The Biden administration’s 2023 defense budget request falls far short of America’s strategic needs. The administration remains committed to concepts like “Integrated Deterrence,” a notion that the invasion of Ukraine showed to be strategically vacuous. Of equal importance is the budget’s proposed dollar amount, $813 billion: Given inflationary projections of above 7 percent, Biden’s proposed 4 percent increase amounts to a defense spending cut.
More relevant are the individual services’ budgets, which dictate the actual resource distribution between military capabilities. Specifically, the administration’s budget request for the Navy and its ship-retirement plans are cause for real concern. These suggest that the Sea Services have been tied to irrational political-economic and construction timelines that pay insufficient attention to the strategic consequences of their budgetary choices. A shrinking fleet does not simply send the wrong message to our foes in the abstract. In the concrete, the administration’s budgetary plans will diminish American combat power precisely when China is hungrily eyeing Taiwan.
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