The D Brief: 2022 budget deets; Service shares largely unchanged; Russia’s latest hack; Iraqi militia drones; And just a bit more...
2022 budget proposal would trade current arms for future ones: “The Biden administration is proposing cuts to the military’s ranks and arsenals in an effort to invest in a new generation of high-tech weapons to counter China,” Defense One’s Marcus Weisgerber reported Friday. “In a $715 billion spending plan sent to Congress Friday, the Biden administration proposes sidelining ships and hundreds of aircraft to pay for fast-flying hypersonic missiles and newer generation warships.”
A real decline. The request is $11 billion more than the $704 billion Congress enacted for the current fiscal year, which would mean a real decrease of 0.6 percent under 2 percent inflation, or 3 percent if inflation stays around 4 percent.
DepSecDef Kathleen Hicks: “This will provide the foundation for fielding a full range of needed capabilities such as hypersonic missiles, artificial intelligence, and 5G,” Hicks said. Cutting old weapons to pay for new ones is not unique to the Biden administration; the Trump administration used the same strategy in its fiscal 2021 budget proposal last year.
R&D up, a bit: Defense officials touted a $112 billion request for research and development of new weapons at Friday’s press briefings, noting that it is the highest R&D request ever and a 5 percent increase over the previous year’s request. But there were larger year-over-year percentage increases in recent years, Defense One’s Patrick Tucker reports, and the $5 billion uptick likely means a real increase of 0.6% (4% inflation) to 2.6% (2% inflation).
Service shares largely unchanged. In real terms, the 2022 proposal would likely mean the Army would see a decrease of 0.4% to 6%, the Navy, 0.1% to 2%; and the Air Force, 0.5% to 2.5%.
More budget news after the jump...
From Defense One
Eyeing China, Biden’s First Pentagon Budget Would Cut Troops, Buy Future Weapons // Marcus Weisgerber: DepSecDef Hicks called the president’s $715 billion spending request “a foundation for fielding a full range of needed capabilities.” Republicans called it “a cut.”
Is the Biden Administration Proud of its Pentagon Budget? // Kevin Baron: If the White House wanted to boast about its spending plans, it wouldn't have buried the news on Memorial Day weekend and given reporters just 10 minutes to ask questions.
Biden Requests Less Than 1% Boost to Pentagon R&D, Despite Hyping New Defense Tech // Patrick Tucker: As the Defense Department shifts its focus toward more technologically advanced potential adversaries, it will have to research and develop more and sustain less.
US Air Force Details Proposed Cuts to Planes, Flying Hours // Tara Copp: 2022 budget request would retire scores of fighters and tankers and cut thousands of flying hours to fund modernization.
Afghanistan, Iraq Drawdowns Cut $3.2B From US Army Costs, Officials Say // Caitlin M. Kenney: 2022 spending request would shrink service budget by a total of $3.6 billion.
US Space Force Seeks 2,020 Civilian Acquisition Staff in 2022 // Tara Copp: $17.4 billion request includes two GPS satellites, five launch vehicles.
Naval Spending Proposal Defies Calls to Buy Extra Ships, Boost Marines’ Budget // Caitlin M. Kenney: President’s first spending request seeks to cut procurement to free funds for operations and maintenance.
Biden Seeks State Department Budget Boost, But Ambassador Nominations Lag // Jacqueline Feldscher: Slow pace of nominations is the “missing piece" of the president's drive to emphasize diplomacy’s importance in foreign policy, one analyst said.
Russia’s Latest Hack Shows How Useful ‘Criminal Groups’ Are to the Kremlin // Patrick Tucker: Russian coders have little choice but to work with their government, which in turn denies any knowledge of their activities. That’s why hacking activity shows no sign of slowing.
Defense Business Brief // Marcus Weisgerber: Defense Business Brief: Happy Budget Day; Moon rover; Talking hypersonic; and more...
Other Regimes Will Hijack Planes Too // Anne Applebaum, The Atlantic: If Belarus gets away with it, authoritarian dictators around the world will have a new tool of oppression.
Welcome to this Tuesday edition of The D Brief from Bradley Peniston with Jennifer Hlad. And if you’re not already subscribed to The D Brief, you can do that here. On June 1, 1812, President James Madison sent a list of grievances against Great Britain to Congress, a key moment in the runup to the War of 1812.
USAF tries to retire aircraft, again. Once again, Air Force leaders are proposing to “cut scores of combat aircraft to make room for modest increases in personnel and modernization spending,” Defense One’s Tara Copp reported Friday.
Targeted for retirement: 42 A-10 Thunderbolt II ground attack aircraft, 20 C-130 aircraft of multiple variants, four E-8 Joint Surveillance Target Attack Radar System (JSTARS); 48 F-15 C/D and 47 F-16 C/D fighter jet variants; 18 KC-135R/T receiver-capable tankers and 14 KC-10 tankers.
Congressional resistance has blocked such retirements in the past. A trio of lawmakers from Illinois, home to the C-130-heavy 182nd Airlift Wing, were among those signaling their opposition. “The flexibility and readiness of the National Guard will be negatively impacted by any reduction in the C-130s,” said Rep. Cheri Bustos, an Illinois Democrat.
Flying hours would also be cut under the 2022 proposal, from 1.24 million to 1.15 million.
BUFF boost: Copp writes that funding for the Cold War-era strategic bomber would increase from $483 million in 2021 to $716 million in 2022 to support “the most comprehensive modernization of the B-52 in its history, including new engines and radar systems,” the Air Force wrote. “These efforts will extend this 1950s-era bomber as a credible deterrent through 2050.”
Army trim: “The U.S. Army would get $173.0 billion under the Pentagon’s fiscal 2022 budget request, down from the $176.6 billion it received in the current fiscal year,” Defense One’s Caitlin M. Kenney reported Friday.
Withdrawals reduce anticipated costs. “The Army will see a $3.2 billion decrease in costs in operation and maintenance funds due to the Iraq and Afghanistan drawdowns,” Kenney wrote. “The budget still asks for $3.3 billion in operational support to sustain the Afghanistan Security Forces, a 9.2% increase from 2021. Pentagon officials have said that the United States would still support Afghanistan through financial means, not boots on the grounds.”
No big boost for Navy: The Navy Department is asking for $211.7 billion, up from the $207.9 billion it got this year. The request includes $163.8 billion for the Navy proper, up from $162.9 billion; and $47.8 billion for the Marine Corps, up from this year’s $45 billion.
The essentially flat budget defied calls for a big boost “that advocates say is necessary to confront swelling Chinese fleets,” Kenney wrote. “Under the topline, the Navy is proposing to decrease funding for procurement so it can boost its operations and maintenance budget, the documents said.”
Militia drones in Iraq. Washington Post: “U.S. military officials in Iraq have grown increasingly alarmed over attacks by Iran-backed militias using drones to evade detection systems around military bases and diplomatic facilities.” Read that, here.
Spying on allies. Also from the Post: “French President Emmanuel Macron on Monday declared that wiretapping ‘is not acceptable between allies’ and asked the United States for clarity after new claims emerged about National Security Agency efforts to spy on European leaders between 2012 and 2014.” More, here.
Lastly today: At least one country is accelerating its efforts to protect interpreters and other people who helped Western troops in Afghanistan. “Britain will expedite the relocation of Afghan staff, largely interpreters, who worked for the country’s armed forces and are at increasing risk ahead of the withdrawal of U.S. and NATO troops,” the New York Times reported Monday.
ICYMI: It’s not entirely clear what the U.S. intends to do, though Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Mark Milley said last week that “There are plans being developed very, very rapidly here,” Read that, here.