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DOD Officials Say Budget Request Reflects Reforms, Pacing Challenge of China

June 24, 2021 | BY David Vergun , DOD News

Of the $715 billion Defense Department's fiscal year 2022 budget request, $5 billion will go to the Pacific Deterrence Initiative to answer threats from China and maintain U.S. competitive advantages in the Indo-Pacific region, the undersecretary of defense comptroller and chief financial officer said.

Mike McCord and Navy Vice Adm. Ronald A. Boxall, director of force structure, resources and assessment for the Joint Staff, testified today at a House Budget Committee hearing.

1:22:59

McCord said key enabling technology budget items that address the challenges from China include:

  • Artificial intelligence
  • Microelectronics
  • Hypersonics
  • 5G technology
  • Long-range fires
  • Space-based systems
  • Shipbuilding
  • Nuclear modernization

The budget also addresses persistent threats from Russia, Iran, North Korea and other transnational and non-state actors and supports the orderly and deliberate drawdown of U.S. military forces from Afghanistan, McCord said.

Due largely to the drawdown in Afghanistan, the Overseas Contingency Operations funding category will be terminated, he said.

A rocket sits on a launch site, as flames and smoke billow from beneath.
Dragon Spacecraft
The SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft sits atop a Falcon 9 rocket and prepares to lift off from Launch Complex 39A at Kennedy Space Force Center in Florida, as part of NASA’s Demo-2 mission, May 30, 2020. A similar SpaceX rocket will launch on June 25, 2021, carrying satellites into space for the Space Development Agency.
Photo By: NASA Screenshot
VIRIN: 200530-O-D0439-001A

McCord stressed the budget's reform aspects. He said four of the big ones are: investments to address the effects of climate change; investments to develop and field resilient, diverse and efficient energy-saving platforms; continued improvements on the annual department-wide audit; and divestiture of about $2.8 billion in older and less capable platforms that the DOD considers ineffective for winning in a future fight.

"Department leaders take very seriously the importance of being good stewards of taxpayer dollars, ensuring transparency," he said.

Two men in military uniforms stand on a ladder at the nose of an airplane.
Rapid Response
Airmen from the 912th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron secure the AGM-183A Air-launched Rapid Response Weapon Instrumented Measurement Vehicle 2 as it is loaded under the wing of a B-52H Stratofortress during a hypersonics test, Edwards Air Force Base, Calif., Aug. 6, 2020.
Photo By: Giancarlo Casem, Air Force
VIRIN: 200806-F-HC101-1004M
A man in a military uniform interacts with a computer system in the cockpit of an aircraft.
Computer Program
Air Force Lt. Col. Josh Linden, a C-130H Hercules navigator with the Connecticut Air National Guard’s 103rd Airlift Wing, programs the flight computer before takeoff. Flight computers such as the ones in C-130H aircraft are built with microelectronics, and the Defense Department must ensure those microelectronics are safe to use before they are installed in weapons systems.
Photo By: Marine Corps Staff Sgt. Hector de Jesus
VIRIN: 200514-M-PC554-039

Lastly, McCord said the budget invests in troops and their families, the department's most important resource, with a 2.7% pay raise request for military and civilian personnel and funds for health care, childcare and other people programs.

Boxall said: "The strategic landscape is rapidly changing. We are witnessing a fundamental shift in the character of war. In particular, China is increasing its military capability at an aggressive rate. We must ensure that we retain our competitive and technological edge against this pacing threat."

A rocket launches into space.
Historic Launch
A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket carrying NASA astronaut and retired Marine Corps Col. Douglas Hurley and fellow crew member Robert Behnken is seen launching from Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Fla., May 30, 2020.
Photo By: Courtesy: Bill Ingalls, NASA
VIRIN: 200530-M-M0231-203Y

He noted that China and Russia are fielding long-range and hypersonic weapons that are capable of threatening allies, partners, and U.S. forces.

Boxall said they're also fielding space-based weapons that could be used to destroy U.S. space capabilities, but he said  the budget request addresses those threats.