U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin (Lloyd J. Austin) said on Tuesday (March 28) that the Department of Defense’s budget request of $842 billion for fiscal year 2024 is largely due to strategic competition with China. The budget focuses on three priorities: defending the country, caring for service members and families, and developing stronger relationships and cooperation with partners and allies.
The Department of Defense budget for fiscal year 2024 is the highest ever, an increase of $26 billion, or 3.2%, from the previous year. Austin previously stated in a press release: “The People’s Republic of China is America’s greatest challenge, and this budget is designed to ensure that today, tomorrow, and every day in the future, the United States can meet this major challenge and ensure national security.”
“This is a strategically driven budget driven primarily by the seriousness of our strategic competition with the People’s Republic of China,” Austin said in testimony before the Senate Armed Services Committee.
Austin pointed out that China is an “increasing challenge” for the United States, so investment in the Indo-Pacific region will be an important part of the budget. The Pentagon is building more resilient forces in the Pacific, while also increasing the size of its complex exercises with regional partners.
The Pentagon’s proposed fiscal year 2024 budget includes a 40 percent increase in the Pacific Deterrence Initiative (PDI) budget. Austin said that the $9.1 billion proposed by PDI this year is the largest proposal in history, which is to put on a stronger force posture, strengthen the defense of Hawaii and Guam, and cooperate more deeply with regional allies and partners.
Austin said the Pentagon is deploying more troops on the front lines in the Pacific, while also working on airfields, logistics, operational domain awareness, resilience and more in places like Japan, Australia, Guam and the sovereign states participating in the Compact of Free Association. invest in.
Austin emphasized that the U.S. military is not fighting alone, so relations with allies and partner countries are also the focus of the 2024 fiscal year budget request.
“In recent months, our friends in the Indo-Pacific region have taken important steps forward. The Philippines has agreed to nearly double the number of locations we work with; Japan has pledged to double its defense spending; through the historic AUKUS (Australia, United Kingdom, United States) partnership, we will create a defensive advantage with our allies and change the rules of the game, which will deter aggression and improve the capabilities of our defense industry,” Austin said.
In the European segment, Austin mentioned that NATO is now stronger than ever in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. European partners have pledged nearly $20 billion to support Ukraine, while the United States itself has pledged more than $32.5 billion in security assistance to Ukraine.
Source: VOA Chinese