The leaders of the US Senate and House Armed Services Committees earlier this week reached a deal on a new defence spending bill with provisions to deter Russia and China, strengthen the United States’ alliance with Israel, as well as provisions on artificial intelligence and cybersecurity.
The Defence Department needs “a reality check” in regard to the future defence budgets as new challenges, such as the coronavirus pandemic, arise, Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Mark Milley said as quoted by The Hill.
“We have to tighten up and take a much harder look at priorities”, the highest-ranking US military official said.
Gen. Milley says that the ideal situation would be an annual rise of the defence budget by 3-5 percent; however, he expects that the budget will flatten out in the upcoming years.
“We here at the Pentagon, civilian and military alike, we’ve got to do a quick reality check on the national budget and what is likely to happen in the not too distant future”, he said.
While Democrats and projected President-elect Joe Biden have said that no significant cuts to the defence budget will be made in future, progressive Dems are seeking to make significant cuts to the $740-billion budget.
The senior official admitted that the defence budget relies on the money of taxpayers that have been hard-hit by the raging coronavirus pandemic, so the military can let the coronavirus issues take priority.
“So, the most important part that you need to do is take care of the COVID piece, get that behind us and breathe new life into the economy. Once you do that, then you can put additional monies into our military”, Milley said.