US military budget for 2022: new record possible
The United States has long and firmly ranked first in the world in defense spending. Their military budget, despite all efforts and restrictions, continues to grow. The current version of the bill on the military budget for the next financial year provides for a total spending of more than $ 800 billion. The bulk of this money, more than $ 760 billion, will go to the Pentagon; the rest will be distributed among other organizations.
US military spending has shown an upward trend over the past few years. So, in FY2020. total expenses amounted to $ 721,5 billion, of which approx. 690 billion was earmarked for the Department of Defense. This year, the Pentagon's budget was increased to $ 705,4 billion. More than 48 billion went to other structures, totaling total costs reaching $ 753,5 billion.
Work on a new military budget for next FY2022. started at the beginning of the current calendar year. In May, the administration of President Joe Biden submitted the first draft of the bill to Congress. According to this document, the Ministry of Defense should receive funding in the amount of $ 715 billion - $ 10 billion more than in 2021 FY. The estimated spending by other structures was reduced to $ 38 billion.Total, total defense spending should have remained at the same level - $ 753 billion.
The bill provided for a slight increase in spending on all main types of the armed forces, with the exception of the ground forces. It was planned to spend on the army approx. $ 173 billion, i.e. 3,6 billion less than in FY2021. At the same time, the budget of the Air Force grew to 156,3 billion dollars and increased by 2,3% in comparison with the previous period. It was proposed to spend 164 billion dollars on the Navy (up 0,6%), on the ILC - almost 48 billion (plus 6,2%). The record growth should show the budget of the newly created Space Forces. They are allocated $ 17,4 billion, which is 13,1% more than this year.
The budget suggested some organizational changes. Of greatest interest was the proposal to revise the maximum number of personnel in different structures of the armed forces. As a result of such measures, the number of servicemen should be reduced by 7 thousand people. At the same time, it is proposed to increase the number of civilian personnel by 9 thousand people.
The authors of the bill assume that such measures will not have a negative impact on defense capability. Moreover, additional civilian personnel will take over support tasks and the military will be able to focus on their service. At the same time, it is planned to obtain significant savings, since costs for civilian specialists are lower than for military personnel.
Record on the horizon
The May bill was not heavily criticized, and no drastic measures to cut spending were proposed during the first stages of its consideration. On the contrary, already at these stages there were proposals to increase the budget, mainly through the Pentagon. The corresponding amendments were submitted by the Senate Committee on Armed Forces in mid-July. It was proposed to spend another $ 25 billion on additional support for various projects and areas.
The authors of the amendment argued that it would help protect the nation from new threats, as well as support the armed forces in peacetime and on the battlefield. The proposed spending should be an additional contribution to people, platforms and infrastructure - with their help, the government will support the military and their families, as well as defense enterprises and their employees.
Most of the additional funds will go to expanding programs for the purchase of new types of weapons and equipment - mainly for the Air Force and the Navy. At the same time, the proposal of the Air Force to write off part of the A-10C and C-130 aircraft is canceled. Due to these measures in 2022 FY. It was planned to save 2,8 billion, but Congress considered that saving technology was more important than saving.
The development of promising areas is envisaged. So, for new projects in the field of space systems, microelectronics, etc. in total, an additional billion is allocated. DARPA will receive an additional $ 500 million to accelerate various projects. Another $ 268 million will be allocated for cybersecurity.
Not long ago, the House Armed Services Committee amended an up-to-date bill. They provide for an increase in funding for various programs, as a result of which the Pentagon's budget will grow by $ 23,9 billion. The amendment has already received the approval of the House, and has every chance of being included in the final version of the military budget.
If all the proposed amendments to the budget are adopted, then in the next fiscal year the Ministry of Defense will receive more than $ 760 billion. Together with expenditures from other departments, spending on defense will exceed 800 billion - and this will be a record. It is possible that not all of the proposed spending will be included in the final version of the budget, but in this case, the total costs will be higher than in recent years.
Battle for dollars
This time, the process of forming and approving the military budget is proceeding calmly and without scandals. The first version of the bill, proposed by the White House, was accepted by Congress quite calmly. The controversy began later, following amendments by the Committees to further increase the budget. At the same time, not only criticism sounds, but also constructive proposals.
The main reason for criticism is related to the latest events. The United States has completed its operation in Afghanistan, which frees up funds that could be redirected to various relevant programs. However, it turns out that they are not enough - and an additional increase in budgets is required.
Discussions of the bill again raise the question of the expediency of certain promising programs. Congressmen recall that in recent decades, the Pentagon has repeatedly spent billions of dollars on projects that did not lead to the desired results and then were closed. As such, a mechanism needs to be developed to prevent such events in FY2022. and so on.
In turn, defenders of the amendments point out that now the main task of the US army is to counter China and Russia. The confrontation with the developed powers poses new especially complex tasks, the solution of which cannot be simple and cheap. Accordingly, the proposed increase in the budget is justified.
Not so long ago, General John Haiten, deputy chairman of the JCS, revealed an interesting point of view on the problem of budget growth. He noted that the optimization of budgetary processes will keep spending at the same level and not resort to an annual increase of 3-5 percent. In this case, the budget will remain at $ 700 billion without any problems or restrictions.
In this context, several negative factors leading to budget growth were mentioned. First of all, this is the purchase of "unnecessary platforms for the army." In addition, if the military budget is not approved by the beginning of the fiscal year, the launch of payments to contractors can lead to additional unnecessary costs.
An obvious ending
The new 2022 fiscal year begins in the United States on October 1. This means that over the next few days, the draft law on the military budget will go through all the remaining hearings and approval stages, after which it will go to the president for signature and be adopted for implementation. Perhaps the disputes about certain of its articles will continue and even lead to some minor amendments, but fundamental changes are unlikely.
Thus, it is clear that the United States will again increase its defense spending and, most likely, a record will be set again. This time, the military and lawmakers are seriously "storming" the $ 800 billion barrier. Whether it will be possible to surpass it is a big question. However, a decrease to the previous 750 billion is also not to be expected.
- Ryabov Kirill
- The US Department of Defense
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