Welcome to our second week of the defense budget! This post marks the second part of our defense budget breakdown. If you didn't get a chance to read last week's breakdown, check it out here. If you have any questions or are interested about hearing us speak about this on a podcast, let us know in the comments or via email!
When looking at these big numbers, it can seem overwhelming. What are these billions of dollars going towards? One spender is the continued modernization of the nuclear triad. The nuclear triad is a three-pronged military structure consisting of submarines, missiles and strategic aircraft, all of which have nuclear bombs attached to them. Even though nuclear bombs have only ever been used once in actual warfare, countries like the United States continue to modernize their tools. From FY17 to FY19, there will be a 3.84 billion increase in spending going towards modernizing bombers like the B-21 Bomber, COLUMBIA-class Submarines, Ground Based Strategic Deterrents, Long Range Standoff Cruise Missiles, Trident II Life Extensions (Submarines), F-35 Dual Capable Aircrafts and B61 Tail Kits (Aircrafts).
As one might expect, a large portion of funding for the DOD is going towards weapons development and modernization. For the Air Force, investment is being directed towards developing the F-35 program, which modernizes the F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter and builds three separate variants of this aircraft for different uses. The budget also allocates funds for both the Air Force and Navy’s procurement of the AIM-120D Advanced Medium Air-to-Air Missle (AMRAAM) and the AIM-9X Block II Sidewinder short range air-to-air missile. The budget also funds the development of the new B-21 Raider, a long range strike bomber, and modernizing the existing fleet of B-52, B-1, and B-2 bombers. In total, the FY 2019 budget allocates $25.6 billion for all aircrafts.
For the Navy, the budget provides for a variety of nuclear aircraft carriers, amphibious warships and multi-missile warships. The budget also especially adds funding for two T- AO 205 Fleet Oilers, which act as power projectors in the sea. Their existence allows other ships to go longer without having to return to port to fuel as they provide logistical support to deployed ships. The Navy is also known for its usage of submarines, for which they are receiving an additional 154 Tomahawk land-attack cruise missiles (TLAMs). The current OHIO-class submarines will begin to be decommissioned in 2020, hence, development for new kinds of submarines will also be underway. In total, the FY 2019 budget allocates $18.4 billion for ships and $18.3 billion for missile defense and deterrence.
According to budget documents, the DOD used more munitions than expected over the last few years. These munitions were largely used in Syria and other Middle Eastern countries to target ISIS. Because of this, the DOD has increased productions of munitions as a whole. From FY 2017 - 2019 the amount of Guided Multiple Launch Rocket Systems has increased by 6,013, Joint Direct Attack Munitions by 10,355 and Advanced Precision Kill Weapon Systems by 9,240.
Part Two of Three. Read Part One Here.
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