New boom for arms makers as US military spending rises

WASHINGTON: The prospect of growing military threats from China and Russia is drawing bipartisan support for increased Pentagon spending, creating another potential boom for arms makers that is expected to extend beyond the war in ukraine. Congress is on track in the coming week to give final approval to a national military budget for the current fiscal year that is expected to reach about $858 billion – $45 billion more than President Biden said. had asked.
If approved at this level, the Pentagon budget will have grown 4.3% per year over the past two years – even after inflation – compared to an average of less than 1% per year in real dollars between 2015 and 2021, according to an analysis by the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments for New York Times. Procurement spending would rise sharply next year, including a 55% increase in funding for the military to buy new missiles and a 47% increase for navy arms purchases.
On Friday, Jake Sullivan, Biden’s national security adviser, framed the buildup in strategic terms, saying the war in Ukraine exposed gaps in the country’s military industrial base that needed to be filled to ensure states States are “capable of supporting Ukraine and being able to deal with contingencies elsewhere in the world”.
Lockheed Martin, the nation’s largest military contractor, had booked more than $950 million of its own military missile orders with the Pentagon, in part to replenish stocks used in Ukraine. The military has awarded Raytheon Technologies more than $2 billion in contracts to deliver missile systems to expand or replenish weapons used to aid Ukraine.
“We’ve gone through six years of Stingers in 10 months,” Raytheon chief executive Gregory J Hayes said in an interview earlier this month, referring to 1,600 of the company’s shoulder-fired anti-aircraft missiles sent by the United States in Ukraine. “So it will take us several years to restock and replenish.”
But those contracts are just the tip of what’s shaping up to be a big new defense buildup. Next year, military spending is on track to reach its highest level in inflation-adjusted terms since the peaks in the costs of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan between 2008 and 2011, and the second highest in terms adjusted for inflation since World War II – a level that is more than the budgets of the other 10 largest Cabinet agencies combined.
Even more orders are coming in from military contractors to US allies in Europe and Asia, as they too have concluded they must do more to arm themselves against growing global threats. Japan decided this month to double its defense spending over the next five years, setting aside a pacifist stance it has largely maintained since 1945.
And none of that counts about $18 billion in planned but now delayed US arms shipments to arm Taiwan against a possible future attack from China.
The combination of the Ukrainian War and the growing consensus on the emergence of a new era of superpower confrontation prompts to ensure that the military industrial base can meet surges in demand. The issue has become urgent in some cases as the United States and its NATO allies seek to maintain the flow of arms to Ukraine without reducing their own stockpiles to worrying levels. The Ukrainian military exhausted the missile production capacity of Western suppliers within months.
The annual military authorization bill that passed the Senate on Thursday prevents the Air Force and Navy from removing aging weapon systems that the military would like to decommission. At the same time, it includes billions of dollars in extra money to build even more new ships and planes than the Pentagon itself has asked for, including $2.2 billion for a single guided-missile destroyer. guided by the Navy, according to the Senate Armed Services Committee. Spending could be even higher as Congress is also considering a request for an additional $21.7 billion for the Pentagon, on top of the already increased 2023 annual budget, to allocate more money to resupply materials used in Ukraine. .


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