Congress Hints at More Pentagon Spending as Arms Makers Cheer

April 5th, 2022 - by Dave DeCamp /

Republicans — and Some Democrats — Are Calling
To Increase Biden’s $813 Billion Military Budget

Dave DeCamp /

(April 4, 2022) — For the 2023 fiscal year, President Biden requested a massive $813 billion military budget, about a 4% increase from the $782 billion that was approved for 2022. But for hawks in Congress, it’s not enough.

Republicans are largely united in their calls for more military spending than what Biden wants. Republican hawks want the military budget to take inflation into account and add real growth on top of that. Last month,inflation reached 7.9%, a 40-year record high.

Enough Democrats are on board with the idea of giving Biden more money than he asked for that Congress is expected to vote in favor of boosting the budget. Rep. Elaine Luria (D-VA), the vice-chair of the House Armed Services Committee, complained about Biden’s proposed military budget, writing on Twitter that “It sucks.”

“If you want to grow the Navy, stop decommissioning more ships than you build,” said Luria, whose district includes Norfolk, Virginia, the home of the world’s largest naval base.

Biden’s $813 billion request includes $773 billion for the Pentagon, and the remaining funds will go toward military spending for other federal agencies, including the Energy Department’s nuclear weapons program.

The Pentagon said it needs the $773 billion to focus on China, which it called the department’s “pacing challenge.” China was also named as the US military’s top “threat” in the 2022 National Defense Strategy, which was recently briefed to Congress.

China is often cited by lawmakers as the main justification to increase military spending. “For the second year in a row, President Biden has submitted to Congress an inadequate defense budget that does not provide the real growth we need to counter China,” Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-OK) and Rep. Mike Rogers (R-AL) said in a statement on the budget request.

If Congress increases the budget, it will be the second year in a row that they give Biden more than he asked for. For the 2022 military budget, Biden requested $753 billion, which was ultimately increased by about $29 billion.

US Weapons Makers See
Longer-Term Benefits of War in Ukraine

Raytheon, Lockheed Will Profit from Arming Ukraine 

Dave DeCamp /

(April 4, 2022) — US defense contractors are expected to make long-term profits from the war in Ukraine as they will directly benefit from the Pentagon sending weapons into the conflict and the US’s European allies increasing military spending.

Since Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24, the US has pledged over $1 billion in new military aid for Ukraine. The US has been pulling weapons from its own stock to send to Ukraine, and as the arms are replenished, the profits of US weapons makers are expected to soar.

The main weapons being sent into Ukraine are Javelin anti-tank missiles and Stinger anti-aircraft missiles. The Javelins are a joint venture made by Raytheon and Lockheed Martin, while the Stingers are produced solely by Raytheon. Before taking his post as Pentagon chief, Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin was on the board of Raytheon.

According to AFP, Raytheon’s Stinger missiles were no longer being produced until the Pentagon ordered $340 million of them last summer. Now, the US and its allies who are sending the Stingers into Ukraine are looking for more. A recent spending bill signed by President Biden included $3.5 billion for the replenishing of US arms sent to Ukraine.

“If 1,000 Stingers and 1,000 Javelins get shipped to Eastern Europe each month for the next year, which is not unlikely given the current pace, in our view, we think it would equate to $1 billion to $2 billion in revenue for both program manufacturers, which is material,” Colin Scarola of the investment research firm CFRA, told AFP.

US arms makers are also cashing in from the spike in European spending in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Last month, Germany announced that it plans to buy 35 Lockheed Martin-made F-35 fighter jets to replace its aging Tornado fleet, which is used for NATO’s nuclear sharing agreement.

Germany currently stores about 20 US B-61 nuclear gravity bombs as part of NATO nuclear sharing, and the Tornados are the only planes capable of carrying the warhead. The Tornados are expected to be phased out and replaced by the F-35s by 2030.

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