Biden’s budget cuts ships and planes, but huge increase in R&D
PENTAGON: First Biden administration’s defense budget calls for $ 715 billion for fiscal 2022, including $ 5.5 billion increase in research and development accounts and $ 8 billion cut in procurement , signaling a new emphasis on new technology at the expense of older programs.
Introducing the budget today, Deputy Defense Secretary Kathleen Hicks said removing old equipment would speed up the ministry’s modernization.
The budget “decrease[s] our reliance on vulnerable systems that are no longer suited to today’s advanced threat environment or that are too expensive to maintain, ”Hicks said. “Essentially, we are reallocating resources to fund research and development in advanced technologies such as microelectronics. This will lay the groundwork for commissioning a full range of capabilities, such as hypersonic missiles, artificial intelligence, and 5G. “
Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin teased the big plus-up in R&D yesterday, but falling demand for public procurement alongside billions in divestitures offered in services will be a major point of contention when lawmakers begin to mark demand this summer.
Increasing funding for R&D has been a constant trend under the Trump and Obama administrations, but it is frustrating that the majority of these investments have yet to produce systems that have been transferred to the deployed force.
“R&D records are no longer enough,” said Mackenzie Eaglen, resident researcher at the American Enterprise Institute. Diffusion of experiments is not “the solution to many DoD problems – it’s time to start moving programs to purchasing and production, beyond science experiments and prototypes,” he said. she declared.
The planned purchase of 12 Air-Launched Rapid Response Weapons (ARRW) hypersonic weapons by the Air Force represents one of the few bright spots in the transition from development programs to force.
The demand for ships, planes and troops from the Pacific to Europe and across the Middle East to meet the challenges presented by China, Russia and Iran has stretched the Pentagon, and its ships and planes more and more in need of repair or replacement. .
“It is clear from the continued high global demand that the Pentagon needs capabilities and capabilities,” Eaglen said. “Congress has repeatedly stated that one of the reasons it is resisting the cession of old systems is the lack of capacity to meet the needs of combatant commanders. This budget will be adjusted accordingly by the Hill. ”
But these divestments are coming – or at least they will be offered.
On the navy side, the service is launching the scuttling of two older cruisers, four Littoral combat ships – one of which is only 4 years old – and 55 F / A-18s in 2022, which would make it possible to ‘save about $ 650 million next year. Further divestments across the service would total $ 1.2 billion in savings, roughly the cost of a new Constellation-class frigate.
The military will get rid of just $ 47 million in equipment, while purchasing fewer helicopters and electronic warfare equipment than originally planned.
Requests for service provision have been dropped. The navy has shrunk by $ 2.7 billion; the Air Force fell $ 1.3 billion; and the military fell $ 2.3 billion.
The latest addition, the Space Force budget, is requested at $ 17.5 billion, up from $ 15.4 billion in 2021.
Republican Senator Jim Inhofe, a senior member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, and Representative Mike Rogers, a senior member of the House Armed Services Committee, called the request “wholly inadequate” in a statement Friday after. -midday. “Congress has the power of the stock exchange,” they continued, “and we will work with our colleagues to build our army with a sufficient line of defense that focuses resources on key Pentagon mission areas.”