Mon, 29 May 2023

Washington [US], March 29 (ANI): US Secretary of Defense Lloyd J Austin III said that the USD 842 billion budget proposal for the fiscal year 2024 for the Defense Department is a strategy-driven budget and one driven by the competition with China, adding that it will provide more resilient force posture in the Indo-Pacific and increase the scale and the scope of exercises with US partners.

The FY 2024 budget request includes a 40 per cent increase for the Pacific Deterrence Initiative over last year's budget and it's an all-time high of USD 9.1 billion. That will fund a stronger force posture, better defenses for Hawaii and Guam, and deeper cooperation with our allies and partners.

"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 during testimony before the Senate Armed Services Committee.

"At USD 842 billion, it's a 3.2 percent increase over fiscal year 2023 enacted ... and it is 13.4 percent higher than fiscal year 22 enacted. This budget will help us continue to implement our National Defense Strategy and the president's National Security Strategy."The Budget will focus on three key priorities: to defend our nation, to take care of our outstanding people, and to succeed through teamwork.

"The People's Republic of China (PRC) is our pacing challenge. And we're driving hard to meet it. Our budget builds on our previous investments to deter aggression. We're investing in a more resilient force posture in the Indo-Pacific and increasing the scale and the scope of our exercises with our partners," he said in a statement released by the US Department of Defence.

Now, this budget also makes the Department's largest-ever investments in both RD and procurement.

Austin said," In the Pacific, the department is forward-stationing and deploying more forces, while also investing in airfields, logistics, domain awareness and resilience in places like Japan, Australia, Guam and the sovereign states involved in the Compact of Free Association.

The FY 2024 budget request, Austin said, also marks the department's largest investment in research and development. This year, the request for RD efforts stands at $145 billion.

The department is also requesting some USD170 billion for procurement to maintain the nation's air, sea and land dominance. About USD 61 billion funds things like the newly revealed B-21 Raider, for instance, while $48 billion supports the construction of nine battle force ships for the US Navy, he said.

"We'll also continue to modernize all three legs of our nuclear triad ... and bolster our strategic deterrence," Austin told senators.

The FY 2024 request includes $37.7 billion to fund the nuclear triad, along with nuclear command, control, and communications.

The US military doesn't fight alone, so relationships with allied and partner nations are also a focus of the FY 2024 budget request, Austin said, highlighting efforts in both Asia and Europe.

"In recent months, our friends in the Indo-Pacific have taken major steps forward," Austin said.

"The Philippines has agreed to nearly double the number of sites where we cooperate together. Japan has committed to double its defense spending. And through the historic AUKUS partnership, we'll work with our Australian and British allies to build game-changing defense advantages that will deter aggression and boost our defense industrial capacity," he added. (ANI)

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