Biden unveils $813 billion spending request for defense, national security

President Biden
AP/Evan Vucci

President Biden is officially proposing $813.3 billion in defense and national security spending as part of his budget request for fiscal 2023.

The request, which was first reported late last week, comes as the U.S. looks to counter a long list of international threats, including China and Russia.

It also comes amid a push to modernize the military, including optimizing the country’s naval fleet, supporting Army modernization initiatives and investing in the development of hypersonic long-range strike capabilities to bolster deterrence.

“I’m calling for one of the largest investments in our national security in history, with the funds needed to ensure that our military remains the best-prepared, best-trained, best-equipped military in the world,” Biden said in a statement.

“In addition, I’m calling for continued investment to forcefully respond to Putin’s aggression against Ukraine with U.S. support for Ukraine’s economic, humanitarian, and security needs,” he continued, referring to Russian President Vladimir Putin.

The $813.3 billion request is more than $31 billion, or 4 percent, above the $782 billion in defense spending that was enacted in the $1.5 trillion government funding bill Biden signed earlier this month.

Biden is proposing $773 billion in discretionary spending for the Pentagon, a $69 billion, or 9.8 percent, increase from the levels enacted in 2021.

The president’s budget request is aimed at prioritizing countering China, the White House said in a fact sheet, referring to Beijing as the Pentagon’s “pacing challenge.” Washington has previously raised alarms about the rapid pace China has been growing some of its weapons capabilities, including hypersonic weapons.  

However, it also comes as Washington scrambles to help support Ukraine against Russia’s invasion, which is now in its second month. The budget includes $6.9 billion for NATO, the European Deterrence Initiative and for countering Russia’s aggression against Ukraine.

The budget is further aimed at countering threats posed by Iran, violent extremist organizations and North Korea, which last Thursday conducted its first intercontinental ballistic missile test since 2017.

Aside from international threats, the budget request includes a 4.6 percent pay raise for service members and the Pentagon’s civilian work force.  

The request also aims to support modernizing the nuclear triad, investing in cybersecurity for the department of defense and mitigating the impacts of climate change.

It further seeks to strengthen programs aimed at countering sexual assault in the military, including supporting the establishment of an Office of Special Trial Counsel in each military department for prosecuting handling of sexual assault, a hallmark provision of the 2022 National Defense Authorization Act.

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