Donald Trump seeks massive US military build-up, plan to defeat ISIS

Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump speaks in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Sept 7, 2016.
Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump speaks in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Sept 7, 2016.PHOTO: REUTERS

WASHINGTON (AFP) - Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump pledged on Wednesday (Sept 7) to massively increase US military spending, and said he would asked his generals for a plan to defeat the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) group within 30 days of taking office.

Speaking in Philadelphia, Mr Trump told supporters that the US military had become "so depleted" that it required a large-scale build-up, including troop increases and larger numbers of aircrafts and ships.

Taking a jab at Democratic rival Hillary Clinton ahead of their first joint event - a Wednesday evening forum on the president's role as commander-in-chief - Mr Trump called the former secretary of state "trigger happy and very unstable".

"Hillary Clinton's legacy in Iraq, Libya, Syria has produced only turmoil and suffering and death," he told the audience.

"Immediately after taking office, I will ask my generals to present to me a plan within 30 days to defeat and destroy ISIS," Mr Trump said.

"This will require military warfare, but also cyber warfare, financial warfare, and ideological warfare," he said.

Providing more nuanced detail than in the broad-brush rallies supporters have become accustomed to, Mr Trump outlined proposals for an active army of around 540,000 troops, an air force of at least 1,200 fighter aircraft, a 36-battalion marine corps and a navy of 350 surface ships and submarines.

"I will ask Congress to fully offset the cost of increased military spending. In the process, we will make government leaner and more responsive to the public," Mr Trump pledged.

"We will be defended because without defence, we don't have a country," he told the crowd.

Most national polls show Mrs Clinton leading as the US presidential race enters the home stretch, with just nine weeks until the Nov 8 election.

Mr Trump edged ahead of Mrs Clinton in a new CNN/ORC poll, by 45 per cent to 43 per cent among likely voters.

An NBC News poll of registered voters shows Mrs Clinton's lead holding at six percentage points - 48 per cent to 42 per cent.

Another poll, a 50 state survey by The Washington Post, showed Mrs Clinton with a solid lead in electoral college votes - the votes that ultimately determine who wins the presidential vote - even in some traditional Republican strongholds.