MARCH 25, 2023 – The fiscal 2024 defense budget request of $842 billion is needed to deter and counter the threats of today and the threats that may arise in the future, Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III told the House Appropriations Defense Subcommittee today.
Austin testified alongside Army Gen. Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and Michael J. McCord, undersecretary of defense (comptroller)/chief financial officer. All emphasized the budget request is tied to strategy and driven by the seriousness of strategic competition with China.
The fiscal 2024 request is 3.2 percent higher than last year’s actual budget and 13.4 percent higher than the request in fiscal 2022.
“I have three key priorities at the Pentagon: to defend our nation, to take care of our outstanding people and to succeed through teamwork,” Austin told the subcommittee. “[China] is our pacing challenge, and we’re driving hard to meet it. Our budget builds on our previous investments to deter aggression by increasing our edge.”
The budget calls for a more resilient force posture in the Indo-Pacific and increasing the scale and scope of exercises with U.S. partners. “This budget includes a 40 percent increase over last year’s for the Pacific Deterrence Initiative to an all-time high of $9.1 billion,” the secretary said. “That will fund a stronger force posture, better defenses for Hawaii and Guam, and deeper cooperation with our allies and partners.”
The budget looks to the future with the largest-ever investments in research and development and procurement. This includes $61 billion to sustain U.S. air dominance, including funding for fighters and the B-21 Raider strategic bomber unveiled in December.
The request also asks for $48 billion for sea power, including funds to build nine battle force ships, two Virginia-class attack submarines and one Columbia-class, ballistic-missile submarine.
“We’re also requesting $11 billion to deliver the mix of long-range fires that our security demands — including major investments in hypersonics,” Austin said. “We’ll also continue to modernize all three legs of our nuclear triad and bolster our strategic deterrence.”
The request of $33.3 billion is also the largest space budget in Pentagon history. This money will go to improving capabilities, resilience and command and control in space, he said.
DOD is requesting more multiyear procurement authorities and appropriations for critical munitions, which sends a consistent demand signal to industry. “We’re asking for more than $30 billion to further invest in the industrial base and to buy the maximum number of munitions that American industry can produce,” Austin said. “This budget also moves us away from aging capabilities that aren’t relevant to future conflicts so we can focus on the advances that warfighters will need going forward.”
Austin also addressed the “acute threat” of Russia.
By Jim Garamone , DOD News