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Trump signs $716 bil. defense bill to modernize military

U.S. President Donald Trump signs the John McCain National Defense Authorization Act for the Fiscal Year 2019, during a signing ceremony on Aug. 13, 2018, in Fort Drum, N.Y. (AP Photo/Hans Pennink)

WASHINGTON (Kyodo) -- U.S. President Donald Trump on Monday signed into law a $716 billion defense spending bill to modernize the military and increase service people's salary.

The spending for fiscal 2019 starting in October "is the most significant investment in our military and our warfighters in modern history," Trump said as he signed the bill at the U.S. Army's Fort Drum base in New York.

It authorizes spending for 77 F-35 fighter jets, 13 new battle force ships and other assets, as well as an increase of 15,600 troops across the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps, according to the White House.

Trump said the United States is carrying out "a major upgrade" of missile defense and spending "a tremendous amount of money" to modernize the nuclear arsenal.

"We will replace aging tanks, aging planes and ships with the most advanced and lethal technology ever developed," he said.

"And hopefully we'll be so strong we'll never have to use it. But if we ever did, nobody has a chance."

The measure will also boost military pay by 2.6 percent, the largest increase in nine years, the White House said.

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