Biden’s Pentagon budget request focuses on forward-looking R&D and investments


President Joe Biden is asking for nearly $ 112 billion in research, development, testing and evaluation for the Department of Defense – which he calls the biggest investment ever in RTD & E – in a budget that officials say budget, is skewed in favor of capacity building for the future at the expense of legacy platforms. .

Since Biden sent his meager budget for fiscal 2022 to Congress in April, lawmakers – Republicans, in particular – have worried about whether the Pentagon’s mostly flat overall figure of $ 715 billion was adequate, and have said that. complained that the late budget was delaying the authorization of national defense. Action process. In documents released on Friday, the administration revealed a budget to wipe out existing programs to boost forward-looking investments in technologies such as artificial intelligence, 5G and microelectronics.

“Critically, we are reallocating resources to fund research and development in advanced technologies such as microelectronics,” Assistant Secretary of Defense Kathleen Hicks said at a press briefing on Friday. “This will provide the basis for deploying a full range of necessary capabilities, such as hypersonics, artificial intelligence and 5G.”

While the responsibility for building the budget ultimately rests with Congress, Biden’s request tells the story of an administration focused on modernizing the Defense Ministry as China continues to fund investments in technology. peak. Some of the main key figures released on Friday include:

  • $ 112 billion for RDT & E, almost $ 5 billion above the level promulgated in 2021.
  • $ 14.7 billion for science and technology.
  • $ 2.3 billion for microelectronics.
  • $ 874 million for artificial intelligence.
  • $ 398 million for 5G.
  • $ 1.8 billion for the global positioning system business.
  • $ 10.4 billion for cyberspace activities.

Stan Soloway, President and CEO of Celero Strategies and a former senior manager of acquisitions at DOD, said Nextgov in an email, increased funding for research and development is “much needed”, but more work will be needed to remove barriers to entry for emerging technologies as the government is still lagging behind relative to the private sector in R&D spending as a whole.

The budget also includes a divestment of $ 2.8 billion from programs such as the Army’s Night Vision Imaging System, some Navy ships, and some Operations Command intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance programs. specials from the United States. But involving Congress in divestment can be a challenge. Soloway said eliminating existing programs was “one of the hardest things to do.”

At a House Appropriations Defense subcommittee hearing Thursday ahead of the budget relief, lawmakers, including Rep. Ken Calvert, R-Calif., A senior member of the subcommittee, expressed “serious concerns ”regarding some of the divestment plans. And the subcommittee chair, Rep. Betty McCollum, D-Minn., Pointed out that there isn’t even an agreed definition of what “legacy” means.

And leading Republican lawmakers on the House and Senate armed services committees complained that the budget would impose “impossible choices” between preparing today and modernizing tomorrow.

“Congress has the power of the stock exchange, and we will work with our colleagues to build up our army with a sufficient line of defense that focuses resources on key Pentagon mission areas,” said Senator Jim Inhofe, R-Okla., And the representative. Mike Rogers, R-Ala., Said in a statement Friday.

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