Austin, Brown Underscore Importance of Passing DOD's Proposed FY25 Budget

  • Published
  • By Matthew Olay
  • DOD News

Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Air Force Gen. CQ Brown, Jr., testified to the importance of passing the Defense Department's fiscal year 2025 budget request during a House Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense hearing today.

The $849.8 billion request aligns with DOD's top three priorities of defending the nation, taking care of Defense Department personnel and their families and succeeding through teamwork, according to Austin.

"We made tough but responsible decisions that prioritize near-term readiness, modernization of the joint force and support for our troops and their families," Austin said of the proposed budget, which he noted meets the mandatory cap of the Fiscal Responsibility Act of 2023.  

"The president's request will invest in cutting edge capabilities across all domains," Austin told the subcommittee. He then listed the following proposed investments in the nation's defense: 

  • $167.5 billion in procurement;  
  • $143.2 billion for research and development; 
  • $61.2 billion to reinforce the military's air dominance; 
  • $49.2 billion to modernize and recapitalize the country's nuclear triad; 
  • $33.7 billion to bolster the space architecture;  
  • $14.5 billion for the development and fielding of advanced cybersecurity tools; and 
  • $13 billion for Army and Marine Corps combat capabilities. 

In addition to the budget proposal for the coming fiscal year, Brown and Austin also spoke in favor of approving a nearly $60 billion supplemental budget request for fiscal year 2024.  

That request, which the Senate approved in February but has yet to be passed by the House, would provide aid to our partners in Ukraine, Israel and Taiwan — as well as investing in America's industrial base, according to Austin.


"We don't provide funds to Ukraine. We provide materiel in terms of weapons, vehicles [and] munitions," said Austin. "All of those things are replaced by us … And the replacements are designed and built in our industry, so that means good American jobs for the people of America."

Austin added that the supplemental request would invest a flow of $50 billion across 30 states in the U.S. 

Failure to pass the supplemental request would have an adverse effect on the joint force, according to Michael McCord, undersecretary of defense (comptroller) and chief financial officer for DOD, who also testified at the hearing. 

McCord said that DOD would have to work with the Appropriations Committee and other committees to try and reprogram funds; hopefully not from direct readiness, but from programs like facilities maintenance and equipment maintenance. "So, there is an impact on our forces and our readiness as well if we can't get the supplemental passed." 

Brown said passing the supplemental budget request would show leadership on behalf of the U.S. 

"I've been in this job six months and I've had about 150 engagements with my counterparts from around the world, and they often talk about U.S. leadership," said Brown. "I can tell you it's watched, it's desired [and it's] sending a message of where our commitments are."    

One such commitment proposed in the fiscal year 2025 defense budget is the allotment of $9.9 billion for the Pacific Deterrence Initiative, which is a program aimed at addressing the pacing challenge presented by China's government.  

Within the PDI, "Major investments and efforts across the [DOD] are focused on strengthening Indo-Pacific deterrence and building a resilient security architecture as part of a modernized Joint Force," according to the proposed budget.

"We're investing in those things that are achievable," Austin said, in response to being questioned about the status of the PDI. "I think there are always … additional things that we can go after; but I think we've made the right choices in investing in things that we can actually achieve here in the near term."

As to making people a priority, Austin and Brown said the proposed budget includes raises in base pay and housing allowances, investments in better military housing, increased affordability of childcare and investments in combating suicide and sexual assault in the military. 

"Enhancing the quality of service and the quality of life of our personnel is not just a moral obligation; it's a strategic imperative," Brown said. "We must create an environment where all can reach their full potential." 

"The single, greatest way that Congress can support the [Defense] Department is to pass predictable, sustained and timely appropriations," Austin told the subcommittee. 

"The United States is the most lethal fighting force on earth; and with your help, we're going to keep it that way."

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