The Pentagon has asked Congress for a range of advanced missiles, modern jets, state-of-the-art defense systems and more money to guard against threats from China in its biggest peacetime budget in history.
The $842 billion request includes $11billion for hypersonic weapons, $37.7 billion to modernize the nuclear arsenal and a huge investment in research and development to take on threats from adversaries including China and Russia.
$6.2 billion has been requested for a Columbia ballistic missile submarine, $28.8 billion on missile defense systems, an investment in space warfare and cash to bolster defenses in Guam and Hawaii – as Beijing bulks up its military and threatens Taiwan.
There’s almost $38 billion to buy new nuclear submarines, field the new B-21 stealth bomber and manufacture new ground-based intercontinental ballistic missiles
The huge Department of Defense blueprint would put the military’s annual budget over the $1 trillion threshold in just five years, its chief financial officer said Monday.
It’s the largest request since the peak of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars in the mid-2000s, when the weight of hundreds of thousands of troops deployed in those overseas conflicts ballooned overseas war spending.
There could be the largest pay raise for troops in more than 20 years, as the Pentagon faces problems with recruitment across all branches.
The budget could surge again to meet the higher cost of weapons and parts, but also to answer the vulnerabilities that the Ukraine war has exposed in the U.S. defense industrial base, and the strategic threat the U.S. sees from China´s rapidly growing nuclear arsenal, its hypersonic capabilities and its gains in space.
Even if it only grows to account for inflation, ‘the budget will hit a trillion dollars,’ probably before the next five years, Pentagon comptroller Michael McCord told a press briefing.
‘Maybe that´s going to be a psychological, big watershed moment for many of us, or some of us, but it is inevitable.’
While the number seems astronomically high, it is only about 3 per cent of the country’s gross domestic product. For comparison, during the Second World War the country was spending about one-third of its GDP on defense, McCord said.
The budget request is part of an overall $6.8 trillion spending proposal rolled out by Biden last week, which Republicans say they’ll reject.
But it’s not clear how they’ll act on the Pentagon proposal.