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DOD's FY 2025 budget focuses on defense, people, teamwork

  • Published
  • By C. Todd Lopez
  • DOD News

Last month the Defense Department released its fiscal year 2025 budget request, about $849.8 billion in all, and now Congress has invited DOD leaders of all stripes to Capitol Hill to discuss what's in the budget and what the department's thoughts were when creating that budget.

Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III, as the top Defense Department leader, told lawmakers April 30 at the House Armed Services Committee that the DOD budget request centers, broadly, on defending the nation, taking care of service members and their families, and strengthening relationships with like-minded U.S. partners and allies. 

"Our budget request for fiscal year 2025 will advance all three of these priorities," Austin said during his testimony.

Defending the nation is of course the No. 1 priority for the Defense Department. And the DOD budget for FY 2025 — which runs Oct. 1, 2024 through Sept 30, 2025 — has a lot to make sure the DOD can carry out that No. 1 mission. 

"The president's request will invest in cutting-edge capabilities across all domains," Austin said. "That includes $48.1 billion for naval and shipbuilding capabilities, $61.2 billion to reinforce U.S. air dominance, and $13 billion to bolster Army and Marine Corps combat capabilities." 

The department's efforts in space, the secretary said, get about $33.7 billion, while cybersecurity tools get about $14.5 billion.

Also, a top priority is the modernization of America's nuclear triad, which involves ground-based missiles — commonly referred to as intercontinental ballistic missiles — submarine-launched ballistic missiles and air-launched cruise missiles, dropped from bomber aircraft. 

This year's budget directs about $49.1 billion towards recapitalization of all three legs of the nuclear triad. That includes a focus on both the Columbia-class submarine and the B-21 bomber. 

"This budget request will support our outstanding troops and their families," Austin said. "That includes raising base pay and housing allowances; investing in better housing; making childcare more affordable; and funding vital work to prevent sexual assault and suicide in the military."

For service members, this year's budget request includes a 4.5% pay raise, the third such raise over the past three years. 

Austin has said America's long-term security and success requires teamwork, which includes working with Congress, other parts of the U.S. government, the defense industry and especially with American partners and allies. 

"This [budget] request will help the Department further deepen our teamwork worldwide," he said. "Our network of allies and partners remains a strategic advantage that no competitor can match. And you can see its power in our strengthening ties across the Indo-Pacific, in today's expanded and united NATO, and in the 50-country Ukraine Defense Contact Group that I convene."

As the global security environment grows more complex, with Russia's invasion of Ukraine, the conflict between Israel and Hamas, the pacing challenge posed by China, and ongoing threats posed by Iran and North Korea, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. CQ Brown, Jr., said he's seen relationships between the U.S. and partners grow stronger. 

"What I have seen in the seven months ... I've been in the job, I've engaged about 170 times with counterparts, my counterparts from around the world," he said. "And what I've found is as the world's gotten more complex, our work with our allies and partners has strengthened." 

NATO, he said, has gotten stronger and larger. But partnerships are not Europe-centric, they are global. 

"As I engage with the nations in Europe, they're focused on the Indo-Pacific, and Indo-Pacific nations are also focused on Europe because all these [threats] are a global threat to all of us," he said. "And you know that dialogue is definitely increased." 

Brown said the partners he speaks with are interested in the health of the global defense industrial base, which is responsible for making the tools nations need to defend themselves. 

"They are concerned about our collective defense industrial base and bringing capability," he said. "One thing I do find as I engage around the world is that U.S. capability, U.S. equipment, is highly desired. We've got to be able to provide that capability and equipment and those are the things that they are keenly interested in. They're also interested in our ability to work and be able to interoperate even when they have their own defense industrial base that they're also trying to increase as well." 

One area the DOD is working on to help strengthen the defense industrial base is munitions production. 

"In order to maintain our competitive edge, we're going to have to continue to invest in mutations," he said. " We've done that, with your help. As you know, for FY 24, we asked you for a number of multi-year procurement authorities and you supported us with that request. And over the last three years or so we've invested north of $75 billion in munitions." 

Last week, the president signed into law a $95 billion security supplemental bill, which among other things, provides security assistance to Israel, Ukraine and Taiwan. But the money that bill provides will also help strengthen the ability of America's industrial base to produce munitions, said Austin. 

"In the supplemental that you just approved for us, there are resources in that supplemental that ... we apply to the industrial base and help them expand to increase our capacity to meet the current demand and the demand in the future," Austin said. "I want to thank all the members for that." 

In January, DOD released its first "Defense Industrial Strategy." The FY 2025 budget request leans on that strategy to shore up critical domestic and allied supply chains for sectors such as microelectronics, casting and forging, and batteries and energy storage. The budget request also includes investments to in the U.S. submarine industrial base.