On 9 April, US president Joe Biden made a ‘defence’ budget request of $753bn for the coming fiscal year. Journalist Glenn Greenwald described this as the “largest Pentagon budget in history”. He added, sarcastically:
I’m really surprised that after Biden chose a member of the Board of Directors of Raytheon to be his Secretary of Defense, the Pentagon is seeking a record military budget of $753 billion
The US Department of Defense’s budget has been growing wildly for many years. Its ‘base budget’ grew from $364.9bn in the 2003 fiscal year to $636.4bn in 2021. Dozens of billions more have gone to the department’s controversial ‘Overseas Contingency Operations’ war fund. Even then, that’s not everything the US spends on the military; because additional annual costs have run above $200bn for the last three years.
The US military also gets multiple times the money that the world’s other largest militaries get. As Senator Bernie Sanders tweeted:
2020 Military Spending:
We should not spend more than the next 12 nations combined on defense.
— Bernie Sanders (@SenSanders) April 12, 2021
A White House fact sheet argued that the new budget proposal prioritised ‘countering China’ as the Department of Defense’s “top challenge”. This comes in a context of increasingly hostile US rhetoric and actions against China.