Defense Spending Priorities

Something else you may not have noticed. Last week the House passed a $768 billion defense appropriations bill. Connor O’Brien reports at Politico:

The House on Thursday easily passed a $768 billion defense policy bill that endorses a major budget boost, dealing the biggest blow yet to President Joe Biden’s Pentagon spending plans.

Lawmakers approved the National Defense Authorization Act in a 316-113 vote with broad support from Democrats and Republicans as momentum builds on Capitol Hill to add upwards of $25 billion to Biden’s defense proposal.

What did it include?

In all, the legislation would authorize $768 billion for national defense programs, including $740 billion for the Pentagon base budget — an increase of $25 billion from what Biden requested — and $28 billion for nuclear weapons programs under the Energy Department.

On the House floor this week, Armed Services leaders touted the legislation as a key step in shedding aging weapons and helping the Pentagon pivot toward emerging technologies that help match threats posed by China and Russia.

“Everybody here will find something that they do not like,” House Armed Services Chair Adam Smith (D-Wash.) said on the House floor. “But it is also the nature of the legislative process, in this case, that we have produced a product that everybody in this House can be proud of.”

The top Armed Services Republican, Rep. Mike Rogers of Alabama, added that the bill is “laser-focused on preparing our military to prevail in a conflict with China.”


The bill also would:

— Authorize $28.4 billion for 13 new Navy ships, including three Arleigh Burke-class destroyers and two Virginia-class attack submarines.

— Authorize the purchase of 85 Lockheed Martin F-35 fighters, matching the Pentagon’s budget request.

— Procure 24 Boeing F-15EX jets for the Air Force, double the number requested by the Pentagon.

— Prohibit private funding for cross-state National Guard deployment except for emergency or disaster relief efforts.

— Require generals and admirals to be out of the military for 10 years before they can serve as defense secretary, up from the current seven-year cooling off period.

— Provide a 2.7 percent troop pay raise.

$768 billion sounds like a lot of money and it is. It’s about 3.5% of GDP which is a lot less than it has been in the past but not nearly as much as some hawks in the U. S. think we should be spending. My priorities would be, well, different than those reflected in the article. I think we should be downsizing the Air Force, and the Army, sharply cutting the size of the general staff, and focused more on readiness, which has suffered somewhat during 20 years of continuous deployment and warfare, than on big ticket item spending.

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