Biden’s defense budget aims to curb China, gives troops 2.7% increase


WASHINGTON (Reuters) – US President Joe Biden’s Defense Department’s $ 715 billion budget includes a 2.7% pay hike for troops and shifts billions of dollars in spending from old systems to help pay to modernize the nuclear arsenal in order to deter China.

FILE PHOTO: US President Joe Biden speaks about jobs and the economy at the White House in Washington, United States, April 7, 2021. REUTERS / Kevin Lamarque / File Photo

The FY2022 defense spending request, which was sent to Congress on Friday, invests in troop readiness, space, the Pacific Deterrent Initiative to counter China’s military build-up in Asia and nuclear weapon technology.

The budget request would buy warships and jets, and pay for maintenance and salaries. An additional $ 38 billion is earmarked for defense-related programs at the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Department of Energy and other agencies, bringing the national security budget to $ 753 billion, an increase of 1.7% compared to the 2021 figure.

There is also money to further develop and test hypersonic weapons and other “next generation” systems as the military aims to build capacity to counter Russia and China.

Presidential budget requests, including those for the military, are usually a starting point for negotiations with Congress, which ultimately decides how funds are spent.

The proposed salary increase for military and civilian workers in the Department of Defense follows a 3% increase for fiscal year 2021, which ends September 30.

More than $ 5 billion will be spent on the Pacific Deterrence Initiative, created to counter China and focusing on competition in the Indo-Pacific with the aim of boosting US preparedness in the region by funding radars, satellites and missile systems. Specifically, the Pentagon plans to increase its investment in missiles such as the Tomahawk and Standard Missile 6 from Raytheon Technologies to keep China at bay.

Tensions with an increasingly assertive China are on the minds of American military planners. Beijing last week accused the United States of threatening the peace and stability of the Taiwan Strait after a US warship once again crossed the sensitive waterway.

To pay for this change and things like a $ 112 billion research budget, the Pentagon is looking to divest some of its older equipment with higher maintenance costs.

The divestment of the military, navy and air force will total $ 2.8 billion in fiscal year 2022.

The retirements include four Littoral combat ships, 42 A-10 aircraft, which provide close air support to ground troops, as well as 14 KC-10 and 18 KC-135 aircraft in air-to-air refueling fleets.

Fewer M1 Abrams tanks manufactured by General Dynamics will be purchased, dropping to 70 from 102 in FY2021.

Among the Pentagon’s competing priorities, the Biden administration has requested 85 F-35 stealth fighter jets manufactured by Lockheed Martin. The 2021 and 2020 presidential budgets called for 79 and 78 jets, respectively, but Congress eventually authorized additional fighters. Senators and governors have come to support the jet, which has a huge industrial base.

The request increases funding for the US Space Force from $ 2 billion to $ 17.4 billion, but the US Navy’s shipbuilding request was for eight new warships against a plan for 12 under former President Donald Trump.

Despite shaving numbers from older systems, the Biden administration will invest $ 27.7 billion in modernizing America’s nuclear triad of land-launched nuclear missiles, nuclear submarines armed with missiles, and aircraft equipped with nuclear missiles. nuclear bombs and missiles.

The budget includes $ 617 million to prepare for, adapt and mitigate climate change.

Reporting by Mike Stone in Washington; Edited by Steve Orlofsky

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