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Norquist: Budget Request Represents 'Next Step' in Implementing Defense Strategy

Feb. 10, 2020 | BY C. Todd Lopez , DOD News

The Defense Department's $705.4 billion budget request for fiscal year 2021 focuses on preparing the U.S. military for all-domain, "high-end" warfare, Deputy Defense Secretary David L. Norquist told reporters at the Pentagon.

"The FY2021 budget request is the next step in implementing the National Defense Strategy and focuses on all-domain operations," Norquist said during a briefing today at the Pentagon.

The budget request aims to sustain readiness, recapitalize U.S. nuclear deterrence capabilities, strengthen homeland missile defense and expand investment in hypersonic weapons, artificial intelligence and autonomous platforms, Norquist said.

An Air Force cadet looks through a tube.
Tunnel Trials
Air Force Cadet 2nd Class Eric Hembling uses a Ludwieg tube, a type of wind tunnel, to measure the pressures, temperatures and flow fields of basic geometric and hypersonic research vehicles at the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colo., Jan. 31, 2019.
Photo By: Joshua Armstrong, Air Force
VIRIN: 190131-F-NH566-0001Y

"In short, this budget invests in bringing the capabilities of tomorrow to life," he added. "The result is a budget that puts us on a path to develop a future force that will prevail in each and every domain — air, land and sea, space and cyber — leveraging the capabilities of each in a synchronized fashion while fighting seamlessly across them all."

Acting Defense Department Comptroller Elaine McCusker said the budget provides funding to support three lines of effort, including building a more lethal, resilient, agile and ready joint force; strengthening alliances and attracting new partners; and reforming for greater performance and affordability. The 2021 budget request also focuses on service members and their families, she said.

Two people, one civilian and one military, sit behind a desk and talk to reporters.
Pentagon Briefing
Elaine McCusker, acting undersecretary of defense (comptroller) and Navy Vice Adm. Ron Boxall, the Joint Staff's director for force structure, resources and assessment, brief reporters on the president's fiscal 2021 defense budget request at the Pentagon, Feb. 10, 2020.
Photo By: Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class James Lee
VIRIN: 200210-D-WA993-2223

"The budget we are submitting today builds on the last four years by continuing our focus on the National Defense Strategy priorities of nuclear modernization and homeland defense, and while refining our focus on the cyber and space warfighting domains and joint enablers for all domain operations," McCusker said. "We will keep our attention on long-term sustainable readiness while we shed non-core functions and better align resources to save money, manpower and time for lethality."

In addition to requesting a 3% pay raise for service members, the  fiscal 2021 budget request seeks $28.9 billion for nuclear modernization, $20.3 billion for missile defeat and defense, $18 billion for space and $9.8 billion for cyberspace activities.

View of Titan II missile from above the silo.
Missile Silo
A Titan II missile in a silo at the Titan Missile Museum in Green Valley, Ariz.
Photo By: Courtesy photo
VIRIN: 080514-O-ZZ999-444

It also includes the largest research, development, testing and evaluation request in more than 70 years. For that effort, the department is asking for $3.2 billion for hypersonic weapons; $1.5 billion for microelectronics; $1.7 billion for autonomy — which enhances speed, maneuverability and lethality in contested environments and develops human/machine teaming — and $800 million for artificial intelligence.