The White House
Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate ReleaseDecember 12, 2017
Remarks by President Trump at Signing of H.R. 2810, National Defense
Authorization Act for FY2018
12:03 P.M. EST
THE PRESIDENT: Thank you very much. Mr. Vice President, Secretary Mattis,
General Dunford, senior military leaders, and distinguished guests, thank
you all for being here as we prepare to sign something that is extremely
important: the National Defense Authorization Act. We’re signing it into
This historic legislation demonstrates our unwavering commitment to our men
and women in uniform — the greatest fighting force in the history of the
world. And we’re making it a lot better than even that.
Before we begin, I want to address the terrorist attack that took place
yesterday in New York City, and to praise the first responders, local
police, and federal law enforcement for their quick action. They did an
There have now been two terrorist attacks in New York City in recent weeks
carried out by foreign nationals, here on green cards. The first attacker
came through the visa lottery and the second through chain migration. We’re
going to end both of them. The lottery system and chain migration — we’re
going to end them fast.
Congress must get involved immediately, and they are involved immediately,
and I can tell you we have tremendous support. They will be ended.
These attacks underscore the dangers we face from around the globe. The
National Defense Authorization Act could not come at a more opportune or
important time. This legislation represents a momentous step toward
rebuilding our military and securing the future for our children. I applaud
the work of the members of both parties who came together to pass the
National Defense Authorization Act, which passed with overwhelming
bipartisan support — something that sounds very nice to my ears.
I especially want to thank Chairman Thornberry, who is here with us today,
for his tireless efforts. Fantastic job.
In recent years, our military has undergone a series of deep budget cuts
that have severely impacted our readiness, shrunk our capabilities, and
placed substantial burdens on our warfighters. And great warfighters they
History teaches us that when you weaken your defenses, you invite
aggression. The best way to prevent conflict or be — of any kind — is to
be prepared, and really be prepared. Only when the good are strong will
Today, with the signing of this defense bill, we accelerate the process of
fully restoring America’s military might. I also want to thank Senator John
McCain for the work he’s done on this bill. He has fought very, very hard
to make it just the way he wants it and that we all want it.
This legislation will enhance our readiness, expand our modernized — and
modernize our forces, and help provide our servicemembers with the tools
that they need to fight and to win. We will fight and win. But hopefully,
with this, we won’t have to fight because people will not be wanting to
fight with us.
It authorizes funding for our continued campaign to obliterate ISIS. As you
know, we’ve won in Syria, we’ve won in Iraq. But they spread to other areas
and we’re getting them as fast as they spread.
We’ve had more success with ISIS in the last eight months than the entire
previous administration has had during its entire term.
It approves missile defense capabilities as we continue our campaign to
create maximum pressure on the vile dictatorship in North Korea. We’re
working very diligently on that — building up forces. We’ll see how it all
turns out. It’s a very bad situation — a situation that should have been
handled long ago by other administrations.
It upgrades our Ground Combat Vehicles, allows for the purchase of new
Joint Strike Fighter aircraft, and paves the way for beautiful new
Virginia-class submarines — the finest in the world.
Finally, the defense bill authorizes major investments in our military’s
greatest weapon of all: its warriors. The NDAA increases the size of the
American Armed Forces for the first time in seven years, and it provides
our military servicemembers with their largest pay increase in eight years.
Now Congress must finish the job by eliminating the defense sequester and
passing a clean appropriations bill. I think it’s going to happen. We need
our military. It’s got to be perfecto.
At this time of grave global threats, I urge Democrats in Congress to drop
their shutdown threats and descend clean funding and a clean funding bill
to my desk that fully funds our great military. Protecting our country
should always be a bipartisan issue, just like today’s legislation.
We must work across party lines to give our heroic troops the equipment,
resources, and support that they have earned a thousand times over.
Together, we will send a clear message to our allies and a firm warning to
our enemies and adversaries: America is strong, proud, determined, and
ready. And I might add, when we’re completed — and it won’t be that long
— we will be stronger than ever before — by a lot.
So thank you to all of our friends in Congress. And we do appreciate the
bipartisan support, and we appreciate your hard work on this historic
And thank you, most of all, to our brave warriors for standing watch over
our country, our families, and our freedom. Brand-new, beautiful equipment
is on its way — the best you’ve ever had by far. We make the best in the
world, and you’re going to have it.
God bless you, God bless our military, and God bless America. Thank you
very much. Thank you.
I won’t be showing all of this to everybody, believe it or not. That’s a
lot of pages. That is a lot of pages.