Pentagon budget 2022: White House reveals USD715 billion topline request

by Ashley Roque & Michael Fabey

The Biden administration has notified Congress that it will request USD715 billion in discretionary funds for the Department of Defense (DoD) next year, an increase over this year’s enacted topline budget.

On 9 April the White House’s Office Management and Budget (OMB) announced that it will request USD753 billion in national defence funding for fiscal year (FY) 2022, with the bulk of which is for the DoD. The Pentagon’s coffer would get a 1.6% increase over the FY 2021 enacted funding level of USD704 billion. However, with roughly a 1.7% 12-month inflation rate, the overall request remains relatively flat.

Despite the negligible change in proposed Pentagon spending for next year, OMB said it will ask for a 16% increase for non-defence discretionary funding with a USD769.4 billion request.

The request also discontinues the practice of requesting separate funds marked for ‘Overseas Contingency Operations’ and instead includes those funds inside the DoD base budget.

“The discretionary request prioritises the need to counter the threat from China as the Department’s top challenge,” OMB wrote in a letter to Congress. “The department would also seek to deter destabilizing behaviour by Russia. Leveraging the Pacific Deterrence Initiative and working together with allies and partners in the Indo-Pacific region and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, DoD would ensure that the United States builds the concepts, capabilities, and posture necessary to meet these challenges.”

Lloyd Austin, the new US Defense Secretary, will have to sell his budget to Congress. The Biden administration plans to request USD715 billion in DoD discretionary funding for FY 2022. (DoD)

OMB’s letter does not detail specific programme funding levels, which will come later, but it does note some areas the forthcoming budget request will focus on including research and development, maintaining US naval power, investing in long-range fires weapons, modernising nuclear capabilities, and divesting from legacy systems.

Pentagon leadership has also yet to detail how it will divide funding between the services. They could decide to provide each service with similar topline numbers or provide one with additional financial backing. For example, given the administration’s continued focus on China as the ‘pacing threat’, some top lawmakers have suggested that the navy receive a larger budget next year.

Lloyd Austin, the new US Defense Secretary, will have to sell his budget to Congress. The Biden administration plans to request USD715 billion in DoD discretionary funding for FY 2022. (DoD)

Lloyd Austin, the new US Defense Secretary, will have to sell his budget to Congress. The Biden administration plans to request USD715 billion in DoD discretionary funding for FY 2022. (DoD)

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The Biden administration has notified Congress that it will request USD715 billion in discretionary ...

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