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Pentagon Budget Request Aims to Balance Congressional Limits, Foreign Needs, and Innovation

March 12, 2024

Patrick Tucker

Defense One

Deputy Defense Secretary Kathleen Hicks speaks with U.S. Army Maj. Gen. Curtis Taylor, commanding general of the National Training Center and Fort Irwin, about modernization capabilities and formations during her visit to Project Convergence - Capstone 4 at Fort Irwin, Calif., March 5, 2024. U.S. ARMY / CAPT. RONALD A. STAFFORD

By Patrick Tucker, March 11, 2024 / Defense One

The Pentagon’s $849.8 billion funding request for fiscal 2025 comes as last year’s budget request remains unpassed, a new law has imposed limits on government growth, and the White House is pleading with Congress to pass a supplemental funding bill to replenish arms stockpiles sent to Ukraine and better arm Taiwan.

The irony of submitting a new funding request when Congress has not passed a full budget for the current fiscal year was not lost on Deputy Defense Secretary Kathleen Hicks. Last year’s budget request represented “the most strategically-aligned budget in DOD history,” she told reporters Monday. “I want to highlight how devastating the failure to pass last year's budget request is to ensuring our national defense and global security.”

The fiscal 2025 budget total is capped by the Fiscal Responsibility Act, which forced the Defense Department to make tough decisions to stay under the $868.349 billion budget cap. Leaders chose to retire older weapons such as 56 A-10 Warthogs, and pull back on new orders for the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter and new Virginia-class submarines—down to just one in this year’s request. 

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