Biden Administration Defense Spending Insufficient

As I noted in a recent piece, President Biden’s defense budget proposal — which, adjusted for inflation, cuts spending — falls far short of what would be necessary to deter and defend against military threats from Russia and China. That figure, according to a congressionally mandated commission that included Biden’s deputy secretary of defense, is something closer to 3–5 percent increases every year.

Senate Republicans, led by Senator Jim Inhofe, the ranking member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, are pushing back. “Together we will push back against the Biden administration’s insufficient topline defense proposal so we can continue to ensure that our service members have the training, resources, and equipment they need to complete the mission and return home safely – not to mention support for their families,” he said in a statement yesterday, introducing a resolution that calls for defense spending levels that would need the goals of the 2018 National Defense Strategy.

Biden has claimed to be serious about meeting the needs of 21st-century great-power competition, but his budget proposal sends a different signal, perhaps to placate progressive lawmakers who called for deep defense-spending cuts. The fight for adequate defense spending under this administration has only just begun.

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