At the beginning of March 2021, the Biden administration unveiled its top line defense budget for 2022, coming in at $753 billion; it constitutes an increase of 1.6% over the previous years and is sure to meet some opposition from both sides in Congress. Details on this budget are scant, but there are several areas in which the Biden administration has made clear they will be pursuing increased funding.
William Davies, Associate Aerospace and Defense analyst at GlobalData comments: “The Democrats first time in control over Washington for a number of years gives them a chance to advance key priorities, and aside from prioritizing shipbuilding and combatting Chinese advances, R&D is likely to be a focus – in particular ongoing Hypersonics spending as well as more nascent technology such as Quantum technology.”
The budget will likely face a fight in Congress, with Progressives as well as Republicans opposing it for various reasons, but the actual priorities are likely to remain unchanged as bipartisan support ensures that key legislative priorities such as advanced technology maintain funding. Budget planning often takes up a significant chunk of time in the preceding year, and it is telling that despite the relatively short turnaround, the Biden administration is already moving to shore up funding for R&D efforts.
Davies continues: “Several Hypersonics programs are approaching maturity, with the ARRW program undergoing testing as recently as this month – they will require significant amounts of funding as they approach the production stage and in 2021 the hypersonic budget already totalled over $1 Billion. Other technology areas including Quantum, which was allocated $237 million in 2021 and was identified as a strategic priority in 2018 when the National Quantum Initiative Act (NQIA) was passed.”