Challenges, expectations and costs in the US 2021 defense budget

PANAGYURISHTE, (BM) – On February 10, 2020, then-US President Donald Trump made his proposal for the US defense budget for FY2021. A defense budget totaling $ 740.5 billion has been submitted to Congress. Of that, $ 705.4 billion earmarked for the Department of Defense.

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On February 24, 2021, the Government Accounting Office or GAO assumed the new US defense budget totaling $ 733 billion. The difference between the two proposals is a little over $ 7 billion, which can show us that the US government’s decision will be within these limits with maki or some deviations.

To this day (April 10), Donald Trump’s proposal is still on the Department of Defense’s official website. That is why we will look at it as fundamental to Joe Biden’s actions and compare what Biden could change in the defense budget.

The focus of the FY2021 defense budget

As mentioned above, the Department of Defense has requested $ 705.4 billion from the US Congress. By comparison, in 2020, Congress gave Trump 0.1% less – 704.6 billion dollars. This defense budget can only tell us that the United States will continue to develop programs that are a priority of the state, and at least in 2021, the financing of new weapons programs is not expected.

Donald Trump proposed to Congress that the DoD will spend money on the following areas: recapitalization of US nuclear capabilities to counter and deter, invest in cybersecurity and space warfare, and joint-funds in all five domains – air, land, sea, space, and cyber.


Some of the United States’ investments through the new defense budget for fiscal 2021 describes in detail in Donald Trump’s proposal.

For example, the United States will spend $ 28.9 billion on the country’s nuclear modernization. This investment includes allocating this money to both the country’s nuclear command and the modernization of missiles for US bombers, submarines, and ground-based strategic deterrence and long-range missiles.

$ 20.3 billion goes for US air defenses, including THAAD and AEGIS.

$ 27.8 billion Donald Trump proposes to invest in the country’s space forces ($ 18 billion) and cybersecurity ($ 9.8 billion). Interestingly, nearly $ 1.63 billion earmarked for the development of artificial intelligence systems and cloud services alone.

A total of $ 89.2 billion goes to the United States Air Force ($ 56.9 billion) and the US Navy ($ 32.3 billion). The ground forces receive $ 13 billion to invest in Abrams tanks and various combat vehicles. $ 21.3 billion earmarked for ammunition.

Research and development

Donald Trump is proposing $ 106.6 billion from the defense budget in 2020 to research and develop. According to analysts, this is the most significant amount allocated by the United States for this area. The United States will invest this money in technologies called Advanced Capabilities Enablers (ACEs). Here are some of the costs offered:

Just over $ 3 billion goes to developments in hypersonic weapons systems and $ 1.5 billion to developments in 5G technology. Separately, $ 1.7 billion goes to the development of weapons in the field of autonomous systems.

$ 21 billion goes for renovating the State Department’s existing building stock, including new buildings and facilities.

$ 69 billion earmarked for Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO), incl. Direct War Requirements, OCO for Enduring Requirements, and OCO for Base Requirements.

What does GAO offer?

A GAO study shows that the new US government can reduce some defense spending, but not in one area. Specifically, GAO proposes to pay attention to:

  1. Improving budgeting execution of funds – according to GAO, the Department of Defense has a surplus of funds from previous budgets. Financiers suggest in this case that the Department of Defense does not make full use of defense funds, which will help reduce defense budget spending for fiscal 2021.
  2. More clearly determining future resource requirements related to overseas contingency operations – the US is not fully aware of its missions abroad’s exact costs. According to the GAO, they should not be part of the country’s overall defense budget.
  3. Reducing improper payments – it turns out that an audit of the Department of Defense’s costs found incorrect payments, erroneous payments, or payments that the DoD could have avoided. GAO recommends strict controls in this area.
  4. Sustaining and refining department-wide business reform efforts – better business management. Although the GAO reports progress in this area, there are still incorrectly documented costs and materials, leading to confusion and misreporting.

The challenges facing Biden’s administration

Almost all analysts claim that US President Joe Biden has inherited an excellent but large defense budget. In total, the US defense budget in 2021 is more significant than that of the following nine countries in the ranking of the top 10 most enormous defense budgets.

According to Joe Biden, Donald Trump has left visual discipline in the background, which is a problem. Although “complaints” in Congress about a large defense budget are made almost every year, the COVID-19 epidemic is a challenge that could force Joe Biden to cut spending.

A similar statement was made by General Mark Millie in his speech on December 9, 2020, at the Brookings Institution. But Donald Trump’s increased defense budget is at the expense of reduced spending on other agencies. For example, the US State Department and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) received less money, although they are also part of national security.

Joe Biden expects to face resistance this and next year from any attempt to cut the defense budget. Defense analysts and observers will monitor Biden’s actions, but it is unknown whether they will appreciate his trade-offs in defense spending.

All this could reflect on Biden’s proposal for the 2022 defense budget.


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