Updated: Apr 18
By Pacific Island Times News Staff
While Russia dominates today's headlines, China is the real worry for the Department of Defense, according to DOD Secretary Lloyd Austin., noting that such priority is mirrored in the $773 billion budget request.
"It's why we're realigning our posture in the Indo-Pacific toward a more distributed footprint," Austin told the U.S. House Armed Services Committee.
The DOD's request includes $6 billion for the Pacific deterrence initiative.
"We're going to enhance our force posture, infrastructure, presence and readiness in the Indo-Pacific, including the missile defense of Guam," Austin said.
"And it's why we're making broad investments in such key areas as undersea dominance, fighter aircraft modernization, and advanced weaponry including hypersonic strike," he added.
General Mark A. Miley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said America's adversaries to continue developing hypersonic technology, whose delivery will be varied and difficult to detect and defeat.
"At the very core of this technology is a speed that is almost unbeatable. It is for this reason that we must invest in this technology. Hypersonics are a suite of capabilities that provide transformational warfighting capability to our joint force," Miley said.
"s we fund and build the U.S. military, we must be smart about technologies. The cost to meet all the threats laid out under the current strategy is significant. But, when looking at how to change the force, there are two key things to get right: information and survivability," he added.
Miley said the acquisition of technology is key to the department’s ability to deter threats and improvements must be made to leverage authorities to keep pace with requirements.
Austin said the United States is a global power, and it must be prepared for threats that don't observe borders from pandemics to climate change.
The national defense strategy advances U.S. goals in three main ways: Forging integrated deterrence, campaigning and building enduring advantages, Austin said.
The fiscal 2023 Defense Budget Request provides the funds to ensure the U.S. military can keep innovating, he said.
The $773 billion request is firmly based on the new National Defense Strategy and provides the funds to ensure the United States can thrive in a world with China as the pacing challenge and deal with the Russian invasion of its neighboring country.
The budget also provides the funding to deal with the threats posed by North Korea, Iran and violent extremists, Austin said.
The key priorities for the U.S. military are to defend the country, take care of the people of DOD and succeed through teamwork, he said.
The request puts its money where its mouth is by seeking more than $56 billion for airpower platforms and systems, and more than $40 billion to maintain U.S. dominance at sea. This includes funding nine more battle-force ships. The budget calls for almost $13 billion to support and modernize combat credible forces on land.
The United States needs to keep leading, too, the secretary said. Since Russia invaded Ukraine Feb. 24, American leadership has become even more crucial. "Countries around the world continue to look to the United States to provide that sort of leadership," he said. "With help from Congress, we've been able to rush security assistance to … help the Ukrainian people defend their lives, their country and their freedom."
The United States is providing that leadership, and Austin reiterated the United States’ unwavering support for Ukraine. He told the members of the committee that even before Russia's unprovoked invasion, the U.S. sent more than a billion dollars worth of weapons and supplies to Ukraine.