The White House is asking Congress for a whopping $886.4 billion military budget for the fiscal year 2024, with $842 billion of it going to the Pentagon. The rest would go toward other federal agencies’ military spending, including the Energy Department’s nuclear weapons program.
The 2024 National Defense Authorization Act will likely be much higher than the White House request as Congress added tens of billions to the previous two military budgets. For 2023, President Biden requested $813 billion, but Congress added $45 billion, bringing the finalized NDAA to $858 billion.
Congress could easily bring the 2024 NDAA to over $900 billion, closing in on the $1 trillion mark. The NDAAs don’t include the funds authorized for the Ukraine war, which could add another $100 billion if the US keeps spending on the conflict at the same pace.
In a statement on the request, Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin said the funds were needed to confront China, which the Pentagon has identified as its top priority.
“The President’s budget request provides the resources necessary to address the pacing challenge from the People’s Republic of China, address advanced and persistent threats, accelerate innovation and modernization, and ensure operational resiliency amidst our changing climate,” Austin, a former Raytheon board member, said in a statement.
According to Responsible Statecraft, more than half of the budget will likely go to defense contractors, with Lockheed Martin, General Dynamics, Boeing, Northrop Grumman, and Raytheon getting the biggest chunk. The budget includes $170 billion for weapons procurement and $145 billion for the research and development of new arms.