US President Joe Biden’s $ 715 billion Defense Department budget will shift funding from old systems to help modernize the nuclear arsenal to deter China, while developing future warfare capabilities, people familiar with the budget said. .
The defense spending request, to be sent to Congress on Friday, is expected to contain investments in troop readiness, space, the Pacific Deterrence Initiative aimed at countering China’s military build-up in the region, and nuclear weapons technology, the people said.
The budget request would buy ships, jets and pay for maintenance and salaries, but an additional $ 38 billion is allocated for defense-related programs at the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Department of Energy, and other agencies, raising the budget. of national security to $ 753 billion, an increase of 1.7% over 2021.
There will also be money to continue developing and testing hypersonic weapons and other “next generation” weapon systems, as the military aims to develop capabilities to counter Russia and China.
The president’s budget requests, including those from the military, are often a starting point for negotiations with Congress, which ultimately decides how funds are spent.
The Pacific Deterrence Initiative, created to counter China, focuses on competition in the Indo-Pacific and aims to advance US readiness in the region by funding radar, satellites and missile systems.
To pay for this, people familiar with the change said, the Pentagon is looking to ditch some of its older equipment with higher maintenance costs, including four littoral combat ships, several A-10 jets that provide close air support to troops. ground, as well as the number of KC-10 and KC-135 aircraft in the air refueling fleets.
Tensions with an increasingly assertive China are on the minds of American military planners. Beijing accused the United States last week of threatening the peace and stability of the Taiwan Strait after a US warship once again navigated the sensitive waterway.
The US Army’s goal for troops in the budget was lowered very marginally, the people said.
“We must modernize for deterrence to endure and, if confirmed, would seek to increase the speed and scale of innovation in our force,” Kathleen Hicks said in her testimony in February before being confirmed as Under Secretary of Defense.
Among the Pentagon’s competing priorities, the Biden administration will order 85 F-35 stealth fighters made by Lockheed Martin, the people said. The 2021 and 2020 presidential budgets called for 79 and 78 of the planes respectively, eventually, Congress authorized additional fighters. Senators and governors have come out to support the plane that has a huge industrial base.
The US Navy’s shipbuilding plan, released in the final months of the Trump administration, had 12 new surface combat ships for the 2022 budget. But Biden’s request has only eight new ships of war, the people said.
Despite reducing the numbers for older systems, the Biden administration will continue to invest in the modernization of the US nuclear triad, a costly undertaking that will cost an average of more than $ 60 billion per year during this decade and more than a trillion dollars in total, according to the Congressional Budget Office.
The funds will go towards upgrading nuclear command and control, as well as delivery platforms such as the Columbia Class nuclear submarine manufactured by Huntington Ingalls Industries and General Dynamics and certification to carry nuclear bombs aboard stealthy F-35 fighter jets. .