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Ukraine conflict: Invasion will boost US defence budget, lawmaker says

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

Russia's invasion of Ukraine will spur the US to spend more on defence than previously thought, according to the chairman of the US House Armed Services Committee.

Although Representative Adam Smith, a Washington state Democrat, has not decided what the fiscal year (FY) 2023 defence budget top line should be, he believes the US Department of Defense (DoD), “without question”, will need more resources to help protect US allies in Eastern Europe.

“The Russian invasion of Ukraine fundamentally altered what our national security posture and what our defence posture needs to be,” Smith told the Washington, DC-based American Enterprise Institute (AEI) on 3 March. “It made it more complicated and it made it more expensive,” he added.

Smith said that any FY 2023 increase should be accompanied by steps to make the overly bureaucratic DoD more efficient to ensure the money it receives is well-spent. The Biden administration is expected to send its FY 2023 budget request to Congress as early as this month.

The FY 2022 National Defense Authorization Act, which Smith's committee helped write, supports a total of USD777.7 billion in defence funding, including USD740 billion for the DoD and USD27.8 billion for national security programmes at the Department of Energy.

Smith's comments came three days after Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, a Kentucky Republican, urged the Democratic administration to include at least a 5% increase for defence above inflation in its FY 2023 budget request.

While Congress awaits the FY 2023 request, it is considering the administration's new USD10 billion FY 2022 supplemental funding request for Ukraine-related security, humanitarian, and economic assistance.

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