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13 Mar 23. White House asks for $11bn more for Navy, Marine Corps spending.
The Navy and Marine Corps’ budget would grow by more than $11bn next year, the most of any of the military services, under the Biden administration’s new $842bn defense spending plan, according to budget documents from the White House’s Office of Management and Budget.
The Navy and Marine Corps’ budget would increase from the $244.7bn Congress enacted for fiscal 2023 to nearly $256bn in the next fiscal year. The new money would fund improvements to shipyards, submarines and upgrades to the fleet to make ships more lethal and survivable.
“The budget proposes executable and responsible investments in the U.S. Navy fleet,” the White House said in a budget overview document released last week. “The budget also continues the recapitalization of the nation’s strategic ballistic missile submarine fleet while investing in the submarine industrial base.”
While the White House announced the Defense Department’s overall request March 9, the Pentagon is not slated to reveal details of its budget, including specifics on programs, procurement or research and development, until Monday. However, supplemental documents posted online by OMB and reviewed by Defense News offer an early look at some of those plans.
In a message to Congress accompanying the administration’s request last week, Biden emphasized the budget’s focus on developing deeper partnerships with U.S. allies and maintaining military advantage over China.
The budget “outlines crucial investments to out-compete China globally and to continue support for Ukraine in the face of unprovoked Russian aggression,” he wrote.
According to the OMB documents, the Navy’s proposed budget increase includes about $27bn for Navy research and development efforts and a combined $77bn for Navy and Marine Corps procurement. While the documents don’t offer programmatic details, a White House overview document highlights continued investment in “recapitalization and optimization” of Navy shipyards to meet future maintenance requirements for submarines and carriers.
The Air Force and Space Force’s funding would increase from a combined $249.7bn to $259.4bn, and the Army’s budget would remain relatively flat at more than $185 bn.
The Air Force’s budget request includes “pass-through” funding for other agencies the service doesn’t control. It also proposes more than $30 bn for the Space Force — a 13% increase from Congress’s fiscal 2023 appropriations.
The Air Force request would fund “procurement of a mix of highly capable crewed aircraft while continuing to modernize the fielded fighter bomber, mobility and training aircraft,” the White House overview notes, adding the budget includes a focus on space resilience.
Nearly $16bn of the Army’s fiscal 2024 budget request would go toward research and develop projects and about $23bn would pay for procurement. That funding would support “a modern and ready Army” as well as continued investments in the service’s Multi-Domain Task Force and long-range strike capabilities.
“The budget modernizes and expands the production capacity of the industrial base to ensure the Army can meet strategic demands for critical munitions,” the overview states. (Source: Defense News)
09 Mar 23. Biden proposes Pentagon spending increase with industrial base focus. Defense Department spending would surge to $842bn in fiscal 2024, up 3.2% over FY23, under the budget proposal released by the Biden administration Thursday.
The administration issued only limited details, but spotlighted $9.1bn in proposed investments for the Pentagon’s Pacific Deterrence Initiative, meant to bolster U.S. force posture in the region amid increasing tensions with China. The spending plan also includes $37.7bn for the Defense Department to continue modernizing the U.S. nuclear arsenal.
“This budget cements our commitment to confronting global challenges and keeping America safe,” President Joe Biden wrote in an accompanying message to Congress. “It outlines crucial investments to out-compete China globally and to continue support for Ukraine in the face of unprovoked Russian aggression.”
The budget proposal pledges $6bn to support Ukraine, though it’s unclear whether that money is for military or economic aid. That figure falls far short of the $113bn Congress allocated for Kyiv via emergency supplemental spending last year.
Pentagon officials are scheduled to discuss the details of the department’s budget on Monday. The White House proposal also vowed to optimize and modernize U.S. naval shipbuilding, but did not detail any specific dollar amounts.
The document stated that the budget “continues the recapitalization of the Nation’s strategic ballistic missile submarine fleet while investing in the submarine industrial base” and makes “meaningful investments in improving the lethality and survivability of the fleet, particularly improving undersea superiority.” That includes “the recapitalization and optimization of the four public Naval Shipyards to meet future submarine and carrier maintenance requirements.”
According to the administration, the budget also “invests in key technologies and sectors of the U.S. industrial base such as microelectronics, submarine construction, munitions production, and biomanufacturing.”
Funds allocated to the Energy Department will support “the strong technical and engineering foundation” for the trilateral AUKUS agreement between the United States, Australia and the United Kingdom, which the leaders of the three countries are expected to unveil in more detail in San Diego on Monday.
The defense spending proposal is expected to face harsh criticism from Republicans lawmakers, both for being too small to meet global threats and too large to meet deficit reduction goals.
The release of the White House budget draft kicks off the public debate over spending for the next fiscal year, which starts Oct. 1, and negotiating a full-year budget plan is expected to take months. Already, House Republican leaders have simultaneously promised to trim federal spending while boosting funding for national security needs, including the military.
House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., for his part, has vowed to cut at least $130 bn in non-discretionary spending, raising questions as to how the Republican-controlled House can accommodate a defense budget increase.
Some defense hawks, like House Defense Appropriations subcommittee Chairman Ken Calvert, R-Calif., have started looking at ways to squeeze savings out of the Pentagon. Calvert, for instance, has proposed trimming the Defense Department’s civilian workforce.
However, the Biden administration said its budget will “strengthen” the Pentagon’s “civilian workforce as a critical contributor to the nation’s security.”
The Senate’s No. 2 Democrat, Sen. Dick Durbin, of Illinois, on Wednesday, before the White House released the proposal, vented that House Republicans have not offered their own budget plan.
Republicans “want to cut spending, but they want to increase defense spending, and many of us have asked for more money for Ukraine, and we certainly are sensitive to the fact that we have to replenish our own supplies in the process,” Durbin said.
“They keep talking in generalities,” he added. “It’s time to establish what they can pass in the House of Representatives.”
Speaking Wednesday before the budget release, the Senate Armed Services Committee’s top Republican, Sen. Roger Wicker of Mississippi, said any openness to cut defense spending among Republicans is out of step with the majority of the party and suggested McCarthy would buck those views.
“He’s going to make the right decision for the future of our country, and it goes without saying you can’t accommodate two differing positions at one time,” Wicker said. “We are ready to defend our national security interests, and I am getting every signal that this budget will be inadequate and will need to be plussed up.” (Source: Defense News)
09 Mar 23. Statement by Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III on the President’s Fiscal Year 2024 Budget.
The Biden-Harris Administration today released the President’s Budget for Fiscal Year 2024. The Budget enables the Department of Defense to continue building a Joint Force that is the most lethal, resilient, survivable, agile, and responsive in the world and is guided by our three priorities of defending the nation, taking care of our people, and succeeding through teamwork.
“Today, I am proud to join President Biden in submitting the Fiscal Year 2024 Budget. The Fiscal Year 2024 President’s budget request, totaling $842 bn, is $26 bn more than the current FY 2023 enacted level and nearly $100 bn higher than FY 2022. This is a strategy-informed budget, based on priorities outlined in the 2022 National Defense Strategy. The budget prioritizes resources for critical investments enabling the Department to continue implementation of the National Defense Strategy, including building the right mix of capabilities to defending against current and future threats.
The President’s budget request provides the resources necessary to address the pacing challenge from the People’s Republic of China, address advanced and persistent threats, accelerate innovation and modernization, and ensure operational resiliency amidst our changing climate. This budget invests in taking care of our people with the largest military pay raise in over 20 years, and the largest civilian pay raise in over 40 years, both set at 5.2%. It also provides critical resources to promote the continued strength of our alliances and partnerships while strengthening our partnerships across America and unity within the Department of Defense.
This budget makes critical, targeted investments in the American people that will promote greater prosperity and economic growth for decades to come.
As the Secretary of Defense, my priority is defending America, and ensuring that our forces are ready, resilient and remain the world’s preeminent fighting force. I look forward to working with Congress to support the President’s request.”
The details of the Department’s request will be released on Monday, March 13.
For more information on the President’s FY 2024 Budget, please visit: https://www.whitehouse.gov/omb/budget/.
(Source: US DoD)
07 Mar 23. Office of Strategic Capital, Small Business Administration to Sign Memorandum of Agreement. The DoD’s Office of Strategic Capital (OSC) and the Small Business Administration (SBA) Office of Investment and Innovation (OII) announced intent to sign a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) March 10 at the South by Southwest Festival in Austin. This agreement will outline future OSC and SBA cooperation and builds off the announcement of the partnership on Dec. 3, 2022 for collaboration on the SBIC Critical Technologies (SBICCT) Initiative.
The SBICCT represents OSC’s first program initiative, a joint initiative with the SBA’s highly successful Small Business Investment Company (SBIC) program. It will increase early-stage investment in critical technology areas that require longer-duration, lower return “patient capital” to develop, such as semiconductors, advanced materials, and biotechnology.
The SBICCT Initiative is underpinned by new proposed SBA regulations for expansion of the SBIC program and introduction of a new financial instrument – the Accrual Debenture. This proposed instrument will better align with the cashflow requirements of startups in the hardware technology space and provide the “patient capital” required for these companies to become thriving, instrumental partners for the USG and DOD.
“Throughout its 65-year history, the SBA’s Small Business Investment Company (SBIC) program has seeded and scaled some of the most innovative and successful businesses in the world, said Bailey DeVries, Associate Administrator of the SBA’s Office of Investment and Innovation. “From semiconductors to personal computers to electronic vehicles, public-private SBIC partnerships have sparked the growth of new industries by growing startups and sustained small businesses fulfilling critical needs in our domestic supply chain and communities around the country.
“This agreement represents a natural extension of our longstanding partnership with the Department of Defense and a commitment by both of our agencies to be intentional in our efforts to commit capital and resources to private funds aligned to America’s national security mission.”
“The partnership with the SBA has been fantastic, we’ve been able to bring back the SBIC program for national security to make investment opportunities in early-stage technology companies and capital-intensive small businesses addressing today’s most pressing national security supply chain needs,” said OSC Director Dr. Jason Rathje. “By licensing new limited partnerships that are vertically focused on deep technology areas, we can leverage new investment funds to provide patient sources of capital for these critical technologies.”
The Office of Strategic Capital seeks to develop, integrate, and implement partnered capital programs to attract and scale private capital investment to meet National Security Strategy objectives. The SBICCT Initiative is the first of several tools the OSC plans to use to align and scale private capital towards national security objectives. (Source: US DoD)
07 Mar 23. SOCOM Transforming to Meet Current, Future Challenges. The Special Operations community is making progress in its transformation to focus more on the challenges of China and Russia while maintaining the expertise to mount counterterrorism operations worldwide, Chris Maier, the assistant secretary of defense for special operations and low-intensity conflict told the Senate Armed Services Committee today.
Maier testified alongside Army Gen. Bryan Fenton, the commander of U.S. Special Operations Command, and both men were upbeat in their appraisal of where the community is and how it will get to the next level.
While Maier is an assistant secretary, Congress gave his position many of the authorities wielded by service secretaries regarding special operations forces — or SOF, as it is often called.
DOD officials are all in on this aspect, and Maier noted that when the Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III calls a meeting of the service secretaries, he sits at the table, too.
“Sitting before this committee last year, I testified we were at an inflection point in SOF’s transformation to focus more on the pacing challenge of China and the acute threat posed by Russia, while maintaining enduring capabilities to counter violent extremist organizations, address Iran’s destabilizing behavior and conduct no-fail crisis response around the globe,” Maier said.
The assistant secretary stressed that special operations forces are not separate from the rest of the military, and they are pulling their weight in support of the National Defense Strategy.
“We are transforming the SOF enterprise to achieve the goals of the NDS,” he said. “While SOF’s role in counterterrorism is widely understood and appreciated, my team and I work daily to ensure the value proposition of SOF in integrated deterrence and campaigning against strategic competitors is accounted for and incorporated into the department’s processes.”
One way is to exploit the deep relationships special operators have forged with allies and partners over the last two decades of conflict in Afghanistan, Iraq, Africa and Asia. This “has produced an international SOF enterprise that provides us unique, firsthand understanding of the global operating environment,” he told the senators. “It also has enhanced the resilience of our allies and partners to resist aggression.”
These relationships and the U.S. military’s unique ability to deploy and sustain forces to some of the most difficult locations in the world mean special operations forces formations “provide unique access and placement that create options for our nation’s leaders, and SOF is adept at creating dilemmas for our adversaries,” he said.
He noted the years of training special operations forces provided the Ukrainian forces, which transformed that nation’s military into a highly capable force “that is consistently outperforming Russia on the battlefield today,” Maier said.
Maier has also worked to guide special operations forces, writ large. “We have established over the last year in the department a series of recurring processes and delivered key outcomes for the SOF enterprise,” he said. “For example, the Special Operations Policy Oversight Council, which I chair, provides a senior-level forum to address SOF-unique challenges across the department. We also have made progress on important initiatives to deter our adversaries and fill warfighting gaps, especially on irregular warfare and information operations.”
He noted his office played a central role in DOD’s landmark civilian harm and mitigation response action plan.
But everything in special operations goes back to the first “truth” of the community: Humans are more important than hardware. “None of our efforts possible without our most important resource, our people,” he said. “We continue to evolve the force and address SOF-unique challenges to optimize physical, psychological, social, spiritual, and now cognitive performance.”
Maier said a diverse force is a necessity. Removing barriers to participation and advancement in the community is “an operational imperative if we are to succeed in an ever more complex geopolitical environment,” he said.
Fenton said special operations forces remain a national advantage in this decisive era defined by the strategic competition with China and Russia. Those two nations seek to reshape the rules-based international order, he said. “In response, your special operations forces strengthen and sustain deterrence globally as part of the Department of Defense’s approach to integrated deterrence,” the general said.
Special operations forces really grew out of the cauldron of combat in World War II and they matured through the Cold War and proved their worth in the conflicts since the attacks of September 11, 2001. “Now drawing upon our 20-plus years of hard-won combat credibility and coalition experience, your SOF provides creative tailorable and asymmetric options for our nation, while creating dilemmas for our competitors,” Fenton said to the senators. “And as part of the broader joint force, we campaign every day, to deter and prevent aggression, counter coercion, close warfighting gaps and tackle shared challenges alongside allies and partners.” (Source: US DoD)
06 Mar 23. Neo-Nazi plot to attack US overseas military base underscores risk of attacks. On 3 March, a former private in the US Army’s 173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team was sentenced after conspiring with a neo-Nazi group to plot a mass casualty attack against US servicemembers overseas. His charges included providing material support to terrorists and transmitting national defence information. The plot sought to attack a US army base in Turkey, where he was to be deployed, with the intention of provoking the US into a foreign war. The radical neo-Nazi group Order of the Nine Angles seeks to use extreme violence to accelerate the downfall of Western governance. There has been an uptick in activity by alt-right accelerationist groups, including chatter on Telegram to carry out attacks on the US energy grid. The plot underscores a sustained risk of attacks amid concerns of radicalised individuals in the armed forces or law enforcement, where access to arms and sensitive information could facilitate such attacks. (Source: Sibylline)
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