| 23 May 2024, Thursday |

Biden wants $886 billion defense budget with eyes on Ukraine and future wars

With Russia’s assault on Ukraine driving calls for more armaments expenditure, President Joe Biden’s greatest peacetime U.S. defense budget request of $886 billion includes a 5.2% pay boost for troops and the largest allocation for research and development ever.

The Pentagon will receive $842 billion from Biden’s request, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Department of Energy, and other organizations will each receive $44 billion for defense-related initiatives. The proposed budget for 2024 has a total amount that is $28 billion higher than the $858 billion of the previous year.

Congress has signaled, as it often does, it will increase defense spending over Biden’s request during the months-long budget process that this request kicks off. The Senate and House typically pass bills setting policy and spending levels for the Pentagon much later in the year.

Congress and the administration both have an eye on a possibly prolonged war in Ukraine and potential future conflicts with Russia and China.

“Our greatest measure of success, and the one we use around here most often, is to make sure the PRC (Peoples Republic of China) leadership wakes up every day, considers the risks of aggression, and concludes, ‘today is not the day,'” Deputy U.S. Defense Secretary Kathleen Hicks said on Monday.

Relations between the United States and China have become highly contentious over issues ranging from trade to espionage as increasingly the two powers compete for influence in parts of the world far from their own borders.

“This top line request serves as a useful starting point,” U.S. Senator Jack Reed, Chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, said when the budget figures were unveiled on Thursday.

The Ukraine war has shown the U.S. military it needs to make bigger lots of certain types of munitions, helping to explain the multi-year contracts for weaponry that would potentially also be used in a military conflict with China.

  • Reuters