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Defense budget pours billions into shoring up Pacific

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin told the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense that the budget for the military needs to be prepared for a possible confrontation with China.

Austin was asking for the approval of the Defense Department’s $842 billion budget.

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“This is a strategy-driven budget, and one driven by the seriousness of our strategic competition with the People’s Republic of China,” Austin said in his testimony. The budget has $9.1 billion to build up military capabilities in the Pacific, a 40% increase.

“This is a budget aimed squarely at keeping America secure in the world of the 21st century. At $842 billion, it’s a 3.2% increase over Fiscal Year 23 enacted and and it is 13.4% higher than Fiscal Year 22 enacted,” he said during Thursday morning’s testimony.

The People’s Republic of China is “our pacing challenge. And we’re driving hard to meet it. Our budget builds on our previous investments to deter aggression by increasing our edge,” Austin said.

“We’re investing in a more resilient force posture in the Indo-Pacific and increasing the scale and scope of our exercises with our partners. And this budget includes a 40% increase over last year’s for the Pacific Deterrence Initiative—it’s an all-time high of $9.1 billion. That will fund a stronger force posture, better defenses for Hawaii and Guam, and deeper cooperation with our allies and partners,” he said. 

Austin also is requesting $61 billion to sustain air dominance, including funding for fighters and the new B-21 strategic bomber, unveiled in December.

He seeks $48 billion for sea power, including the construction of nine battle force ships.

“And we’re boosting capacity at America’s shipyards to build the ships that our strategy demands. We’re investing a total of $1.2 billion in the submarine industrial base. And we’re buying two Virginia-class attack submarines and one Columbia-class ballistic-missile submarine,” Austin said. 

He described investments to counter drones and the Pentagon’s investing in hypersonics and space.

“We’ve put forward the largest space budget in Pentagon history. We’ve requested $33.3 billion to improve our capabilities, our resilience, and our command and control in space,” he said.

“This budget also moves us away from aging capabilities that aren’t relevant to future conflicts so we can focus on the advances that warfighters will need going forward,” Austin said.

Austin called out Russia President Vladimir Putin and said that Russia continues to be an “acute threat,” and that the U.S. will support the defense of Ukraine “for as long as it takes.” He also mentioned other persistent threats, such as Iran, North Korea, and global terrorist groups.

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Suzanne Downing
Suzanne Downing
Suzanne Downing had careers in business and journalism before serving as the Director of Faith and Community-based Initiatives for Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and returning to Alaska to serve as speechwriter for Gov. Sean Parnell. Born on the Oregon coast, she moved to Alaska in 1969.


  1. Maybe focus on how to kill an enemy than “white rage” and diversity quotas.

    Here’s a hint for you. Stop spending millions on trying to understand why tanks won’t be effective machines if they must be plugged in to operate.

    And stop sending all our ammo to Ukraine.

    We are led by highly unserious people.

    • We need to do all we can for Ukraine. Ammo is very cheap compared with the US losing to Russia, which according to the evidence of history is what would happen. We lost the Vietnam War, leaving in the most ignominious way; our tails between our legs. Then, a generation later we lost and left Afghanistan in the very same way, and for the same reasons. A military assembled for optics rather than merit, with officers promoted for optics rather than merit cannot win a war. So Ukraine can hold Russia back, giving China time to reconsider, but I am not sure the US, with or without NATO, can.

      • Oh for gosh sake, Kayak, with no disrespect intended whatsoever toward the civilian victims and the military members who’ve fought and died for their countries, your comments are nothing more than feculent globalist garbage.

        The US was drawn into Vietnam subsequent to the Gulf of Tonkin hoax, US engagement in Afghanistan followed 9/11 and as we know, most if not all of the hijackers were Saudis and persuasive arguments have been made pointing to Israeli and US foreknowledge of the events, and we have absolutely no business inserting ourselves into the squabble between Ukraine and Russia.

        You’re a delusional fantasist if you actually believe Putin intends to recreate the Soviet Union.

        Moreover, the conspicuous absence of any comments from you regarding the critical importance of securing our own borders and ejecting subversive foreigners underscores your gross ignorance or suggests that your retirement portfolio consists largely of MIC stocks.

        War is a racket, Sonny. Wise up.

        • Putin probably would recreate the Soviet Union if he could. But the circumstances which allowed it to rise don’t exist today.

          It’s part of why he wants to cozy up with China.

        • You do realize that Putin has stated multiple times that his goal is to rebuild the old Soviet Union?

          I agree with the idea that the U.S. shouldn’t be the one to support Ukraine. It should be the rest of Europe. But I also don’t think we can allow Putin to overtake the Ukraine as he will not stop just with them. Do we stop him now or go in, after the fact, and retake Europe?

      • So many issues here, so much so badly wrong.

        -Ukraine isn’t our war. Just that simple.

        -ammo isn’t cheap at that level. Plus we need it for our own unprepared military.

        -we are not currently at war with Russia. If we were we’d need the ammo.

        -we won every major military engagement in Vietnam. Every one. Like the loss of Afghanistan that was a political decision, not a military one. Same with Vietnam.

        It is debatable we could win on the field today. Real armies kill, they don’t worry about “white rage” and gays in the military.

        Let Europe fund Ukraine. Britain, btw, has enough ammo for less than a week of fighting if war breaks.

        We are in this mess because an unserious man named Biden set it in motion. Perhaps if he hadn’t ordered the military to abandon enough hardware to make the Taliban a major military force we’d have more to share.

        I’m more than willing to let Russia have a corrupt country Biden is in business with. We have other, much more pressing fish to fry.

      • Damn you’re not very up on current events are you. Ukraine couldn’t hold the tides of anyone back without support. We’re the only ones propping them up just like we did in Vietnam. South Korea hasn’t fallen yet you failed to mention that and neither has Japan. All this is just eye candy spending. We have enough boomers in the Pacific to destroy the entire world many times over. The Chinese know that. Putin knows that. Little Kim knows that. We have things flying up in orbit they can keep us missiles from even getting 50 miles up if fired against us. You chicken littles and the sky is falling thing really need to get a grip and smoke something.

  2. Does the budget still include $600 bolts and screws to anchor down toilet seats on porta potties used by the Army on the Arctic front?

  3. I agree with the stop arming Ukraine. Let them fight their own territorial squabble. With Russia and China teaming up and aggressively starting to poke Biden in the butt with their sharp sticks, now they’re running scared. They took down a couple of our drones and scared off of destroyer, they’re laughing all the way to the Kremlin. And rightfully so. No way would they be pulling this crap if a conservative was in office.

    • Pretty disgraceful description of someone with his distinguished military career. I’d like to know how your background would measure up in comparison.

      • Nothing about lloyd austin is distinguished. Just a political hack with pretty stars on his old collar.

      • The issue isn’t his military career. It’s his rank ineptitude as SecDef.

        But you know that. Which is why you tried this stupid dodge. I’m curious: why didn’t you make racial accusations? Someone else reserved it?

  4. Nothing that comes out of the mouths of Austin or Milley should ever be taken seriously. Both are felonious oxygen thieves.

    • Milley needs to face a Courts Marshall for admitting publicly he told the military to disregard orders from Trump if he didn’t approve of them.

      He should be in Leavenworth for being stupid enough to say it out loud.

  5. Will the military be able to function when the Chinese misgender them or use the wrong pronouns?

    Hard to fight a war when the troops are seeking safe spaces and puppies.

    • If there ever was a good, moral and valid justification for unleashing a major nuclear attack on Russia, it would be in response to misusing pronouns. Lloyd and Mark would be so hurt and humiliated and would have group cry together, provided the doors were wide enough for them to get into the same room.

  6. Pffft. More grift. They still haven’t even started paying service members in Alaska their “Arctic pay”.

  7. What about the climate challenges ? The climate crowd should be suing because of the destructive work involved and the use of fossil fuels. But no they cherry pick their battles against the little guy. What about the fuel use to continue to wreak the world.

  8. I wonder if Biden remembers when Obama laughed at Romney for saying that Russia was the biggest geopolitical threat to America during their debate in 2012?

    • I doubt it because they’re not. Our biggest threat right now is China. Found a lot of American infrastructure and factories, they manufacture a lot of parts for our defense industry, we can’t survive without their trade anymore, they own most of the gold. They’re going to be around a lot longer than we are that’s for damn sure. You think we’d start playing nice with all these folks instead of unzipping our pants and getting out the measuring stick.

      • Damn you’re not very up on current events are you. We are in a surrogate war with Russia. The same Russia that has somewhere around 6,000 nukes. We’ve pretty well ceded our manufacturing and intellectual property to China at this point, the threat they possess is to stop making poorly made knockoffs of stuff we want but don’t need. Our economies are tied together at the hip, we want cheap crap and they make cheap crap.

    • I doubt Biden remembers Tuesday.

      More and more it looks like a Wilson situation where we have an incapacitated POTUS being run/managed by his wife and her inner circle.

      • It was a rhetorical question, but yeah he doesn’t remember it…I doubt most Americans remember it. He’s absolutely being run by someone’s inner circle.

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