Skip to content

Biden Proposes Record Budget for Pentagon Focused on China Defense Strategy

The Biden administration recently submitted an $886 billion budget proposal for the Pentagon to Congress, including the largest-ever requests for weapons procurement, research-and-development spending, and space-related activities, as part of its China-focused defense strategy.

Joe Biden
Joe Biden

The Biden administration recently submitted the "largest, nominal-dollar peacetime budget ever" for the Pentagon to Congress. The Pentagon's share of the fiscal 2024 budget request comes to $842 billion, with the Energy Department's nuclear weapons work and other federal projects included, totaling $886 billion.

The budget proposal includes the largest-ever requests for procuring weapons, research-and-development spending, and space-related activities. The defense spending plan continues the Biden administration's China-focused defense strategy.

The budget request is $25 billion more than the $816 billion Congress appropriated for 2023, roughly 3 percent higher, not counting inflation. A $170 billion procurement request is the largest ever, including the simultaneous purchase of new bombers, intercontinental ballistic missiles, and ballistic missile submarines that make up the nuclear triad.

The Pentagon seeks lawmakers' approval to sign multiyear procurement deals for five types of missiles: Naval Strike Missile, SM-6, AMRAAM, JASSM-ER, and LRASM. The request includes $145 billion for research-and-development projects and $29.8 billion for missile defense.

American soldiers
American soldiers

Budget Allocations for Different Branches of the Military


The 2024 budget envisions 452,000 active duty soldiers, 325,000 in the Army National Guard, and 174,800 in reserve. The Precision Strike Missile is budgeted at $273 million in research and development. The budget includes the Next Generation Squad Weapon procurement, including 17,112 rifles, 1,419 automatic rifles, and 14,932 fire control systems.

The Navy wants to buy nine ships, including one Columbia-class submarine, two Virginia-class subs, two Arleigh Burke-class destroyers, two Constellation-class frigates, a submarine tender replacement ship, and a John Lewis class fleet oiler. It has requested 35 F-35s for the Navy and Marine Corps.

Air Force and Space Force

The Air Force's 2024 budget request aims to speed up planned aircraft purchases and asks for 96 aircraft, including 72 fighter jets. The Air Force also plans to retire over 300 aircraft to free up funds for newer planes. The Air Force's research-and-development budget tops its procurement request, with plans to launch an effort to develop a new refueling tanker and a different effort to buy 1,000 drone wingmen. The budget request includes the largest-ever space budget request of $33.3 billion.