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FY 2021 DOD Budget Request Seeks 3% Pay Raise for Service Members

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President Donald J. Trump's request for $705.4 billion to fund the Defense Department in fiscal year 2021 prioritizes readiness and modernization, the strengthening of alliances, performance and accountability reforms, and service members and their families.

A row of sailors stand on the deck of a ship.
Manning the Rails
Sailors man the rails of the aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln as the ship pulls out of Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii, following a scheduled port visit, Jan. 14, 2020.
Photo By: Navy Petty Officer 3rd Class Tristan Kyle Labuguen
VIRIN: 200114-N-PW030-1200
A soldier hangs off the side of a helicopter door while another soldier looks in his direction.
Schofield Flight
An Army UH-60 Black Hawk flight crew supports the validation of air assault instructors at Schofield Barracks, Hawaii, Jan. 31, 2020.
Photo By: Army Sgt. Sarah Sangster
VIRIN: 200131-A-XP872-061C

The president released his fiscal 2021 budget request today. For those in uniform, the department has asked for a 3% pay raise across the board, along with increases to the allowances for housing and subsistence.

DOD also is seeking $8 billion for a range of programs to support military families, including professional development and education opportunities for service members and spouses, child care for more than 160,000 children, youth programs for more than a million family members and support to the schools that educate more than 77,000 students from military families.

A smiling airman wearing a medal shakes hands with his smiling daughter while hugging his son in a hangar.
Proud of You
Air Force Master Sgt. Jehu Forte shakes hands with his daughter Thalia, 7, as he hugs his son Abram, 6, after a ceremony awarding him a Bronze Star at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska, Jan. 8, 2020. Forte received the decoration for meritorious achievement for actions while supporting U.S. and coalition forces in the Middle East as a tactical operations superintendent and air advisor.
Photo By: Justin Connaher, Air Force
VIRIN: 200108-F-LX370-1606Y

Top priorities for defense in the budget request include nuclear modernization, missile defeat and defense, space and cyberspace.

For  fiscal 2021, DOD is asking for $28.9 billion to fund modernization of the nuclear defense program, covering all three legs of the nuclear triad: land, sea and air.

A large military ship is pulled through the water by a smaller ship.
Destroyer Pull
A tugboat escorts the guided missile destroyer USS Arleigh Burke out to sea as the ship departs for sea trials, Jan. 28, 2020.
Photo By: Hendrick L. Dickson, Navy
VIRIN: 200128-N-KP445-1136A

Around $7 billion is targeted at nuclear command, control and communications. Another $2.8 billion is earmarked for the B-21 Raider long-range strike bomber. The Air Force eventually expects to get some 100 of the aircraft, which will carry the B61-12 and B83 nuclear gravity bombs, as well as the long-range standoff cruise missile.

The request for nuclear modernization also funds procurement of the Columbia-class ballistic submarine at $4.4 billion, and the ground-based strategic deterrent at $1.5 billion. The GBSD is expected to replace about 400 existing Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missiles. 

DOD's request also includes $15.4 billion for the newly created U.S. Space Force, $337 million for the Space Development Agency, and $249 million for U.S. Space Command.

A rocket soars across a dark blue sky leaving a fiery trail behind it.
Launch Arch
An Atlas V rocket launches from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla., Aug. 8, 2019.
Photo By: Walter Scriptunas, United Launch Alliance
VIRIN: 190808-D-D0441-9991C

Defense officials said the research, development, testing and evaluation budget request is the largest in history, at $106.6 billion. Funding requests for hypersonics at $3.2 billion, microelectronics at $1.5 billion and artificial intelligence at $800 million highlight DOD priorities with regard to the great-power competition, Pentagon officials said. The request for hypersonics would be an increase of 23% over last year, while artificial intelligence would get a 7.8% bump.

Much of the budget request goes toward modernization.

A military fighter aircraft makes a turn against a blue sky.
F-35 Flight
An F-35A Lightning II joint strike fighter flies over Hill Air Force Base, Utah, Jan. 10, 2020.
Photo By: R. Nial Bradshaw, Air Force
VIRIN: 200110-F-OD616-0010A

In the air, the budget request seeks $3 billion for 15 KC-46 Pegasus tankers to replace aging Eisenhower-era KC-135 Stratotankers and KC-10 Extenders. The request also provides $11.4 billion for 79 F-35 Lightning II variants.

On the sea, the budget request would fund a new Virginia-class submarine at $4.7 billion and two DDG-51 Arleigh Burke-class destroyers at $3.5 billion.

Two wheeled vehicles set side-by-side inside the hold of a military aircraft.
Secure Vehicles
Joint light tactical vehicles are secured to a C-5M Super Galaxy cargo jet at Marine Corps Air Station Camp Pendleton, Calif., Oct. 3, 2019.
Photo By: Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Roxanna Ortiz
VIRIN: 191003-M-UH172-1407

On the land, the Army and Marine Corps would receive 4,247 joint light tactical vehicles at $1.4 billion, as well as $1.5 billion for modifications and upgrades to 89 M-1 Abrams tanks.

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