- The Washington Times - Monday, March 28, 2022

The Department of Defense is asking Congress for $773 billion for the Pentagon in 2023, an increase of $30 billion from what President Biden asked for last year.

The Pentagon asked for more than $14 billion in added supplemental funding for projects such as resettling Afghan refugees in the U.S. ($4.3 billion), $6.5 billion for Ukraine military support, and $350 million for cleaning up Hawaii’s fuel-contaminated water supply.

The Air Force will receive the largest slice of the taxpayer-funded pie. Its budget will go from $220.6 billion this year to $234.1 billion in fiscal year 2023. Next year’s Navy budget will be $230.9 billion, an increase of more than $10 billion from 2022. Even the Army budget has jumped from $173.4 billion to $177.3 billion in 2023.

Pentagon officials said next year’s budget supports and implements the nation’s new National Defense Strategy: Recognize China as the nation’s key strategic competitor and acknowledge that Russia remains “an acute threat” to U.S. interests and those of its allies.

The 2023 budget request included $276 billion for weapons procurement, research and development. Pentagon officials said the figure is the largest in the history of the Department of Defense

Defense officials want $56.5 billion for airpower projects, such as F-35 and F-35 fighters and the B-21 bomber; $48 billion to construct nine battle force fleet ships and continuing funding for the Ford-class aircraft carriers; and $12.6 billion for Army and Marine Corps combat vehicles such as the Amphibious Combat Vehicle and the Optionally Manned Fighting Vehicle.

The Defense Department also is asking for $34.4 billion to modernize the nation’s nuclear triad by fully funding the Columbia-class ballistic missile submarine and ramping up production of the B-21 Stealth bomber. The budget also will seek to fully fund the Ground-Based Strategic Deterrent (GBSD) program, the replacement for the nation’s fleet of aging Minuteman missiles.

• Mike Glenn can be reached at mglenn@washingtontimes.com.

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