By C. Todd Lopez
WASHINGTON (May 27, 2021) -- The president's budget request for fiscal year 2022 is expected to contain $715 billion in funding for the Defense Department. DOD leaders have said they believe this is ample to accomplish things the department wants to do in the coming year.
While the full presidential budget request has not yet been made public -- that should come on Friday -- Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III and lawmakers were aware of the total dollar amount for the Defense Department.
"This budget provides us the ability to create the right mix of capabilities to defend this nation and to deter any aggressors," Austin said during testimony today before the House Appropriations Committee, subcommittee on defense. "It adequately allows us to begin to prepare for the next fight ... it in fact does provide us the ability to go after the capabilities that we need."
Within the FY22 budget, Austin said that the department has prioritized several capabilities to ensure future readiness and modernization of the force.
According to Austin, the budget invests in, among other things, hypersonic weapons, artificial intelligence, micro-electronics, 5G technology, cyber capabilities, shipbuilding and nuclear modernization.
"The budget also invests in efforts to counter the damaging effects of climate change and to be prepared for potential future challenges like another pandemic," Austin said.
Also in the budget, he said, is funding to help the department resist Russian cyberattacks, counter the threats from the ballistic-missile capabilities of countries like North Korea and Iran, and maintain troop presence and counter-terrorism capacity in both the Middle East and South Asia to counter threats from Iran, and terrorist groups like ISIS, Al Qaeda and al Shabaab.
The FY22 budget request, said Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark A. Milley, is appropriate to meet the Defense Department's needs.
"It strikes an appropriate balance between preserving present readiness and future modernization," Milley said. "It is biased towards [the] future operating environment and the readiness it's going to take in the future for this fundamental change in the character of war that we are currently undergoing."
Milley told lawmakers it's imperative that the level of funding for modernization for advanced technologies such as hypersonics, precision munitions, robotics and artificial intelligence, continues to be funded as it has been in the FY22 budget for the long-term.
"If we do not put a lot of money towards those [advanced technologies] and develop them to a level of capability to deploy in our joint force, then we will be at a significant disadvantage to those countries that do develop them," he said. "China is investing heavily in all of those capabilities. We need to definitely do that, [and] this budget does a lot of that. It will have to be a sustained level of effort over many years. But it's critical to the defense of the United States that we invest in advanced technologies.