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9 Mar, 2023 20:20

Biden proposes largest military budget in history

The spending hike is aimed at countering China and overhauling America’s nukes
Biden proposes largest military budget in history

US President Joe Biden’s 2024 budget would increase military spending to a record $842 billion, according to information released by the White House on Thursday. The US already spends more on its military than the next nine nations combined.

According to a White House statement, the budget will include a $9.1 billion investment in the Pentagon’s Pacific Deterrence Initiative, which is aimed at bolstering the US’ presence in the Pacific region as a counter to China. Modernization of the US’ nuclear arsenal will add another $37.7 billion to the budget, while an unknown amount will be spent on shipbuilding and investments in “key technologies.”

A separate statement from the White House mentions that Biden’s budget will include $6 billion for Ukraine, although it is unclear which government department this will come from. The statement on military expenditure only makes a vague reference to continuing “support for Ukraine.”

While no further details were released to the public, the total cost will add up to $842 billion, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said in a statement. This represents an increase of $26 billion over last year, and nearly $100 billion over 2021.

It is unclear what areas of the military have been highlighted for spending cuts. The budget will also likely be rewritten several times in the coming months, as it needs the support of the Democrat-controlled Senate and the Republican-held House of Representatives to become law.

Neither side has signaled that they oppose the military spending hike, although House Speaker Kevin McCarthy has promised to trim $130 billion from the entire federal budget in a bid to reduce the US’ $31 trillion national debt.

The US spent more on its military in 2021 than the next nine nations combined, according to the most recent figures from the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute. The US’ 2022 military budget is counted as 2021 expenditure by the institute.

The institute noted that despite the military’s budget increasing every year since 2015 and more than doubling since 2002, successive US administrations have cut funding for arms procurement by 6.4% between 2012 and 2021, and 5.4% between 2020 and 2021. The consequences of this can be seen in recent reports highlighting how the US effort to arm Ukraine has left stockpiles depleted at home. 

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