katy Stech (November 22, 2019). National Security Panel Stepped Up Scrutiny of Foreign-Money Deals. The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved November 22, 2019.
  12. Multiple references: Conservatives criticized the same bill for its large domestic spending increases, something the GOP did to win necessary Democrat votes:
  13. Multiple references:
  14. Multiple references: Congress gave the Defense Department extra flexibility in choosing when to spend the money:
  15. Multiple references: See also:
  16. Multiple references:
  17. 17.0 17.1 Multiple references: More on the measures in the bill: Specifically on CFIUS: See also: The Trump Administration moved to begin enforcing the law shortly afterward: Implementing other aspects of the law:
  18. Multiple references: Conservative criticisms of the bill, including its failure to include border wall spending: An earlier bill President Trump signed into law:
  19. Multiple references:
  20. Multiple references:
  21. Multiple references: See also:
  22. Multiple references: Despite this order, President Trump retreated from a total ban on transgender individuals in the military: See also:
  23. Multiple references: A federal judge lifted an injunction on the policy shortly after the Supreme Court's decision: The last obstacle to implementation was lifted shortly afterward:
  24. Multiple references: Earlier that month, the Pentagon announced it would implement the policy: See also:
  25. Multiple references:
  26. Multiple references: See also:
  27. Multiple references:
  28. Multiple references: See also:
  29. Multiple references: See also:
  30. Multiple references: See also:
  31. Multiple references: See also:
  32. Multiple references: See also: The Futures Command was activated on August 24, 2018:
  33. Multiple references: See also:
  34. Multiple references: See also:
  35. 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:
  36. Multiple references:
  37. Multiple references: See also:
  38. Wong, Kristina (January 19, 2018). National Defense Strategy: China a ‘Strategic Competitor Using Predatory Economics’. Breitbart News. Retrieved January 19, 2018.
  39. Multiple references:
  40. Multiple references:
  41. Multiple references: Subsequent actions: See also:
  42. Multiple references:
  43. Multiple references: The Trump Administration's nuclear policy was tougher toward Russia than the Obama Administration's:
  44. Multiple references:
  45. Multiple references: Broadcom officially withdrew the offer after it was blocked: See also:
  46. Multiple references: See also:
  47. Multiple references:
  48. Multiple references: The Trump Administration announced shortly afterward that the ban on ZTE would not be lifted until it paid the fine and an additional escrow payment: ZTE's board and executive changes: The Trump Administration allowed ZTE to temporarily resume some of its operations for a month: The Commerce Department announced it had signed an agreement to end the ban:
  49. Multiple references: ZTE saw large losses in the first half of 2018 because of the ban: Congress tried but failed to pass a bill blocking the agreement:
  50. Multiple references:
  51. Multiple references: See also:
  52. Multiple references:
  53. Multiple references:
  54. Multiple references:
  55. Multiple references: See also:
  56. Multiple references:
  57. Multiple references:
  58. Multiple references:
  59. Multiple references: Some of the actions taken by the Trump Administration to counter the vulnerabilities listed in the report: See also:
  60. Multiple references:
  61. Multiple references:
  62. Capaccio, Tony; Levinson, Robert (November 1, 2018). Mattis Moves to Protect Defense Supply Chain From Rivals' Theft. Bloomberg. Retrieved November 3, 2018.
  63. Multiple references: See also:
  64. Multiple references: The initiative came as the DOJ charged some Chinese agents with espionage: See also:
  65. Multiple references:
  66. Multiple references:
  67. Multiple references:
  68. Multiple references: See also:
  69. Multiple references:
  70. Boylan, Dan (October 4, 2018). Bolton's outline for U.S. counterterrorism sharply contrasts with Obama era. The Washington Times. Retrieved October 5, 2018.
  71. Multiple references:
  72. Multiple references: See also:
  73. Multiple references: See also:
  74. Multiple references: President Trump and Vice President Mike Pence also referred to radical Islamic terrorism in speeches they made that day:
  75. Multiple references:
  76. Uchill, Joe (April 19, 2018). Trump already passed Obama in cyber-crime attribution. Axios. Retrieved April 20, 2018.