On Monday, the White House released President Joe Biden’s proposed budget for the 2023 fiscal year, which begins in October. Among the budget’s proposed $773 billion in discretionary military spending is a 4.6 percent pay increase for military service members and Department of Defense civilian employees.
The proposed 4.6 percent pay raise would be the largest pay increase in a generation if passed, the Biden administration said.
“The Budget invests in America’s servicemembers and civilian workforce with robust 4.6 percent pay raises—the largest in a generation—and addresses economic insecurity by funding a newly authorized basic needs allowance,” the White House said in a summary of its 2023 budget proposal.
The overall $773 billion discretionary defense budget represents a $69 billion (9.8-percent) increase from the amount set aside in the 2021 fiscal year.
Earlier this month, Congress agreed to a $782 billion defense budget, and passed that budget nearly halfway through the 2022 fiscal year.
“I am proud to join President Biden today in submitting the fiscal year 2023 Budget,” Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said following the release of the proposed budget. “Our department’s budget will help us continue to defend the nation, take care of our people and succeed through teamwork with our allies and partners.”
Austin also said, “Our 4.6 percent pay raise for our military and civilian personnel helps ensure they receive the pay they deserve and need, particularly in light of the challenging current economic realities.”
“Our budget request also includes additional investments to provide affordable childcare for both our military and civilian workforce,” Austin said. “For instance, we are making additional investments in childcare fee assistance for both military and civilian members.”
Austin noted the 2023 defense budget includes nearly $56.5 billion for airpower platforms, more than $40.8 billion for sea power, including nine more warships, and nearly $12.6 billion to modernize the U.S. Army and U.S. Marine Corps fighting vehicle fleets. Austin said another $130.1 billion would go towards research and development, an all-time high for that budget category. $3 billion more would go towards addressing the effects of climate change and making military installations more resilient to their effects.
Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-OK), the ranking member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, criticized Biden’s proposed budget, saying the spending increases are not sufficient to address the threats the U.S. currently faces.
“President Biden’s defense budget reflects the world he wishes for — but not the world as it is,” Inhofe said. “You simply can’t look at the world around us now and think this budget is adequate to confront all the threats we face, let alone to accelerate our attempts to maintain or restore deterrence and secure U.S. interests for our children and grandchildren.”
Inhofe said Biden’s budget doesn’t sufficiently address inflation in the U.S. economy.
“Real growth — 5 percent above inflation — is what we need if we are to meet this moment,” Inhofe said.