Defense spending in the United States is on the rise

Last Friday, the US Senate also voted on the defense budget for next year, which amounted to $858 billion. The money will be used to replace weapons delivered to Ukraine, to further support Kiev and to assist Taiwan.

The Defense Budget Act is also special because it is one of the few instances where US Democrats and Republicans have come to an agreement every time in decades – albeit with serious concessions. The defense budget for next year is remarkable in several respects, in addition to being of record size. Just to enter life Joe Biden President’s approval is required.

We’ve known for a long time that no country can rival America’s defense spending. In 2021, this spending by the United States was equal to the defense budgets of the next 10 countries with the largest budgets (the second largest was China’s $252 billion). Defense spending in the United States Donald Trump They began to grow dynamically after his election, their amount exceeded $ 700 billion for the first time in 2017, and then continued to grow during the Biden era.

Moreover, this year it happened again that the White House asked for less than it ultimately got.

In April, when the bill was introduced, the cap was $773 billion, but as it began to be debated in the House and Senate, more and more lines were added to the proposal. The two Houses of Congress were planned for separate sums (839 billion and 847 billion), out of which a settlement of $858 billion arose, that is, as part of the typical negotiation processes of the legislature, instead of cutting costs, representatives “bought” votes with their individual proposals and inserts, and they support the ideas of each other mutually.

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But still, not all proposals made it into the final budget. The adopted law put an end to some high-profile individual proposals that attracted the attention of many during the year. Earlier, for example, it was suggested that Ukrainian pilots undergo training on modern F-15 and F-16 bombers. Turkey has long gone on to acquire the modern version of the F-16, which many in Congress opposed, but the Biden administration wanted to keep it going. With the adoption of the law, the barrier to this has now been removed, which is important not least because Sweden and Finland join NATO This may be an important card in persuading Ankara.

Jim Watson/AFP

In the field of foreign policy, perhaps the greatest expectations were expressed regarding support for Ukraine and Taiwan. Even before the November midterm elections, the White House and experts worried that if Democrats lose their majority in the House and Senate (and Trump supporters become the majority among Republicans), support will be doomed. Giving it to Kyiv may yet be questioned. The results were fortunate for Democrats, along with independents in the Senate They became the majorityThat is, the Trumpists failed to gain ground.

The law, which was just passed, provides $800 million to support Ukrainian forces and European allies participating in the aid. At first glance, this amount may seem low, since in 2022 the White House approved a total of $67.5 billion to support the Eastern European country. Slightly more than half of this, $37 billion, is military spending (the rest is humanitarian and financial), but not all of it is in Ukraine. Of that amount, $9.7 billion covers the stationing of some US forces in Europe, and $10.4 billion is long-term aid, which means Ukraine can buy weapons made by the US or any other country (it could take years for them to arrive). The larger purpose, $17 billion, is to meet the (immediate) short-term needs of the Ukrainians, whether that be the transfer of existing supplies, training of Ukrainian soldiers, or intelligence cooperation.

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The financial implications of supporting Ukraine cannot be found in the just-adopted defense budget, it will be articulated in a separate bill, in which the Biden administration will request $37.7 billion for 2023. Of course, that’s only slightly more than half of what was spent in 2022, but room for The maneuver will continue to be greater with the approval of subsequent additions or new financial resources.

One of America’s foreign policy priorities is containing China. Items of this also appear in the budget. Although the Biden administration wanted to reduce the number of amphibious landing ships, the law required it to maintain 31 more such ships in the system.

At the same time, it was the aid to be provided to Taiwan that caught the eyes of many. In the Defense Act of 2023, ten billion dollars are allocated for this until 2027. The amount is large, but it also raises many questions. One is that the US government is already significantly behind on items ordered by Taipei since 2019. Half of the $14.2 billion backlog, $8 billion, has been accounted for by 66 F-16 fighter-bombers yet to be delivered. The Trump-era deal also includes Stinger missiles, Paladin artillery systems, HIMARS missile artillery, and several anti-ship and land-based missiles. The deliveries relate not only to the reduction in production capacity due to the Covid pandemic, but also to the fact that this is one of the most sensitive points in the United States of America’s relationship with China.

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