(NewsNation) — President Joe Biden requested the largest defense budget proposed in decades last week, in the wake of heightening tensions with China and Russia.
At $842 billion, the budget’s priority is to speed up production of munitions. This will help reinforce Ukraine, which has been rapidly using up weapons in its stand against Russia.
The budget also focuses on countering growing aggression from China, with $30 billion allocated for missile defense in the Indo-Pacific region.
The proposed budget increase reflects how tensions with Russia and China could flare up at any moment. Russia’s takedown of a U.S Air Force drone over international waters on Tuesday highlights the continued tension.
China announced it would also be increasing its defense budget by 7.2%. This increase is up slightly from last year’s 7.1% rate of increase.
“China is arming itself very effectively. Sometime in the next year or two, China is going to get to about 400 ships in their Navy, for example. The U.S has 325,” said Braden Allenby of the ASU Consortium for Emerging Technologies.
Now, the budget for the U.S. could increase again. That’s in part to meet the higher cost of weapons and parts, but also to answer the vulnerabilities the Ukraine war has exposed in the U.S. defense industrial base and the strategic threat the U.S. sees from China’s rapidly growing nuclear arsenal, its hypersonic capabilities and its gains in space.
Even if it only grows to account for inflation, “the budget will hit a trillion dollars,” probably before the next five years, Pentagon comptroller Mike McCord told a press briefing. “Maybe that’s going to be a psychological, big watershed moment for many of us, or some of us, but it is inevitable.”
Meanwhile, new data from the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute shows the U.S. growing its lead in the global arms sales race with 40% of the global arms exports. This is nearly twice as much as Russia, which sits at third globally. China exports just 5% of arms globally.
Russia’s arms exports fell by 31% between 2017 and 2022, the report indicates. The war in Ukraine is likely to chip away at Russia’s ability to sell arms even further.
One result of the sanctions is to cut off these kinds of supplies. From chips used in arms systems to tanks and other sophisticated weaponry, Russia is unable to get their hands on them.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.