Government Funding Agreement Provides Critical Boost To Defense Spending At A Dangerous Time

Russia’s Unprovoked Invasion Of Ukraine Is A Reminder That Threats To The United States And Our Interests And Allies Around The World Have Not Diminished, Making The Increases In Defense Spending Secured By Republicans In The Bipartisan Government Funding Agreement All The More Essential


SENATE REPUBLICAN LEADER MITCH McCONNELL (R-KY): “This bipartisan government funding agreement is the major step forward that our national security needs. This is a dangerous time for the United States and our partners. This compromise legislation will enable us to invest in military modernization to keep pace with Russia and China and urgently deliver the emergency aid that the brave people of Ukraine desperately need. Republicans fought hard, over the objections of many Washington Democrats, to give our Armed Forces the resources they need. And we won. This agreement provides significantly more money than the Biden Administration requested for defense and significantly less money than the Administration requested for non-defense. At my insistence, it also provides much more money for Ukraine than Democrats had proposed, particularly for authorities and funding to deliver crucial military equipment to Ukraine quickly. Our military commanders have made it crystal clear that an endless cycle of continuing resolutions would have had nightmare consequences for the rebuilding and modernization of our Armed Forces. This full-year funding bill will give our commanders the resources and the predictability they desperately need.” (Sen. McConnell, Press Release, 3/09/2022)

SEN. RICHARD SHELBY (R-AL), Senate Appropriations Committee Vice Chairman: “After many months of work, in close cooperation with Chairman Leahy, we have reached an agreement to fund the government for the remainder of the current fiscal year. Throughout this process, I have insisted upon dollar-for-dollar parity for defense and non-defense increases, preservation of long-standing legacy riders, and the exclusion of partisan poison pills. I am pleased that we have achieved all three goals. The bill includes a $42 billion increase in defense spending, provides robust funding for border security, and preserves policies that protect life. It also provides critically needed emergency assistance for our allies that are resisting Russian aggression in Ukraine without decreasing base defense funding by a single dollar. The Omnibus rejects liberal policies and effectively addresses Republican priorities.” (U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee Vice Chairman, Press Release, 3/09/2022)


The Final Fiscal Year 2022 Defense Appropriations Bill, Included In The Government Funding Agreement, Features A Crucial 5% Boost In Defense Spending, Including A Military Pay Raise, Procurement Of More Ships And Aircraft, And A Further Down Payment On Force Modernization

“The Fiscal Year 2022 (FY22) Defense bill provides $728.32 billion – an increase of $32.51 billion (5%) over FY21 and $22.37 billion above the President’s budget request – to develop, maintain, and equip the military forces and intelligence community of the United States.” (U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee Republicans, Release, 3/09/2022)

“The agreement includes $166.9 billion for Military Personnel accounts, an increase of $9.1 billion above the FY21 enacted level and supports a military pay raise of 2.7%.” (U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee Republicans, Release, 3/09/2022)

“$26.7 billion for 13 battle force ships … [and] $1.8 billion for 16 additional C-130J aircraft to modernize two Air National Guard operational wings.” (U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee Republicans, Release, 3/09/2022)

“$831.7 million to improve the Department of Defense Test Infrastructure for testing of next-generation weapons; $564 million for the Navy’s Shipyard Infrastructure Optimization Plan; and $261 million for Space Force …” (U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee Republicans, Release, 3/09/2022)


The Funding Agreement Also Provides Critical Assistance To Ukraine And American Allies

“Provides $3.5 billion in authorities and associated funding to quickly provide crucial military equipment to Ukraine – double the request made by the Biden Administration. Provides in excess of $3 billion for the Department of Defense, including to re-position forces in response to Russia’s actions. Provides $650 million in Foreign Military Financing to build up the capacity of Ukraine and regional allies, including the Eastern flank countries. Authorizes Foreign Military Financing loans and loan guarantees to support Ukraine and NATO allies’ efforts to divest outdated Russian legacy military equipment, including fighter jets.” (U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee Republicans, Release, 3/09/2022)

“$1.4 billion to develop and implement U.S. military capabilities in the Indo-Pacific region; and $1 billion for ‘Iron Dome’, to meet Israel’s defense requirements …” (U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee Republicans, Release, 3/09/2022)


‘Putin’s Invasion Means The End Of Post-Cold War Illusions’ And America Needs To Get Serious About Funding And Seriously Upgrading Our Military

THE WALL STREET JOURNAL EDITORIAL BOARD: “Vladimir Putin’s assault on Ukraine has caused Germany to revolutionize its defense policy in less than a week. Will the Biden Administration have a similar awakening about defending Americans with dictators on the march? Progressives complain the Pentagon budget is larger than any other nation’s, but the truth is that defense spending is at historic lows. It’s heading to under 3% of the economy. Defense spending reached a postwar high of 9.1% in 1968 but never fell below 4.5% even in the 1970s, reaching a high of 6% in 1986 at the height of the Reagan buildup that helped win the Cold War. American military power in the last two decades has been burned up in counterterrorism operations, and the current force may be too small and geriatric to crush a peer military, let alone aggression on two fronts.” (Editorial, “Rebuilding U.S. Defenses After Ukraine,” The Wall Street Journal, 3/07/2022)

  • “The precedent here is Jimmy Carter, who began his Administration bemoaning the ‘inordinate fear of Communism’ but did a 180-degree turn three years later and began a defense buildup as the Soviets gained ground around the world. Mr. Biden has wanted to focus on domestic affairs but Presidents have to deal with the world as it is. Mr. Putin’s invasion means the end of post-Cold War illusions, and it heralds an age of new threats to our allies and the homeland. Americans don’t want to learn through defeat that, as retired Lt. Gen David Deptula has warned, ‘the only thing more expensive than a first-rate military is a second-rate one.’” (Editorial, “Rebuilding U.S. Defenses After Ukraine,” The Wall Street Journal, 3/07/2022)

THE WALL STREET JOURNAL EDITORIAL BOARD: “Controlling the skies is indispensable to American warfighting in any theater, but the U.S. Air Force fighter inventory has fallen to about 2,000 from 4,000 aircraft in 1991 and the average age is 29 years old, up from 11.5 then. The Air Force has cannibalized readiness to buy more capable equipment, which it also needs to stay competitive. President Trump’s Air Force Secretary, Heather Wilson, was right that to deal with “the world as it is” the U.S. needs 386 squadrons by 2030, up from 312—especially more bomber and tanker squadrons to cope with distance in the Pacific. The Navy is working at the same clip as the Cold War with half as many ships, and the fleet is smaller and older than China’s navy. The sea service needs and wants many more attack submarines—a potent defense against China—but the Navy lacks the maintenance yards to keep up with even current inventory. Carriers need attack aircraft with longer range.” (Editorial, “Rebuilding U.S. Defenses After Ukraine,” The Wall Street Journal, 3/07/2022)

THE WALL STREET JOURNAL EDITORIAL BOARD: “Any conflict would require enormous amounts of munitions, and on current plans U.S. forces could run out of some of the most lethal and important stuff in weeks. The Pentagon needs to ramp up planned purchases of long-range antiship and joint air-to-surface standoff missiles—now. But it can’t afford to stop working on hypersonics or offensive cyber, which means spending will have to increase.” (Editorial, “Rebuilding U.S. Defenses After Ukraine,” The Wall Street Journal, 3/07/2022)


Ukraine’s Plight Is Rallying ‘Support In Congress For More Military Spending,’ ‘Deal[ing] A Blow To Those Pressing To Scale [It] Back’: ‘The Left Lost The Battle On Pentagon Spending’

SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R-SC), Senate Appropriations Committee, Subcommittee on Defense Member: “The reality of the moment has hit — a stronger America is a safer world, right?” (“Progressives Grit Their Teeth As Defense Wins Big In Spending Bill,” Politico, 3/08/2022)

“Now, facing a military onslaught by President Vladimir V. Putin in Ukraine, and rising fears of a protracted war in Europe and an emboldened China, lawmakers in both parties — including some who had resisted in the past — are pressing for vast increases in military spending to address a changed security landscape…. Beyond funding immediate needs, the consensus around more generous Pentagon spending previews a dynamic that is likely to drive negotiations around next year’s defense budget, potentially locking in the kind of large increases that Mr. Biden and many Democrats had hoped to end.” (“War in Ukraine Rallies Support in Congress for More Military Spending,” The New York Times, 3/07/2022)

“Mr. Biden last weekend authorized a $350 million package of weapons that included Javelin antitank missiles and Stinger antiaircraft missiles as well as small arms and munitions, a shipment that represented the largest single authorized transfer of arms from U.S. military warehouses to another country. Many lawmakers want to go further. Several Republican senators have endorsed setting up a separate fund to support the Ukrainian resistance, signaling an appetite to continue arming those in Ukraine willing to fight for an extended period of time, even in the event their government falls…. Lawmakers are eyeing long-term solutions, too, in Europe and beyond. At an Armed Services Committee hearing last week, both Republicans and Democrats endorsed increasing the U.S. military presence in the Baltics.” (“War in Ukraine Rallies Support in Congress for More Military Spending,” The New York Times, 3/07/2022)

“The war in Ukraine has also spurred concerns that Mr. Putin’s campaign will embolden President Xi Jinping, who has long sought to bring Taiwan back under Chinese rule, leaving some lawmakers to conclude that additional military support both in Europe and in the East is necessary. ‘Our unified response in Ukraine should send a message of deterrence to Beijing of what will await if they invade Taiwan,’ said Senator Todd Young, Republican of Indiana.” (“War in Ukraine Rallies Support in Congress for More Military Spending,” The New York Times, 3/07/2022)

“The rapid shift in thinking is a setback for progressives who had hoped that unified Democratic control of the House, the Senate and the White House would translate into a smaller Pentagon budget and a reduced footprint of American troops around the world.” (“War in Ukraine Rallies Support in Congress for More Military Spending,” The New York Times, 3/07/2022)


Putin’s War On Ukraine Is A Reminder Of The Dangerous World Faced By America And Our Friends

‘With No Sign Of Russian President Vladimir Putin Backing Away, The War Appears Likely To Drag On,’ And ‘Whether And How The Conflict Might Expand Is A Major Concern In The West’

“Two weeks into its war in Ukraine, Russia has achieved less and struggled more than anticipated at the outset of the biggest land conflict in Europe since World War II. But the invading force of more than 150,000 troops retains large and possibly decisive advantages in firepower as they bear down on key cities.” (“Ukraine War At 2-Week Mark: Russians Slowed But Not Stopped,” The Associated Press, 3/09/2022)

“Two weeks of war have created a humanitarian crisis in Ukraine that has accelerated in recent days. The United Nations estimates that 2 million Ukrainians have fled their country, and the number is expected to grow.” (“Ukraine War At 2-Week Mark: Russians Slowed But Not Stopped,” The Associated Press, 3/09/2022)

“With no sign of Russian President Vladimir Putin backing away, the war appears likely to drag on. CIA Director William Burns told a congressional panel Tuesday that Putin is frustrated and likely to ‘double down’ in Ukraine. He said that could mean ‘an ugly next few weeks’ as the fighting intensifies.” (“Ukraine War At 2-Week Mark: Russians Slowed But Not Stopped,” The Associated Press, 3/09/2022)

“Whether and how the conflict might expand is a major concern in the West, not least because Putin has said he will not tolerate unlimited U.S. or NATO arms supplies to Ukraine. NATO in turn has warned against the Russian conflict spilling over Ukraine’s border into a NATO country like Poland or Romania….  Some worry that a frustrated Putin could escalate the conflict in dangerous ways. A few days into the war, he invoked the prospect of nuclear war by announcing he had put his nuclear forces on heightened alert, although U.S. officials detected no threatening changes in Russia’s nuclear posture.” (“Ukraine War At 2-Week Mark: Russians Slowed But Not Stopped,” The Associated Press, 3/09/2022)


‘Ukraine Is A Revelation For Taiwan’ Where ‘Beijing Has Raised Tensions By Ratcheting Up Displays Of Military Might’

“The psychological impact of the war in Ukraine has hit hard in Taiwan, a small democracy that, like Ukraine, lives under the cloud of conflict with a vastly more powerful authoritarian neighbor. News from the battlefront some 5,000 miles away has dominated headlines and airwaves on the island. Pundits, government officials and ordinary citizens are using the opportunity to imagine what a similar conflict would look like for its population of 23 million…. “Ukraine is a revelation for Taiwan,” Cheng Hung-yi, a political commentator who supports Taiwanese independence, said on a recent talk show, echoing a sentiment expressed across Taiwanese traditional and social media in recent days…. [J]ust as Mr. Putin argues that Ukraine is an artificial construct, Chinese leaders in Beijing see Taiwan as merely a part of China, and have vowed to take control of it by force if necessary. Like Ukraine’s military, Taiwan’s defenses would face a vastly larger and better-equipped foe in the event of an invasion.” (“In Taiwan, Russia’s War In Ukraine Stirs New Interest In Self-Defense,” The Wall Street Journal, 3/04/2022)

“Beijing has raised tensions by ratcheting up displays of military might around the island. In response to tightening ties between Washington and Taipei, China’s People’s Liberation Army has sent jet fighters and bomber aircraft on sorties near Taiwan’s airspace on a nearly daily basis over the past two years. The outbreak of war in Ukraine has led political analysts in the U.S. and Taiwan to ponder whether Washington might be so distracted by Mr. Putin that it takes its eye off Chinese leader Xi Jinping and his designs on Taiwan.” (“In Taiwan, Russia’s War In Ukraine Stirs New Interest In Self-Defense,” The Wall Street Journal, 3/04/2022)

“Taiwan scrambled its air force [in February] as nine Chinese aircraft have entered the island nation’s air defense zone, the Taiwan Ministry of Defense announced. A small fleet of eight J-16 fighters and a Yun-8 technical reconnaissance aircraft breached the air space. The Taiwanese aircrafts broadcast a warning and monitored the Chinese fleet’s activities. … Taiwan increased its alert levels as Russia launched a full-scale invasion of Ukraine Thursday local time. China criticized the move by saying Taiwan is ‘not Ukraine.’ Chinese Defense Ministry spokesman Tan Kefei stressed that Taiwan was a ‘core issue’ for China and it would tolerate no foreign interference.” (“Taiwan warns Chinese aircraft flying in air defense zone day of Russia-Ukraine invasion,” Fox News, 2/24/2022)

Chinese Officials Are Also Attempting To Intimidate The United States And Our Indo-Pacific Allies Against Building A Pacific Version Of NATO

“China warned the U.S. against trying to build what it called a Pacific version of NATO, while declaring that security disputes over Taiwan and Ukraine were ‘not comparable at all.’ Foreign Minister Wang Yi told his annual news briefing Monday that the ‘real goal’ of the U.S.’s Indo-Pacific strategy was to form Asia’s answer to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. China has often accused the U.S. of trying to form blocs to suppress its growth, a complaint that’s likely to attract greater attention after President Vladimir Putin cited similar grievances before his invasion of Ukraine. ‘The perverse actions run counter to the common aspiration of the region for peace, development, cooperation and win-win outcomes,’ Wang added. ‘They are doomed to fail.’” (“China Warns U.S. Over Forming Pacific NATO, Backing Taiwan,” Bloomberg News, 3/07/2022)

CHINESE FOREIGN MINISTER WANG YI: “This would not only push Taiwan into a precarious situation, but will also bring unbearable consequences for the U.S. side… Taiwan will eventually return to the embrace of the motherland.” (“China Warns U.S. Over Forming Pacific NATO, Backing Taiwan,” Bloomberg News, 3/07/2022)


Iran Is ‘Believed To Be Only Several Weeks Away From Enriching Enough Uranium To Create A Nuclear Bomb’

“With Iran believed to be only several weeks away from enriching enough uranium to create a nuclear bomb… Iran has regularly denied intending to build a nuclear weapon, but it has enriched uranium to 60 percent, a level that has no civilian use, and has created uranium metal that would be required to build a bomb.” (“Iran Nuclear Deal Nears Completion, but Russia Poses Complication,” The New York Times, 3/08/2022)

  • “The IAEA estimated in its November report that Tehran's stock of enriched uranium was just under 2.5 tonnes, more than 12 times the 202.8-kg (446-pound) limit imposed by the deal, but less than the more than five tonnes it had before the deal. That said, it is now enriching to a higher level than the 20% it reached before the deal and has around 17.7 kg of uranium enriched to up to 60%, which is close to the roughly 90% purity of weapons grade. It takes around 25 kg of weapons-grade uranium to make one nuclear bomb.” (“Explainer: How Close Is Iran To Being Able To Build A Nuclear Bomb?,” Reuters, 2/22/2022)

“Based on the International Atomic Energy Agency's last quarterly report on Iran's nuclear activities, which was published in November, experts have generally put breakout time at around three to six weeks but say weaponisation would take longer - often roughly two years. Israel's finance minister said in November that Iran could have nuclear weapons within five years. Estimating breakout time is not an exact science, and it is even harder to say where it would stand under an agreement that has yet to be finalised or published. But initial rough estimates put it around six months, diplomats and analysts say.” (“Explainer: How Close Is Iran To Being Able To Build A Nuclear Bomb?,” Reuters, 2/22/2022)

Iran Continues to Provide Arms And Assistance To The Houthis In Yemen, As They Attack Saudi Arabia And The United Arab Emirates

“The U.S. Navy said it seized a large cache of assault rifles and ammunition being smuggled by a fishing ship from Iran likely bound for war-ravaged Yemen…. It's just the latest interdiction amid the grinding war in Yemen that pits Iran-backed Houthi rebels against a Saudi-led military coalition. Western nations and U.N. experts repeatedly have accused Iran of smuggling illicit weapons and technology into Yemen over the years, fueling the civil war and enabling the Houthis to fire missiles and drones into neighboring Saudi Arabia.” (“US Navy Says It Seizes Arms From Iran Likely Bound For Yemen,” The Associated Press, 12/23/2021)

“The United States will help the United Arab Emirates replenish interceptors it uses to knock down incoming missiles following a spate of unprecedented attacks by Houthi fighters in Yemen, the U.S. general overseeing Middle East operations told Reuters. In recent weeks, the Iran-aligned Houthis have waged a string of largely failed strikes on UAE targets that have triggered Emirati and U.S. air defenses and have even seen American troops based there briefly taking shelter.” (“U.S. To Help UAE Replenish Missile Defense Interceptors After Houthi Attacks,” Reuters, 2/10/2022)

“[T]he Houthis fired missiles at Abu Dhabi in January. These missiles are home-assembled in Yemen with the technical assistance of Iran and Hezbollah. The Houthis have been firing missiles at targets in Saudi Arabia for years. The tempo has increased; to 33 in the first nine months of 2021 from 14 attacks in the first nine months of the previous year. The bulk of the target sites are in the Saudi provinces adjacent to Yemen but Riyadh has been hit multiple times. The missile attacks on Abu Dhabi have been accompanied by drones. The drone attacks have been claimed by a pro-Iranian Iraqi militia which has also hit Riyadh in the past. One of the Houthi strikes came as Israeli President Isaac Herzog was visiting Abu Dhabi. The Houthis have long called for the destruction of Israel.” (“Yemen War Spreads To The UAE,” Brookings, 2/10/2022)

Iran Is Also Using Drones To Supply Palestinian Terrorists With Weapons

“Israel accused Iran of trying to use long-range drones to fly small arms to Palestinian militants in the West Bank and Gaza Strip in an evolution in Tehran’s use of unmanned vehicles against its Middle East rival. Israeli military officials said they used F-35 jet fighters to shoot down two drones launched from Iran in March last year, marking the first time the advanced planes have been used to bring down unmanned vehicles. On Monday, nearly a year after the incident, the Israeli military released video from the F-35s showing the shoot down of the drones and details of the subsequent investigation.” (“Israel Says Iran Tried to Fly Arms to Hamas Using Drones,” The Wall Street Journal, 3/07/2022)


North Korea May Be Preparing For Its First Nuclear Test Since 2017 As The Rogue Regime Has Launched Nine Missile Tests So Far In 2022

“North Korea has started construction at its main nuclear-testing facility for the first time in nearly four years, new satellite imagery shows, following a recent suggestion by Pyongyang that it could return to major weapons launches. Newly detected activity at the Punggye-ri test site—where all six of North Korea’s nuclear tests to date have occurred—include construction of a new building and possible repairs to another, according to researchers at the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies who studied images taken Friday by Maxar Technologies. The images also showed other possible signs of continuing work, from suspected piles of lumber to sawdust, the researchers added.” (“North Korea Restarts Work at Punggye-ri Nuclear Testing Site, Report Says,” The Wall Street Journal, 3/08/2022)

  • “But external attention returned to Punggye-ri again recently, after North Korea’s Politburo suggested at a January meeting that the country might resume ICBM or nuclear tests. It promised action in the face of what it described as an unrelenting threat from the U.S., including a pledge to ‘promptly examine the issue of restarting all temporarily suspended activities,’ state media reported. … U.S. intelligence officers believe that North Korea has begun to lay the groundwork for an increase in tensions that “could include ICBM or possibly a nuclear test this year,” said the annual threat assessment from the U.S. intelligence community, which was released Tuesday and presented to Congress.” (“North Korea Restarts Work at Punggye-ri Nuclear Testing Site, Report Says,” The Wall Street Journal, 3/08/2022)

“North Korea fired a single ballistic missile into waters off the east of the Korean Peninsula on [March 5th], according to South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS), the country's ninth such test of the year. … International tension has been rising over a recent series of North Korean ballistic missile tests, actions long banned by the United Nations Security Council. This marks North Korea's ninth missile test in 2022. January saw a record number of such tests, with at least seven launches during the month including a new type of ‘hypersonic missile’ able to maneuver at high speed.” (“North Korea Launches 9th Missile Test Of The Year,” CNN, 3/05/2022)



Related Issues: Russia, China, Iran, America's Military, Appropriations, National Security, North Korea