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NEWS | Feb. 12, 2020

DOD budget request seeks 3% pay raise for service members

By C. Todd Lopez

President Donald J. Trump released his fiscal 2021 budget request Feb. 10. 
For those in uniform, the Department of Defense has asked for a 3% pay raise across the board, along with increases to the allowances for housing and subsistence.
DOD also is seeking $8 billion for a range of programs to support military families, including professional development and education opportunities for service members and spouses, child care for more than 160,000 children, youth programs for more than a million family members and support to the schools that educate more than 77,000 students from military families.

Top priorities for defense in the budget request include nuclear modernization, missile defeat and defense, space and cyberspace.

For  fiscal 2021, DOD is asking for $28.9 billion to fund modernization of the nuclear defense program, covering all three legs of the nuclear triad: land, sea and air.

Around $7 billion is targeted at nuclear command, control and communications. Another $2.8 billion is earmarked for the B-21 Raider long-range strike bomber. The Air Force eventually expects to get some 100 of the aircraft, which will carry the B61-12 and B83 nuclear gravity bombs, as well as the long-range standoff cruise missile.

The request for nuclear modernization also funds procurement of the Columbia-class ballistic submarine at $4.4 billion, and the ground-based strategic deterrent at $1.5 billion. The GBSD is expected to replace about 400 existing Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missiles. 

DOD's request also includes $15.4 billion for the newly created U.S. Space Force, $337 million for the Space Development Agency, and $249 million for U.S. Space Command.

Defense officials said the research, development, testing and evaluation budget request is the largest in history, at $106.6 billion. Funding requests for hypersonics at $3.2 billion, microelectronics at $1.5 billion and artificial intelligence at $800 million highlight DOD priorities with regard to the great-power competition, Pentagon officials said. The request for hypersonics would be an increase of 23% over last year, while artificial intelligence would get a 7.8% bump.

Much of the budget request goes toward modernization.

In the air, the budget request seeks $3 billion for 15 KC-46 Pegasus tankers to replace aging Eisenhower-era KC-135 Stratotankers and KC-10 Extenders. The request also provides $11.4 billion for 79 F-35 Lightning II variants.

On the sea, the budget request would fund a new Virginia-class submarine at $4.7 billion and two DDG-51 Arleigh Burke-class destroyers at $3.5 billion.

On the land, the Army and Marine Corps would receive 4,247 joint light tactical vehicles at $1.4 billion, as well as $1.5 billion for modifications and upgrades to 89 M-1 Abrams tanks.