March 23 (UPI) -- U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis implored lawmakers to approve the Trump Administration's proposed $30 billion defense budget boost on Wednesday.
Speaking during a hearing of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense, Mattis said the additional funds for fiscal 2017 were necessary to ensure military readiness, suggesting key assets have been underfunded.
"[The spending increase is needed to] get our aircraft back in the air, our ships back to sea, and our troops back in the field with refurbished or new equipment and proper training," he said.
The defense secretary went on to make his case for additional spending by saying the United States is facing more hostile threats around the world, and more robust defense resources can help government leaders reach diplomatic solutions.
"Our military must ensure that the president and our diplomats always negotiate from a position of strength," Mattis added. "Global threats require a global response, applying the full weight of our own and our allies' power, allies which are also increasing their defense outlays."
President Donald Trump revealed his initial budget proposal to Congress at the end of February, which allocated a $54 billion increase in defense spending partially paid for by cuts to other federal services. Trump has claimed military readiness suffered under his predecessor.
Despite the spending surge for military services, the Trump Administration planned to strip funding for the U.S. Coast Guard. A bipartisan coalition of lawmakers on Capitol Hill blocked the move earlier this week.