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$200B+ FOR TECH IN THE FY2025 DOD BUDGET REQUEST?

What a Look At the Numbers Reveals. Does It Support The 2022 NDS?

Strategy Central – June 1, 2024



KEY TECH SUPPORTING THE 2022 NATIONAL DEFENSE STRATEGY

The 2022 National Defense Strategy (NDS) emphasizes leveraging advanced technologies to counter the multi-domain threat the People's Republic of China (PRC) poses. These technologies are crucial for maintaining a strategic advantage and ensuring the security of the United States. Did the FY2025 DoD Budget request for critical technologies get it right?


The FY2025 Defense Department budget makes significant investments across various advanced technologies and defense capabilities, demonstrating a strong commitment to maintaining and enhancing the United States' military edge. Key focus areas include cyber capabilities, artificial intelligence, hypersonic weapons, space operations, quantum computing, and missile defense systems. Here's a detailed look at these technologies, their expenditures, reasons for their importance, and their intended purposes:


Cyber Capabilities:

The FY2025 budget allocates $14.5 billion to cyberspace activities, reflecting the strategic importance of cybersecurity and cyber operations. This funding supports the three enduring cyberspace missions: defending the DoD Information Network, defending the nation, and preparing to win and fight the nation's wars. Key investments include $7.4 billion for cybersecurity to enhance cyber tools and capabilities, $6.4 billion for cyberspace operations to support offensive and defensive actions, and $629.4 million for cyber research and development to advance next-generation technologies and cyber defenses.


Artificial Intelligence (AI):

AI is a critical focus in the FY2025 budget, integrated across various domains to enhance decision-making, operational efficiency, and predictive capabilities. The budget emphasizes investments in AI for intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) operations, as well as for machine learning and algorithm development to support Special Operations Forces (SOF) and other military branches. AI initiatives aim to bolster capabilities in data analysis, threat detection, and the overall effectiveness of military operations.


Hypersonic Weapons:

The budget supports developing and deploying hypersonic weapons with a $1.6 billion investment in critical technology testing, including hypersonic weapons. Additionally, the Air Force is investing $727.3 million in the Long Range Stand Off / Hypersonic Attack Cruise Missile and $825.5 million in the Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missile extended range to ensure readiness and capability in long-range strike options. These investments are crucial for maintaining strategic superiority in the face of evolving global threats.


Space Operations:

The Space Force's budget includes significant investments to enhance space domain awareness, missile warning, missile tracking, and space control. This budget line goes from $30.6B to $33.7B, a total increase of $3.1B. The funding supports resilient satellite communications, GPS modernization, and the development of a disaggregated space architecture designed for a contested environment. These efforts are critical for ensuring the United States' dominance in space and the protection of space-based assets vital for joint and allied operations.


Quantum Computing:

Quantum computing is highlighted as a seed area of emerging opportunity with substantial potential for breakthroughs in cryptography, secure communications, and complex problem-solving, garnering a $1.8B request. The budget emphasizes investments in quantum science to maintain a technological edge in secure communications and data protection, which are essential for national security. This commitment to quantum technologies aims to leverage advances in this field to enhance military and defense capabilities.


Missile Defense Systems:

The FY2025 budget provides robust funding for missile defense systems, including $28.4 billion for missile defeat and defense programs to protect the U.S. homeland, territories, and allies. This includes investments in developing and producing Israeli Cooperative BMD Programs, Army regional missile defense capabilities, Navy ship-based defenses, Air Force and Space Force advanced missile defense technologies and developing hypersonic missile defense capabilities. These investments ensure a comprehensive and integrated missile defense posture capable of addressing diverse threats.

 

LOOKING AT THE NUMBERS

The total DoD budget request is approximately $842 billion, with technology investment at 11.3 % of the overall request.  The budget has various overlapping sections, so categorizing each technological field is difficult.  For instance, part of the $143.2 billion RDT&E budget investments includes AI, making it a significant part of the science and technology budget and a “stand-alone” investment item.  At a minimum of $84B to a possible over $200B investment, depending on how you define technology and where you categorize it, the United States is placing a premium on technology.


FY25 TECH INVESTMENT

Space Operations:                        $33.7B, 

Missile Defense Systems:      $28.4B

Cyber Capabilities:                      $14.5B 

Hypersonic Weapons:               $3.5B 

Artificial Intelligence:                 $2.5B 

Quantum Computing:                $1.8B

                             Total:  $84B

 

Additionally, advanced semiconductors are the backbone of modern electronics, enabling the functionality of everything from smartphones to advanced military systems. The 2022 CHIPS Act, which authorized a $52.7 billion grant program, aims to bolster domestic production of advanced semiconductors, reduce reliance on foreign sources, and ensure the U.S. maintains a technological edge.

By focusing on these advanced technologies, the NDS and the supportive FY2025 Budget Request aim to ensure the U.S. retains its strategic superiority, effectively countering the multi-domain threats posed by the PRC and other adversaries. These investments are designed to enhance the U.S. military’s strategic capabilities, ensure robust defense and deterrence measures across various domains, and support the 2022 NDS. Whether these investments produce the capability and the desired deterrent result remains to be seen.


 

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