Pentagon breaks down $842 billion Defense Department budget request
Pentagon breaks down $842 billion Defense Department budget requestMike Brest
March 13, 03:06 PM March 13, 03:06 PM
President Joe Biden unveiled his fiscal 2024 budget, which includes $842 billion for the Department of Defense and another roughly $44 billion for non-Pentagon defense spending, totaling roughly $886 billion, with Pentagon officials breaking down the details on Monday.
The request for Pentagon spending is a $26 billion increase from the $816 billion that was enacted in the 2023 budget, while this most recent request is slightly less than $100 billion more than the enacted 2022 defense budget.
BIDEN UNVEILS $842 BILLION DEFENSE BUDGET REQUEST FOR NEXT YEAR
The budget includes a record investment of $145 billion in research, development, test, and evaluation and another $170 billion for procurement, which is also the largest in history. It also includes $61.1 billion for air power to continue developing, modernizing, and procuring lethal air forces; $37.7 billion for nuclear enterprise modernization; $29.8 billion for missile defense; $13.9 billion for land power supporting modernization of Army and Marine Corps combat equipment; $11 billion for hypersonic weapons and other long-range missiles; $13.5 billion for cyber activities; and $1.4 billion joint all-domain command-and-control projects.
The budget also includes $9.1 billion in support of the department’s Pacific Deterrence Initiative, a 40% increase from the previous year, which aligns with the department’s belief, as outlined in the National Defense Strategy, that China is the military’s “pacing challenge” that has the ability and desire to change the international world order.
“To sustain our military advantage over China, it makes major investments in integrated air and missile defenses and operational energy efficiency, as well as in our air dominance, our maritime dominance, and in munitions, including hypersonics,” Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said in a statement. “This budget includes the largest ever request for the Pacific Deterrence Initiative, which we are using to invest in advanced capabilities, new operational concepts, and more resilient force posture in the Indo-Pacific region. It also enables groundbreaking posture initiatives in Guam, Mariana Islands, the Philippines, Japan, and Australia.”
Last month, the United States secured access to four more military bases in the Philippines, allowing for additional support for its allies in the region while also increasing Washington’s ability to monitor China.
The budget also seeks to have Congress fund for the first time multiyear investments in critical munitions — the extended-range Joint Air-To-Surface Standoff Missile, or the JASSM-ER; the Long Range Anti-Ship Missile, or LRASM; the Naval Strike Missile; the Advanced Medium Range Air-to-Air Missile, AMRAAM; and the anti-ship-capable SM-6 missile — which have been depleted due to the administration’s continued assistance to Ukraine as it fends of Russian aggression.
“For several of these and more key munitions like air-to-air missiles and heavyweight torpedoes, we’re looking to make unprecedented use of new multiyear procurement flexibility provided by Congress,” Deputy Defense Secretary Kathleen Hicks told reporters. “This will help us lock in critical investments, getting the most bang for the taxpayers’ buck, send industry a clear demand signal, and be even better prepared to respond quickly in future contingencies. When it comes to munitions, make no mistake: We are buying to the limits of the industrial base even as we are expanding those limits, and we’re continuing to cut through red tape and accelerate timelines.”
The budget would also include what amounts to the largest pay raise for service members in more than two decades, increasing their pay by 5.2% next year. It would be the largest increase since 2002.
It’s “inevitable” that the budget will surpass $1 trillion in a matter of years, Pentagon Comptroller Michael McCord told reporters.
“Just do the math. The budget will hit a trillion dollars probably before — even if it only grew 3% a year, the numbers are what they are,” McCord explained. “It’s inevitable. And I think … that’s gonna be a psychological, big watershed moment for many of us, some of us, but it is inevitable. And it just reflects the growth of the economy, among other things.”
While he acknowledged some aspects of what they wanted to do were left out of the budget, McCord said, “There are always things we could be doing more of,” and he pointed out that while the budget has ballooned, the percentage of GDP spent on defense has gone down over time.