President-elect Biden likely to re-focus on emerging technologies

10 November 2020 (Last Updated November 10th, 2020 17:14)

Despite remaining non-committal on the specifics of his administration's defense plans, Biden is confident that there will not be significant reductions in the defense budget in the coming years – but has commented that there will likely be a re-focus on different priorities.

President-elect Biden likely to re-focus on emerging technologies

Despite remaining non-committal on the specifics of his administration’s defense plans, Biden is confident that there will not be significant reductions in the defense budget in the coming years – but has commented that there will likely be a re-focus on different priorities. In an interview last week, he commented that there must be more investment into unmanned capacity as well as cyber-warfare and IT, this combined with his desire to commit to a small Middle East force, will lead to a strategic re-focus of defense spending.

William Davies, Associate Aerospace and Defense analyst at GlobalData comments: “Biden’s election signals that there will be a shift in defense posture away from the America First priorities of his predecessor, however, both men share a desire to continue the withdrawal from Iraq and Afghanistan that began under Obama, meaning the military drawdown from the Middle East will likely continue. However, the incoming administration is likely to commit more resources to diplomatic channels, and this will likely renew troop commitments, including the potential reversal of drawdown from Germany. The significant change will be in priorities, and the Democratic administration will have to make decisions on where to focus spending if the defense budget remains flat.”.

Biden may face progressive pushback on increasing defense budgets, as well as potential resistance from fiscal hawks in the Republican party who will want to constrain ballooning national debt. His desire to invest more in peer-to-peer warfare will include improving America’s relationship with NATO following a conflicted four years in which Trump has complained of allies’ lack of financial commitment to international defense.

Davies continues: “His commitment to shifting resources away from legacy systems will lead to defense innovation but may cause some cuts in areas traditionally lucrative to defense contractors. However, the US is already committed to major programs which will mitigate risk for major defense companies.”