President Joe Biden is sending Congress a $6 trillion budget proposal Friday, with $715 billion of that dedicated to defense, about the same level as in the current fiscal year.
The budget “reflects difficult funding decisions necessary to ensure that we have the right mix of capabilities that we need most,” Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said Thursday in prepared remarks to House appropriators. He said the budget is balanced across the services and that the goal is “not to make the Army be the bill-payer” for the other services.
“Our budget request also invests in initiatives to reduce operational energy demand to enhance capability, improve freedom of action in contested logistical environments, and reduce costs,” he said at the hearing. “Those investments are good for the climate, and they are critical for the mission.”
The budget includes a focus on recruiting and retaining quality personnel, Austin said.
“The health and well-being of our service members and their families are inextricably linked to the readiness of our force, and we must do all we can to take care of them,” he said.
Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Mark Milley said in his opening remarks that taking care of military families includes continued housing reforms.
“Housing our forces is critical to ensure that our junior and most vulnerable families are able to live in a healthy environment wherever the nation calls them to serve,” Milley said. “Families don’t raise their hand and join the service. We as a nation owe it to our troops to ensure they have what they need.”
Austin and Milley both mentioned the need to cut legacy weapons systems, hinting at what is likely to be a showdown with lawmakers as the appropriations process plays out.
DOD photo by U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Brittany A. Chase