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

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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 2019.

Among other national security-related actions,[1] the Trump Administration continued working to develop low-yield nuclear weapons, beginning production of them in January 2019,[2][3] and it continued acquiring other advanced technologies and weapons.[4] It also continued working to strengthen the domestic defense industry,[5] and it expanded its focus on outer space as a national priority.[6] 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.[7] The FBI worked to refocus its operations to combat cyber threats[8] and also focused on China,[9] while the CIA refocused to counter nation-state rivals.[10] The U.S. military also refocused some of its operations to counter China,[11] and it attempted to expand its presence in the Arctic Ocean.[12] The Trump Administration adopted an aggressive cyber policy, expanding its offensive operations.[13] The federal government took some steps to secure U.S. elections.[14] Faced with the threat by China, the Trump Administration began working to secure new sources of rare earth minerals,[15] and it worked to protect U.S. national security in the tech sector.[16] By March 2019, the Trump Administration had made significant progress combatting the Islamic State,[17] and the last ISIS-controlled town was freed that month.[18] The U.S. conducted other operations against Islamic terrorist groups,[19] and it helped other countries improve their counterterrorism efforts.[20] The deep state in the military, however, continued working against President Trump's conservative agenda.[21]

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, 2019

  • December 20, 2019—President Trump signed a $738 billion defense bill into law that notably created the United States Space Force, the first new U.S. military branch since 1947 and something Trump had strongly advocated for.[22] Among other positive national security-related provisions in that bill and in an accompanying spending bill, several actions were taken against China and military spending was increased.[3][23]

Executive actions, 2019


President Trump speaking at the Pentagon, January 17, 2019
The Trump Administration establishing U.S. Space Command, August 29, 2019

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

  • February 19, 2019—President Trump signed a directive ordering the Pentagon to draft legislation to create a Space Force.[24]
  • March 12, 2019—Acting Deputy Defense Secretary David Norquist signed a directive implementing the Trump Administration's transgender military ban, after the Supreme Court and a federal court lifted injunctions on the policy.[25] The policy went into effect on April 12, 2019.[26]
  • April 16, 2019—The Army established a health registry to help solve the problem of poor and unhealthy army living conditions.[27]
  • May 10, 2019—The Pentagon signed a deal with Lockheed Martin over a major F-35 Lightning II that reduced the price by 8.8%.[28]
  • June 26, 2019—President Trump signed a memorandum directing the Defense Department to allow military athletes to delay their military service to play professional sports.[29]
  • June 27, 2019—The U.S. Senate confirmed the first commander to lead U.S. Space Command.[30] The Trump Administration formally launched Space Command on August 29, 2019.[31]
  • December 31, 2019—The U.S. Marine Corps announced a new policy allowing the branch's law enforcement personnel to carry their personal firearms on bases even when off-duty.[32]

National security

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

  • January 16, 2019—President Trump signed four memorandums to strengthen the U.S. defense supply base.[33]
  • January 17, 2019—President Trump unveiled the administration's Missile Defense Review, the first such review since 2010.[34]
  • February 1, 2019—The Energy Department issued a memo stating it would ban its personnel, including its scientists, from participating in foreign talent-recruitment programs sponsored by "sensitive" countries such as China in order to protect U.S. national security.[35]
  • February 11, 2019—President Trump signed an executive order creating a national strategy for artificial intelligence and ordering federal agencies to prioritize AI development and to protect American AI technology from getting into the wrong hands, among other provisions.[36]
  • March 26, 2019—President Trump signed an executive order that took several steps to protect the U.S. and its electric grid from an EMP attack.[37]
  • April 12, 2019—President Trump announced several initiatives to promote the development of 5G networks in the U.S.[38] Among these, the Federal Communications Commission announced it would hold a 5G auction and spend $20 million to expand internet access in rural areas.[39]
  • April 17, 2019—The Trump Administration ended the Obama-era practice of disclosing the size of the U.S. nuclear weapon stockpile.[40]
  • April 30, 2019—The Trump Administration successfully forced the Chinese government-owned company Cosco to sell the Port of Long Beach in California due to national security concerns.[41] The sale was finalized later that year.[41]
  • May 2, 2019—President Trump signed an executive order intended to improve the federal government's cybersecurity workforce.[42]
  • May 9, 2019—The FCC voted to block China Mobile from entering the U.S. market because of security concerns.[43]
  • May 13, 2019—The Commerce Department banned six Chinese tech companies, along with several companies from other countries, from exporting sensitive American technology and other products.[44]
  • May 15, 2019—President Trump signed an executive order empowering the U.S. government to block foreign tech companies from operating in the U.S. if they pose a national security threat.[45][46] Shortly after the order's signing, the Commerce Department placed Huawei and seventy affiliates on its "Entity List," meaning it could no longer buy parts in the U.S. without federal government approval.[46][47] On June 29, 2019, President Trump announced he would allow U.S. companies to sell to Huawei as part of an agreement to restart trade negotiations with China.[48]
  • By mid-2019, the Trump Administration had significantly slowed its approvals of semiconductor company requests to hire Chinese citizens for sensitive positions.[49]
  • June 21, 2019—The Commerce Department added five Chinese supercomputing companies to its "Entity List," banning those companies from buying U.S. technology without approval from the federal government.[50]
  • July 22, 2019—President Trump ordered the Defense Department to find better ways to obtain rare earth minerals, something done to lessen U.S. dependence on China.[51]
  • July 23, 2019—The National Security Agency announced it would create a cybersecurity directorate to unify its defensive and offensive cybersecurity operations.[52]
  • August 7, 2019—The Trump Administration moved to ban the federal government from buying Huawei technology, in compliance with a federal law passed the previous year.[53]
  • October 28, 2019—The FCC proposed banning American companies that receive federal subsidies from purchasing equipment from Huawei and ZTE.[54] On November 22, 2019, the FCC formally approved this ban.[55]
  • November 19, 2019—The U.S. and Australia signed an agreement to increase their cooperation on rare earth minerals research to counter China's dominance in that area.[56]
  • November 26, 2019—The Commerce Department released a proposal to protect telecommunications networks and their supply chains from foreign national security threats.[57]
  • November 27, 2019—The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency released a draft directive ordering federal agencies to increase their protections against cyber vulnerabilities.[58]
  • December 17, 2019—The U.S. Navy banned the Chinese social media app TikTok from government-issued mobile devices because of cybersecurity concerns.[59] Later that month, the U.S. Army also banned the app,[60] and by January 3, 2020, the Coast Guard and Air Force had also banned the app.[61]


President Trump and senior officials monitor the operation that killed ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, October 26, 2019

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

  • January 1, 2019—President Trump and the U.S. government announced that an airstrike carried out on this day killed Jamal al-Badawi, a terrorist tied to the attack on the USS Cole in 2000.[62]
  • The U.S. continued taking action against al-Shabab in Somalia.[63] On January 19, 2019, it announced it killed 52 al-Shabab members in an airstrike.[64] On February 24, 2019, the U.S. killed 35 al-Shabab terrorists in an airstrike.[65]
  • March 15, 2019—President Trump signed an executive order that updated a 2011 order signed by President Obama, strengthening the definition of a "significant transnational criminal organization" so that the Trump Administration could better counter Mexican cartels and other similar organizations.[66]

  • April 8, 2019—The Trump Administration officially designated Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps a foreign terrorist organization, the first time the U.S. did so for an entire foreign government entity.[67]
  • April 14, 2019—The U.S. killed the deputy leader of ISIS's Somalia section in an airstrike.[68]
  • September 10, 2019—President Trump signed an executive order allowing the federal government to impose sanctions on terrorist leaders without needing to specify specific actions committed by those individuals.[69]
  • September 14, 2019—President Trump announced that Hamza bin Laden, one of Osama bin Laden's sons, had been milled in a U.S. airstrike.[70]
  • October 27, 2019—President Trump announced that ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi had been killed by U.S. forces one day earlier, achieving a significant U.S. national security goal.[71] Only hours after al-Baghdadi's death, U.S. forces killed ISIS spokesman Abu Hassan al-Muhajir, the terrorist organization's second-in-command, in a separate operation.[72]
  • November 19, 2019—The U.S. killed an senior al-Shabab official in an airstrike.[73]
  • December 29, 2019—The U.S. conducted airstrikes against Kataib Hezbollah in Iraq and Syria in retaliation for a rocket attack that killed a U.S. defense contractor.[74] That same day, the U.S. launched multiple drone strikes against al-Shabab in Somalia.[75]

Other achievements, 2019

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:


  1. Multiple references: See also:
  2. Multiple references: See also:
  3. 3.0 3.1 Mehta, Aaron (December 28, 2019). Nuclear weapons get small boost in budget deal. Defense News. Retrieved December 28, 2019.
  4. Multiple references: See also:
  5. Navarro, Peter (March 19, 2019). Why America Needs a Stronger Defense Industry. The New York Times. Retrieved March 21, 2019.
  6. Philipp, Joshua (March 22, 2019). Trump’s Space Program to Counter Strategic Threats, Advance Innovation. The Epoch Times. Retrieved May 9, 2019.
    See also:
  7. Klein, Aaron (February 4, 2019). Klein: Trump Respects Independence of Intel Agencies While Obama Politicized Them. Breitbart News. Retrieved February 4, 2019.
    See also:
  8. 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:
  9. Multiple references:
  10. Multiple references:
  11. Multiple references: See also:
  12. Multiple references:
  13. Multiple references: Specifically regarding Russia, including President Trump's response: Specifically regarding China: Regarding Iran:
  14. Multiple references:
  15. Multiple references: See also:
  16. Multiple references: See also:
  17. Multiple references: See also:
  18. 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:
  19. Multiple references:
  20. Donati, Jessica (May 6, 2019). As Diplomacy Shifts, U.S. Expands Military-Style Counterterrorism Training. The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved May 6, 2019.
  21. Wolfgang, Ben (December 1, 2019). Military slow-walk or 'deep state' defiance?: Trump sees direct orders modified. The Washington Times. Retrieved December 1, 2019.
  22. Multiple references: See also: Subsequent developments:
  23. Multiple references: Specifically, actions related to China: See also:
  24. Multiple references: See also:
  25. Multiple references: Earlier that month, the Pentagon announced it would implement the policy: See also:
  26. Multiple references: Military service academies began implementing the policy:
  27. Multiple references:
  28. Multiple references:
  29. Multiple references: The Pentagon's implementation of the order: Later statements by President Trump:
  30. Multiple references: See also:
  31. Multiple references: Earlier articles: See also:
  32. Multiple references:
  33. Multiple references: The four memorandums:
  34. Multiple references: Specifically regarding North Korea:
  35. Multiple references: Implementation of the ban:
  36. Multiple references: Articles published shortly before President Trump signed the order: The Pentagon released its own strategy the following day: See also:
  37. Multiple references: See also:
  38. Multiple references: See also:
  39. Multiple references:
  40. Multiple references:
  41. 41.0 41.1 Multiple references:
  42. Multiple references: See also:
  43. Multiple references: See also:
  44. Multiple references: See also:
  45. Multiple references: See also:
  46. 46.0 46.1 Higgins, Tucker (May 15, 2019). Trump declares national emergency over threats against US technology amid campaign against Huawei. CNBC. Retrieved May 16, 2019.
    See also:
  47. Multiple references: Analysis and impact on Huawei: Huawei's self-estimated impact: The Commerce Department announced on May 20, 2019, that it would grant temporary exemptions to the blacklist: On August 19, 2019, the administration announced another 90-day extension for Huawei and added an additional 46 companies to the blacklist: On November 18, 2019, the Trump Administration announced another deadline extension for Huawei:
  48. Multiple references: See also: Details of the wider agreement:
  49. Multiple references:
  50. Multiple references:
  51. Multiple references: President Trump signed six determinations on this:
  52. Multiple references:
  53. Multiple references:
  54. Multiple references: See also:
  55. Multiple references: Statements by FCC Chairman Pai: The European Union began to adopt the U.S.'s tough stance on Huawei: See also:
  56. Multiple references: Earlier articles on this matter:
  57. Multiple references:
  58. Multiple references:
  59. Multiple references: See also:
  60. Multiple references:
  61. Multiple references:
  62. Multiple references:
  63. Wolfgang, Ben (March 20, 2019). Inside Trump's escalating war on terror in Africa. The Washington Times. Retrieved March 21, 2019.
    See also:
  64. Multiple references:
  65. Multiple references: See also:
  66. Multiple references:
  67. Multiple references: See also:
  68. Multiple references:
  69. Multiple references:
  70. Multiple references:
  71. Multiple references: Other statements by President Trump: Statements by other Trump Administration officials: Articles on the raid itself: Other results of the operation: See also:
  72. Multiple references:
  73. Multiple references:
  74. Multiple references: See also:
  75. Multiple references:
  76. Winkler, Rolfe (June 11, 2019). Chinese Cash Is Suddenly Toxic in Silicon Valley, Following U.S. Pressure. The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved June 11, 2019.
  77. Restuccia, Andrew; Volz, Dustin (July 30, 2019). Trump Calls for Voter-ID Laws, Use of Paper Ballots as Backup. The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved July 30, 2019.