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Hicks Provides Overview of DOD Priorities

June 8, 2021 | BY David Vergun , DOD News

The deputy defense secretary today spoke about a wide range of topics regarding Defense Department priorities reflected in the fiscal year 2022 budget request.

The $715 billion defense request is aligned to the National Security Strategy and the National Defense Strategy and is guided by DOD's priorities: defend the nation, take care of personnel and their families and succeed through alliances and partnerships, Kathleen H. Hicks told the Center for a New American Security.

Hicks said the budget provides investments to meet the challenges of China — which is a pacing threat — as well as Russia, Iran, North Korea and non-state actors.

An airplane lifts off from a runway.
B-52H Stratofortress
A B-52H Stratofortress assigned to the 419th Flight Test Squadron takes off from Edwards Air Force Base, Calif., Aug. 8, 2020. The aircraft conducted a captive-carry flight test of the AGM-183A Air-launched Rapid Response Weapon Instrumented Measurement Vehicle 2 hypersonic prototype at the Point Mugu Sea Range off the Southern California coast.
Photo By: Matt Williams, Air Force
VIRIN: 200808-F-GX031-1061C

The budget also reflects some of the tough choices the department has had to make, including lessening reliance on vulnerable systems, she said.

Savings from divesting in those systems will be reallocated to fund research and development in enabling technologies like cyber, long-range fires, microelectronics, offensive and defensive hypersonic systems, artificial intelligence and quantum science, Hicks said.

This budget includes the largest ever research development test and evaluation request at $112 billion, which includes $14.7 billion for science and technology, she said.

Investments also focus on U.S. manufacturing and innovation, especially in underrepresented populations and with small businesses, Hicks said.

A man operates a drone.
Drone Demo
Taylor Williams, the mission operations engineer with Anduril, explains the Lattice Platform Security System during a demonstration on Marine Corps Air Station Miramar, Calif., March 24, 2021. The drone is part of the collaboration between MCAS Miramar and SoCal Tech Bridge, which allows the station to utilize the autonomous technology enabled by artificial intelligence to further strengthen the base’s security and force protection capabilities.
Photo By: Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Cheng Chang
VIRIN: 210325-M-KE294-087C

Investing in people is also high on the list of department priorities, she said. "We prioritize growing our talent by providing pay raises for both military and civilian personnel, and we seek to make investments in the workforce where the department has critical demands, like cyber. The FY22 request also looks to build an increasingly resilient force, one that recognizes and embraces its diversity as a strength."

Hicks said another investment in people includes providing funding for the military health system and $8.6 billion for military family support programs.

Other budget priorities include combating sexual assault and harassment, rooting out insider threats and extremism in the ranks, addressing climate change, building energy saving platforms and diverse power sources, and defeating COVID-19, she said.