Tester, Collins Support Raising Defense Budget; Austin, Brown Say Caps Forced Modernization Choices

May 9, 2024

Sens. Jon Tester (D-Montana) and Susan Collins (R-Maine), leaders of the defense appropriations subcommittee, made the case Wednesday for raising the amount of money available for defense spending. Last summer’s debt ceiling deal capped defense and non-defense spending levels.

“We must be clear-eyed that this budget request would represent a real cut in funding for the Department of Defense as it fails to keep pace with inflation,” Collins said at a hearing on the administration’s budget request, as Defense News reported.

“Let’s get a budget that works both near-term – and this one does work near-term – it’s the long-term stuff that’s going to get short-changed, and it’s going to cost more money the later we go,” Tester said.

Modernization Choices

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and Joint Chiefs Chair Air Force Gen. CQ Brown said during the hearing that spending caps led DOD to make choices in its budget request.

“We made tough but responsible decisions that prioritize near-term readiness, modernization of the joint force and support for our troops and their families,” Austin said. “Our approach dials back some of the near-term modernization for programs not set to come on line until the 2030s.”

Brown said DOD also wants to prioritize “a strong defense industrial base so we can produce those munitions and capabilities.”

‘In Flux’

Appropriators and other leaders are discussing the budget levels for the upcoming fiscal year.

“The negotiations on the budget caps are still in flux,” Tester said Wednesday.

Senate Appropriations Committee Chair Patty Murray (D-Wash.) said last week that she will insist on “parity” between defense and non-defense spending if either is increased, as On Base reported.

DOD photo by Chad J. McNeeley

May 9, 2024

Recent News

Florida’s Space Coast Will House Space Force Training HQ

Florida’s Space Coast Will House Space Force Training HQ

Space Training and Readiness Command headquarters will be established at Patrick Space Force Base in Florida’s Space Coast region, The Orlando Sentinel  reported. “Great news for Florida!” Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) posted on X. “Patrick Space Force Base has received...

HASC Marks Up NDAA with Focus on Quality of Life

HASC Marks Up NDAA with Focus on Quality of Life

The House Armed Services Committee held its marathon hearing Wednesday to work through hundreds of amendments to the annual defense policy bill. This year’s bill is officially titled “The Servicemember Quality of Life Improvement and National Defense Authorization...

Exchange Shoppers Donate Millions to Military Relief Funds

Exchange Shoppers Donate Millions to Military Relief Funds

Shoppers at the Army & Air Force Exchange Service made $2.5 million in donations to military relief funds in 2023, the Exchange said in a press release. “Year after year, Exchange shoppers give selflessly and generously to support their fellow service members,”...

In Our Communities

In Our Communities

Kirtland Air Force Base, New Mexico and the U.S. Forest Service unveiled upgrades last week at Albuquerque Air Tanker Base to increase the speed, efficiency and readiness of tankers outfitted to douse the dangerous flames. “Team Kirtland is happy to be able assist in...

PAST STORIES