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News   Reform

DOD Leaders Make Case to Congress for Budget Request

March 12, 2019 | BY David Vergun
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Acting Defense Secretary Patrick M. Shanahan, Joint Chiefs Chairman Marine Corps Gen. Joe Dunford and Defense Department Comptroller David L. Norquist went to Capitol Hill to make the case for the Defense Department’s request for fiscal year 2020 funding. The department is seeking $718.3 billion as its part of President Donald J. Trump's topline request of $750 billion for national security funding.

Marine Corps Gen. Joe Dunford, Acting Defense Secretary Patrick M. Shanahan and David L. Norquist sit at a table.
Under the Lights
From left, Marine Corps Gen. Joe Dunford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff; Acting Defense Secretary Patrick M. Shanahan; and David L. Norquist, DOD's comptroller and chief financial officer, testify before the Senate Armed Services Committee on the fiscal year 2020 defense budget request at the Dirksen Senate Office Building in Washington, March 14, 2019.
Photo By: Navy Petty Officer 1st Class Dominique A. Pineiro, DOD
VIRIN: 190314-D-PB383-013Y

Shanahan told the Senate Armed Services Committee that the request represents the largest research, development, training and evaluation budget in 70 years. It includes increases in space and cyber investments, modernization of the nuclear triad and missile defense capabilities, and the largest shipbuilding request in 20 years when adjusted for inflation.

It also calls for the largest pay increase in a decade for service members.


Dunford noted that capabilities developed by China and Russia limit the U.S. military’s ability to operate freely in space, cyberspace, land, sea and air. The capabilities identified in the budget request are designed to allow the United States to project power when and where necessary to advance its interest in the context of that emerging threat.

Defense Department officials announced the details of DOD's fiscal year 2020 budget request March 12 at the Pentagon.

A Defense Department official briefs reporters at the Pentagon.
Pentagon Briefing
David L. Norquist, performing the duties of the deputy defense secretary, speaks to reporters about the Defense Department’s fiscal year 2020 budget request during a briefing at the Pentagon, March 12, 2019.
Photo By: Amber I. Smith
VIRIN: 190312-D-SV709-0321

Highlights of the $718.3 billion budget include:

Great Power Competition

The budget request reflects focus on the great power competition with Russia and China, as called for in the 2018 National Defense Strategy. The past two budgets did begin to focus on the NDS, but the greater focus was on replenishing depleted munitions stocks and addressing readiness concerns that were the result of sequestration.

Focus on Space and Cyber

Space and cyber are the two newest warfighting domains. They got a big boost in defense dollars: $14.1 billion for space, a 10 percent increase over last year’s budget, and $9.6 billion for cyber, a 15 percent increase over last year.

Cyber sine waves and soldier background
Electronic Warfare
Navy Capt. Sacarra Pusey, foreground, an electronic warfare officer, participates in a cyber event at Aberdeen Proving Ground, Md., Feb. 1, 2019.
Photo By: Photo illustration by Justin Rakowski, Army
VIRIN: 190301-A-VE095-276C
Jet flies through high above Earth
Falcon Flight
The Defense Advanced Research Products Agency’s Falcon Hypersonic Test Vehicle emerges from its rocket nose cone and prepares to re-enter the Earth’s atmosphere.
Photo By: DOD illustration
VIRIN: 180920-A-A4416-002C

In space, funds will go toward standing up the new Space Force, space communications, space-based warning systems and space launch capacity, and position, navigation and timing. Cyber funding will go to improved offensive and defensive capabilities, protecting the network and moving to a multi-cloud environment.

Multidomain Operations

Multidomain operations is a relatively new concept of the joint force. Future battles will be fought on land, at sea, in the air and in space and cyberspace, with allied troops operating together across all five domains in support of defeating the enemy.

Marines look at satellite dish
Satellite Setup
Marine Corps Cpls. Jordan Hoskison, left, and Jacob Jusczak, data system administrators with the 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit, set up a multimission terminal satellite on the flight deck of the amphibious assault ship USS Kearsarge in the Arabian Sea, Feb. 19, 2019. The satellite enables secure access to IP broadband networks and the establishment of command post communications from any location.
Photo By: Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Tawanya Norwood
VIRIN: 190219-M-YD783-1018C
Tactical vehicle moves through desert
Tactical Support
An electronic warfare tactical vehicle supports a training rotation for the Army’s 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, at the National Training Center at Fort Irwin, Calif., Jan. 13, 2019.
Photo By: Steven Stover, Army
VIRIN: 190113-A-PX639-919C

The budget request asks for funding for multidomain weapons and equipment upgrades. DOD has requested $2.6 billion for disruptive technologies such as hypersonics, $3.7 billion for unmanned and autonomous systems, $235 million for directed energy weapons, and $927 million for artificial intelligence and machine learning systems.

Bar graph showing funding for FY 2010 - FY2020
Department of Defense Funding from FY 2010 Through FY 2020
Graphic depicts Department of Defense Funding from FY 2010 Through FY 2020.
Photo By: Defense Media Activity
VIRIN: 190312-D-ZZ999-004
This graphic shows a graph with numbers
Defense Spending as a % of Gross Domestic Product (GDP)
This is a graphic showing defense spending as a percentage of gross domestic product.
Photo By: Defense Media Activity
VIRIN: 190312-D-ZZ999-001
This graphic shows two circle graphs showing funding by appropriation title and military department.
FY 2020 TOTAL Base and OCO Funding
This graphic shows DOD FY 2020 total base and overseas contingency operations funding.
Photo By: Defense Media Activity
VIRIN: 190312-D-ZZ999-003