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Pentagon budget 2023: Lawmakers request details on inflation impact

The US Capitol building in Washington, DC. (Getty Images)

Two key members of the US Congress want the Pentagon to explain how a recent surge in inflation will affect the buying power of the US Department of Defense (DoD).

In a letter to Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and other DoD leaders, Senator Jim Inhofe and Representative Mike Rogers, the top Republicans on the Senate and House Armed Services Committees, asked the department to clarify why it assumes only a 2.3–2.6% inflation rate in its newly released fiscal year (FY) 2023 budget request, even though the federal government estimates that consumer prices rose nearly 8% over the past 12 months.

“We need to understand what assumptions the department is operating under, how they arrived at their inflation estimate, and how Congress can help meet the needs of our military as we develop our own recommendations for the 2023 fiscal year,” Inhofe and Rogers said in a statement on 29 March.

The lawmakers asked the Pentagon to respond to their letter by 15 April.

Deputy Defense Secretary Kathleen Hicks told reporters on 28 March that the inflation assumptions in the FY 2023 budget request reflect the “best information” the department had when it wrote the document. She said the DoD will continue refining that information as it nears the 1 October 2022 start of FY 2023.

“When it comes to the effects of inflation, the [DoD] budget proposal includes additional funding to support the department's purchasing power and meet the unique challenges posed by inflation for our national security,” said Democratic Representative Adam Smith, who chairs the House Armed Services Committee.

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