Pentagon Seeks $705 Billion for Bombs, Bullets & Boeing

February 12th, 2020 - by Jason Ditz / & Aaron Mehta / Defense News

Request includes $21.3 billion in munitions

Jason Ditz /

(February 10, 2020) — A new Pentagon request for military funding in 2021 is out on Monday, with revelations that they are seeking $705.4 billion, covering a 3% pay raise for service members, and $15.4 billion for Space Force.

The budget request includes $21.3 billion for munitions, including $11.3 billion for tactical missiles. The Trump Administration is also seeking $46 billion in spending on nuclear weapons.

While funding remains high for almost everything, the request includes the lowest level of request for the Afghan War as part of Overseas Contingency Operations in a decade. This is noteworthy, and appears contingent on a substantial drawdown that is yet to come.

President Trump’s desire to cut troop levels before the 2020 election has been well-known, and the Pentagon is apparently building this into budgets. That’s noteworthy, as other drawdown plans have ultimately been reversed.

And that’s one place for substantial cuts to potentially come from. It’s clear that the Pentagon’s budget-makers aren’t coming up with a lot of other ideas, however, beyond substantial funding cuts for Stars and Stripes.

Here’s How Many Bombs the US Plans to Buy in the Next Year

Aaron Mehta / Defense News

(February 10, 2020) — The Pentagon’s fiscal 2021 budget request seeks to buy fewer munitions needed for the fights in Afghanistan and Iraq as it attempts to pivot towards investments in the kind of weapons that will be used in a high-end fight against China or Russia.

The DoD has requested $21.3 billion in munitions, including $6 billion for conventional ammunition, $4 billion for strategic missiles and $11.3 billion for tactical missiles. Munitions and missiles make up 8.8 percent of overall procurement in the budget request.

The department is pursuing a two-pronged approach, according to a budget summary provided by the Pentagon. The first is to make sure “US worldwide munition inventories are sufficiently stocked” for ongoing needs. The second is to ensure “sufficient procurement of more advanced high-end weapon systems, which provide increases standoff, enhanced lethality and autonomous targeting for employment against near-peer threats in more contested environment.”

Examples of that kind of high-end munition includes the Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missile (JASSM) and the Long-Range Anti-Ship Missile (LRASM), both of which have enhanced procurement in the budget request.

Click here for more coverage of the FY21 budget rollout.

Major Munitions Buys in the Budget Include:

  • 20,338 Joint Direct Attack Munitions (JDAM) — $533 million. That is down 8,050 units from the FY20 enacted.
  • 7,360 Guided Multiple Launch Rocket System (GMLRS) — $1.2 billion. That is down 1,163 units from FY20 enacted.
  • 2,462 Small Diameter Bomb 1 (SDB 1) – $95.9 million. That is down 4,616 units from FY20 enacted.
  • 1,490 Small Diameter Bomb II (SDB II) — $432 million. That is down 197 units from FY20 enacted.
  • 8,150 Hellfire missiles — $517 million. That is down 640 units from FY20 enacted.
  • 601 AIM-9X Sidewinders — $316.6 million. That is down 119 units from FY20 enacted.
  • 125 Standard Missile-6 — $816 million. That is the same amount as purchased in FY20 enacted.
  • 400 Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missile (JASSM) — $577 million. That is up 10 units from FY20 enacted.
  • 53 Long Range Anti-Ship Missile (LRASM) — $224 million. That is up 36 units from FY20 enacted.

The slowdown of procurement for munitions comes as the US dropped 7,423 munitions onto Afghanistan in 2019 — the highest number of bombs released in nearly a decade.

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