Sat. Jul 20th, 2024

Welcome back to Foreign Policy’s SitRep. If you missed the Oscars, you also missed a commercial promoting AUKUS. Here’s what’s on tap for today: Biden’s $7.3 trillion budget plan reflects defense priorities, Russia moves nuclear weapons closer to NATO, and U.S. Congress gives TikTok’s Chinese owners the boot.

President Biden’s budget includes marginal increases for defense, diplomacy, and foreign aid amid pressure from different factions. The defense budget would see a 1 percent increase, with plans to invest in long-range hypersonic weapons and B-21 bombers. Critics argue that the budget lacks ambition in defense and diplomacy funding, but constraints set by budget caps negotiated by Republicans limit spending.

The proposed budget allocates $64.4 billion for foreign affairs programs, aiming to counter China’s influence globally. However, experts warn that this may not be enough to address global crises. Republicans criticize the budget for not keeping up with inflation and failing to match China’s defense spending increase.

Defending the budget, Deputy Secretary of Defense Kathleen Hicks cites constraints set by Congress and the need to balance competing priorities. There is also internal criticism from Navy proponents pushing for a larger Navy fleet. The budget faces scrutiny for cutting submarine production despite existing supply chain disruptions.

Outside the budget, the $106 billion national security supplemental will provide military aid to Ukraine, Taiwan, and Israel, along with investments in the defense industrial base. The supplemental is crucial for meeting production targets for ammunition and air defense interceptors. House Speaker Mike Johnson is expected to address the aid package, contingent on political negotiations.

Experts question the reliance on emergency funding for defense priorities, noting the shift from counterinsurgency to potential conflicts with major powers like Russia and China. The practice of using supplemental budgets for essential defense needs raises concerns about budget management. Biden’s nominee for ambassador to Haiti, Dennis Hankins, awaits confirmation.

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