U.S. President Joe Biden’s fiscal 2022 budget request asks for $753 billion in national security funding, an increase of 1.6% that includes $715 billion for the Defense Department.
The request, rolled out Friday, amounts to a slight decrease for the Pentagon when adjusted for inflation. It is also a little bit less than the Trump Administration’s projected $722 billion request for FY22.
“A chunk of this budget request, on the defense side in particular, is to pay for the pay raise for men and women in uniform, and then the civilians that support them; I think that’s something we could find support for on both sides of the aisle” an administration official told reporters on April 9th. “The focus will be on investments on nondefense, but also ensuring the Defense Department he can continue its strategic goals as we outcompete China, and as we ensure that the men and women in uniform have everything that they need.”
For the defense industry, budget documents teased an emphasis on shipbuilding, which dovetails with the Pentagon’s focus on China and Indo-Pacific.
This comes after Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley said he would advocate for “heavy investment” in sea-, air- and space-centric platforms, with “bloodletting” in other areas of the budget.
The budget’s main points are as follows:
- China is the top adversary and needs to be contained. The budget points to China as the “top challenge,” and calls out the need to “leverage” the Pacific Deterrence Initiative. It is likely that all of what U.S. Indo-Pacific Command head Adm. Phil Davidson has requested will be included in the budget request.
- R&D focus. Throughout the document, there is a focus on research and development for new technologies across the government. The budget request “prioritizes defense research, development, test, and evaluation funding to invest in breakthrough technologies that would drive innovation and underpin the development of next-generation defense capabilities.”
- Budget cuts are needed in order to make more money for R&D. The budget request supports the “DOD’s plan to divest legacy systems and programs to redirect resources from low- to high-priority programs, platforms, and systems. Some legacy force structure is too costly to maintain and operate, and no longer provides the capabilities needed to address national security challenges. The discretionary request enables DOD to reinvest savings associated with divestitures and other efficiencies to higher priority investments.”
- Shipbuilding as a priority. There’s very little specifics. the budget document proposes “executable and responsible investments” in the fleet, including “the recapitalization of the Nation’s strategic ballistic missile submarine fleet, and invests in remotely operated and autonomous systems and the next generation attack submarine program.”
Speaking to reporters, Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said “certainly shipbuilding is something the secretary is going to be focused on, with a mind towards making sure we have the right mix of capabilities now and into the future.”
- Nuclear spending is continuing. An early sign of what the Biden administration has decided to do: “While the Administration is reviewing the U.S. nuclear posture, the discretionary request supports ongoing nuclear modernization programs while ensuring that these efforts are sustainable.”
- Long-range weapons are needed. “The safety and security of the Nation requires a strong, sustainable, and responsive mix of long-range strike capabilities,” according to the document, echoing a major focus from the Pentagon as it moves toward its new joint war-fighting plan. The budget invests in “the development and testing of hypersonic strike capabilities while enhancing existing long-range strike capabilities to bolster deterrence and improve survivability and response timelines.”
- Biological threats. In the post-pandemic world, the DoD may play a major part in gearing the U.S. up for another biological threat. Biden’s budget will fund “programs that support biological threat reduction in cooperation with global partners, emerging infectious disease surveillance, biosafety and biosecurity, and medical countermeasure research and development.”
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