Biden’s Request for Highest Defense Budget Unlikely to Keep Up With Inflation

The Biden administration is reportedly going to request the highest Pentagon budget in history for the next fiscal year, but Fox News reported on Monday that the increase is unlikely to even keep up with inflation.

President Joe Biden is expected to request from Congress in the next few months a defense budget base of more than $770 billion, with add-ons creating the possibility of it being upwards of $800 billion for fiscal year 2023, which begins on October 1, according to Reuters.

In comparison, former President Donald Trump asked for $752.9 billion in defense spending during his last year in office, which was increased $25 billion by Congress to $778 billion for this fiscal year.

Former Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense Roger Zakheim told Fox that the reality is that the sum Biden is asking for sounds like a great deal of money, “but it will not keep pace with inflation,” which means that the increase will in real terms actually be a decrease.

He explained that fuel, which is skyrocketing in price and is a major reason for inflationary pressures, is a large part of the military budget, as it takes a good deal of it to deploy tanks, fighter planes and ships.

Reuters reported that the Pentagon seeks to use the additional budget in order to modernize the military, with “top line” spending focused on salaries, tanks, and other priorities such as shipbuilding and jets. 

But Zakheim stressed to Fox that these increases due to inflation will also make it more difficult to keep up with the additional needs of the military, such as shipbuilding and other procurement that is essential to countering threats to the United States around the world.

The $778 billion defense budget for fiscal year 2022 accounts for around 3.7% of U.S. gross domestic product, according to Fox.

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