22 Jan 2023


President Biden's First Defense Budget Proposal

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Korb, L. & Toofan, K. (2021, March 10). An Opportunity for Change: President Biden’s First Defense Budget Proposal. Center for American Progress. 

The article is published by the Center for American Progress, an independent, nonpartisan policy institute, with the aim of researching policy issues to enhance policy understanding among Americans. The source is current and less than two months old, and it is addressing the military budgetary issue facing Biden's administration. It is relying on comprehensive literature to inform its content, as seen through the endnotes, making it scholarly. The article has two authors with national security and international policy experience. 

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The budget issue in question is the defense funding. In Trump's administration, the national defense budget has been the highest in the US budget, where the administration increased the federal defense budget by $100 billion from the previous administration. However, Obama’s administration had more defense expenditure than Trump's, considering the inflation factor. Trump's increase in funding the Department of Defense affected other departments' funding, such as the USAID and State Department, despite having security roles to perform. The article provides that Trump increased DOD's budget expenditure even after inheriting a well-organized and performing department that experienced no crisis from the previous administration. As a result, he set a pace that would be challenging for Biden to follow and balance funding across all defense departments. 

The issue presents a challenge because it requires a fiscal discipline that will affect the DOD for the proposed COVID-19 relief package to rescue the struggling Americans to succeed. However, fiscal discipline will mean reducing the current fiscal budget from the previous administration to balance the budgets for other state defense organizations. The reduction will require strategic and political decisions since watchers are monitoring the administration's move closely. The challenges present new strategic decisions that the administration can adopt towards the defense budget. First, Biden should be willing to reduce the proposed defense budget to fund other programs to balance the government operations. Reducing the budget will also provide finances to fund other departments that offer nonmilitary security services to increase internal security and humanitarian aid. The US military is well-equipped with infrastructure and personnel, but DOD cannot carry the full responsibility of maintaining national security. Therefore, Biden's administration should focus on funding the State Department uniformly to achieve state and national security goals. 

The authors also propose retention of the current military troops and adopt an increase in their pay. However, he may consider increasing the federal budget to continue supporting overseas operations in Afghanistan and Iraq to continue participating in maintaining world peace. Other aspects that may lead to a reduction in the federal defense budget include supporting the navy in shipbuilding programs and rejoining the Open Skies Treaty that Trump's administration had abandoned. However, doing so will require an increase in budget to allow the US to fund its missions. Other controversial issues impacting the budget decision include full-scale production for F-35s, which have received criticism over its design and software malfunctions and waste management challenges in the Pentagon. The budget issues are critical, and the president’s decision will affect the national security in the future, just like how the past administrations have subjected his administration to multiple problems calling for strategic decisions. However, focusing on improving national security through funding all security agencies will be more significant in Biden's administration. 

The change impacts security agencies, US citizens, and countries that rely on the US's humanitarian and security services. The State Department experienced a reduction in its budget, and increasing the budget will facilitate its mandate to provide national security. The DOD will experience the impact, but considering the annual waste they register annually, reducing the budget would make no impact on their expenditure. However, the US citizens will benefit most from the COVID-19 relief program after Biden's administration rolls it out to benefit them. Increasing the USAID budget will facilitate humanitarian services to countries in need of international aid. Additionally, the US will restore its troops in Afghanistan and Iraq to continue its peace-keeping missions to control civil wars in those countries. 

The article has clearly outline the challenge Biden’s administration is experiencing in making budget decisions. The problem emanates from the previous administration’s decisions to cut some defense department’s budget to fund the others. In my opinion, Biden administration should seek to balance its expenditure on national defense by funding the security agencies based on the scope of operations since all agencies have constitutionally recognized mandates towards national security. Thus, even if it means reducing the defense budget by $50 or $100 billion to channel the funds to other security agencies, the administration should do so. After all, it is only a fallacy to think that DOD holds full responsibility for the nation's security. Additionally, considering the current economic status, the administration should focus on passing the $1.9 trillion Covid-19 program to assist Americans. The military is well equipped with personnel and infrastructure, and it is not in a crisis compared to the affected citizens. Thus, reducing military expenditure will allow the country to resort to its humanitarian aid to its citizens and the development of national infrastructure. However, the administration should note that it cannot comprise the country's national security over other services. I concur with the article’s authors that the administration should take strategic approaches to balance funding across all departments. 

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StudyBounty. (2023, September 17). President Biden's First Defense Budget Proposal.


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