Biden requests $715B for the Pentagon in his first budget

According to three origins familiar with the plans, American President Biden plans to request $715B for his first Pentagon budget, a 1.6% decrease from Trump-time spending trends.

On Friday, the White House plans to release an outline of the President’s spending priorities, including defense. The plan had been extensively expected in the first week of April, but its release was delayed in part amid disagreements over defense spending. Three people asked not to be specified because the budget is not yet public.

Two of the people said that the 715 billion dollars Pentagon ‘topline’ is expected to be presented as a settlement to Democrats pressing for cuts in defense spending, as some of the money would be slated for the environmental initiatives of the Pentagon.

Here is the more detail about what is in agency’s proposal.

Department of Defense Proposal

2021 Enacted

2022 Proposal

Change

Percent Change

$703.7 B

$715 B

+$11.3 B

+1.6%

 

A spokesman for the Defense Department referred all queries on the budget to the White House Office of Management and Budget. OMB spokesman did not have an immediate statement.

The Pentagon-only budget does not include defense-associated spending related to other agencies, principally to the Energy Department, which maintains the nation’s nuclear weapons.

According to one official, in a change from previous governments, President will also forgo labeling funding for present military actions as overseas contingency operations (OCO). Policymakers from both sides have criticized OCO as a slush fund of money that should be spent as a piece of the regular Pentagon budget.

The Trump government had prepared to propose about 722 billion dollars for the Department of Defense in the FY that begins October 1, although both parties’ legislators have predicted less would be available because of competing spending demands and rising deficits from COVID-19 relief packages.

Bolstering Cyber Defenses

The 715 billion dollars discretionary topline would amount to a decrease of about 0.4 percent in real terms, adjusting for inflation from 2021’s enacted appropriations of about 704 billion dollars.

That is in contrast to a push for a 3-5% real annual raises in national security funding first endorsed by Jim Mattis in 2017, then-Defense Secretary. The increases were also supported in 2018 by the National Defense Strategy Commission and a group of Republican defense hawks led by the top Republican on the House Armed Services Committee, Rep. Mike Rogers of Alabama.

The Ohio lawmaker wrote that while he is encouraged that the Biden government aims to support nuclear modernization, because of growing threats from North Korea, China, Russia, and Iran any defense cuts will be cause for concern.

The FY22 budget will be the first in almost twenty years in which defense and non-defense spending are not constrained by budget caps, meaning that U.S. Congress has an opening to shift funds from defense to non-defense or from non-defense to defense spending.

Congressional math is likely to prevent Democrats from taking a scalpel to the Pentagon’s budget. Senate committees are evenly split between Democrats and Republicans so that every proposal would attract Republican votes.

Biden requests $715B for the Pentagon in his first budget
Biden requests $715B for the Pentagon in his first budget
Source: Web

However, legislators on both sides of the aisle, including Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Jack Reed, and House Armed Services Committee Chairman Adam Smith have talked about bolstering cyber defenses and the significance of developing new technologies.

In March, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said that Joe Biden must boost defense spending to prove to GOPs that his government is serious about getting tough on People’s Republic of China.

He said if the government is serious about competing with China, deterring Russia and preserving US leadership, the most important test will be in the President Biden’s budget submission.

Read Also: Pentagon Ready to Go Greener Under President Joe Biden

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