On Friday, the Pentagon released its $715 billion budget request for the 2022 fiscal year, part of the $752.9 billion Biden is requesting for so-called “national defense.” The budget emphasizes research for new weapons technology, which the US sees as vital for competition with China and Russia.
In a statement on the budget, Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin named China as the Pentagon’s primary focus. “The budget provides us the mix of capabilities we need most and stays true to our focus on the pacing challenge from the People’s Republic of China,” he said.
The budget request asked for over $112 billion for research, development, testing, and evaluation, known as RDT&E. It is about a 5 percent increase from the 2021 budget and is the highest-ever request for RDT&E.
US military officials frequently say that investment in technology like artificial intelligence, robotics, space and cyber capabilities, and hypersonic missiles are needed to compete with Beijing in the coming years. Space Force’s top scientist recently said human augmentation to create super-soldiers should be embraced by the US.