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Joe Biden unveils annual budget with largest investments in America's national security history; DoD priorities China as its 'pacing challenge'

.US President Joe Biden said he is calling for one of the largest investments in US national security in history, with the funds needed "to ensure that its military remains the best-prepared, best-trained, best equipped military in the world"

March 29, 2022 / 09:36 AM IST
File image of United States President Joe Biden (Image Source: AFP)

File image of United States President Joe Biden (Image Source: AFP)

United States President Joe Biden on March 28 unveiled a whopping $5.8 trillion annual budget proposal that calls for the largest investments in the country's national security history, with the Department of Defense (DoD) prioritising China as its "pacing challenge."

"Budgets are statements of values, and the budget I am releasing today sends a clear message that we value fiscal responsibility, safety and security at home and around the world, and the investments needed to continue our equitable growth and build a better America," Biden said as his administration unveiled the second annual budget.

The administration, he said, is on track to reduce the federal deficit by more than $1.3 trillion this year, cutting in half the deficit from the last year of the previous administration and delivering the largest one-year reduction in the deficit in US history.

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"That's the direct result of my Administration's strategy to get the pandemic under control and grow the economy from the bottom up and the middle out," he said.

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"My budget will continue that progress, further reducing the deficit by continuing to support the economic growth that has increased revenues and ensuring that billionaires and large corporations pay their fair share," he added.

Biden said he is calling for one of the largest investments in US national security in history, with the funds needed "to ensure that its military remains the best-prepared, best-trained, best equipped military in the world".

"In addition, I'm calling for continued investment to forcefully respond to Putin's aggression against Ukraine with US support for Ukraine's economic, humanitarian, and security needs," he said.

Also Read | Joe Biden proposes $1.8 billion for Indo-Pacific Strategy

According to the White House, the President's budget includes a deficit neutral reserve fund to account for a future agreement, preserving the revenue from tax and prescription drug reforms the President proposed last year for this legislation for the investments needed to bring down costs for American families and expand our productive capacity.

The budget includes $6.9 billion for the European Deterrence Initiative, the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO), and countering Russian aggression to support Ukraine, the United States' strong partnerships with NATO allies, and other European partner states by bolstering funding to enhance the capabilities and readiness of US Forces, NATO allies, and regional partners in the face of Russian aggression.

It proposes $773 billion for the DoD. To sustain and strengthen deterrence, the Budget prioritises China as the Department's pacing challenge. DOD's 2023 Pacific Deterrence Initiative highlights some of the key investments the Department is making that are focused on strengthening deterrence in the Indo-Pacific region.

Also Read | Joe Biden proposes to increase developmental assistance to India in clean energy, digital economy

DOD is building the concepts, capabilities, and posture necessary to meet these challenges, working in concert with the interagency and our allies and partners to ensure our deterrence is integrated across domains, theatres, and the spectrum of conflict, it said. To sustain and strengthen deterrence, the Budget prioritises China as the Department's pacing challenge.

Beijing claims almost all of the 1.3 million square mile South China Sea as its sovereign territory. China has been building military bases on artificial islands in the region also claimed by Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan and Vietnam.

In the South China Sea, US officials have repeatedly said that Washington seeks to preserve peace and stability, uphold the freedom of the seas in a manner consistent with international law, maintain the unimpeded flow of commerce and oppose any attempt to use coercion or force to settle disputes.

Also Read | Joe Biden says remark on Vladimir Putin's power was about 'moral outrage', no change in US policy

To support American leadership in defending democracy, freedom, and security worldwide, the budget includes nearly $1.8 billion for the State Department and USAID to support a free and open, connected, secure, and resilient Indo-Pacific Region and the Indo-Pacific Strategy, and $400 million for the Countering Chinese Malign Influence Fund.

In addition, the budget provides nearly $1 billion in assistance to Ukraine for State Department, USAID, and Department of Defence to counter Russian malign influence and to meet emerging needs related to security, energy, cyber security issues, disinformation, macroeconomic stabilisation, and civil society resilience, it added.

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PTI
first published: Mar 29, 2022 08:13 am
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