This year's $773 billion presidential budget request for the Defense Department uses three approaches to support the nation's defense strategy, which was transmitted to Congress in March, said Deputy Defense Secretary Kathleen H. Hicks, during a keynote address Friday at the Reagan Institute.
Those three approaches include integrated deterrence, campaigning and building an enduring advantage.
Integrated deterrence has been a main talking point for Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III since he took office in January 2021. Integration means all domains, including conventional, nuclear, cyber, space and the information domain. Integrated deterrence also includes the use of all instruments of national power — not just the military — as well as leaning on partnerships with American allies and partners.
"We seek to network our efforts across domains, theaters and the spectrum of conflict to ensure that the U.S. military, in close cooperation with the rest of the U.S. government and our allies and partners, makes the folly and costs of aggression very clear," said Hicks. "The combat credibility of the U.S. military to fight and win is the cornerstone of integrated deterrence — that is why our top-line request for [Fiscal Year 2023] includes $276 billion for procurement and for research, development, test and evaluation."
The second approach to pursing the objectives of the National Defense Strategy is campaigning, where the United States will operate forces, synchronize broader Department efforts and align Department activities with other instruments of national power, to undermine competitor coercion, complicate competitors' military preparations, and develop U.S. warfighting capabilities together with allies and partners.
"Readiness for the threats of today is central to campaigning," Hicks said. "Which is why we invest almost $135 billion in military readiness. And while we maintain the ability to respond across the globe, our campaigning efforts will be focused on the Indo-Pacific and Europe."
As part of the Pacific Deterrence Initiative and other regionally focused efforts, Hicks said, the Department will continue to make investments that support the U.S. comparative military advantage and bolster its posture and logistics in the Indo-Pacific region.
Regarding Europe, the FY 2023 budget request supports the European Deterrence Initiative, U.S. European command, and the U.S. commitment to NATO.
"America's ongoing support to the people of Ukraine exemplifies these priorities in Europe," Hicks said.
Since Russia's invasion of Ukraine on Feb. 24, the U.S. has delivered over $3 billion in aid to Ukraine. The president has asked for an additional $33 billion of assistance for Ukraine, $16 billion of which will be for the Department of Defense, Hicks said.
A third approach to pursing the objectives of the National Defense Strategy is the building of an enduring advantage for the joint force involves. That means undertaking reforms that accelerate force development, getting needed technology more quickly, and making investments in the Department's most valuable resource — it's people.
"This requires us to invest in our people, like providing the largest pay raise in 20 years to our military personnel, investing in affordable childcare and ensuring their food and housing security," Hicks said.
Beyond people, building an enduring advantage for the joint force also means ensuring service members have the right tools — the best tools — to do their jobs, Hicks said. In the FY2023 budget, some $130 billion has been marked for RDT&E — which is the largest request ever.
"Our budget requests makes the critical investments we need to defend our nation," Hicks said. "But our security depends on more than just dollars. We must outperform and out innovate would-be threats. This means making sure that at the Department we knock down barriers that stymie innovative thinking. Simultaneously, DOD faces external barriers to innovation, like delays in annual appropriations. Moving forward, both inside and outside the five sides of the Pentagon, we must work to find solutions to problems such as these to realize the concepts and capabilities that this century demands."