DoD cites threats in Indo-Pacific in requesting record defense budget

The U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) cited threats and challenges posed by China and North Korea in requesting an increase in defense expenditures to a new record amount on Monday. The defense department is requesting US$842 billion in spending for the fiscal year 2024, a 3.2 percent increase from the defense budget enacted in FY 2023 and a whopping 13.4 percent spike from the amount enacted in FY 2022, according to Deputy Secretary of Defense Kathleen Hicks. "Whether for tackling the pacing challenge from the People's Republic of China, or confronting the acute threat of Russian aggression in Europe, deterring the threats from Iran, North Korea and global terrorist organizations or ensuring joint force effectiveness in the face of global challenges like climate change and biological threats, all of these are challenges DoD confronts every day," Hicks told a press briefing. "Our goal is to deter because competition does not mean conflict. Still, we must have the combat credibility to win if we must fight," she added. The deputy secretary said the department will invest 50 percent more than it did five years ago to purchase munitions, calling the FY 2024 budget a "procurement budget." "This latest budget expands production capacity even more and procures the maximum amount of munitions that are most relevant for deterring and if necessary, prevailing over aggression in the Indo-Pacific," she said. The move comes amid evolving nuclear and missile threats posed by North Korea. Pyongyang fired an unprecedented 69 ballistic missiles, including eight intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs), last year, setting a new record of ballistic missiles fired in a single year. Its previous record was 25. "This budget has many areas of critical investment," said Hicks. "The first is a series of investments to strengthen our military's so-called kill chains and disrupt adversary kill chains, making it easier for us to see, sense and shoot and making it harder for adversaries to do that to us." "They also afford us the ability to disrupt potential adversaries at the military systems level, ensuring that in conflict, adversary forces will be less than the sum of their parts," she added.

Source: Yonhap News Agency

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