2021 Budget to Include ‘Robust’ Benefits Package
The $740 billion defense budget for fiscal 2021—expected to include more than $180 billion for the Army—is a symbolically important step, Defense Secretary Mark Esper says in a memo to the services laying out key themes for upcoming congressional budget and posture hearings.
Scheduled to be unveiled Feb. 10, the budget “supports irreversible implementation of the National Defense Strategy, which remains our guidepost and drives our decision-making,” Esper says. “Progress along all lines of effort is sustained by adequate and timely funding from our partners in Congress.”
The budget invests in modernization and continues to improve readiness, Esper says. It “advances the development of crucial emerging technologies, such as hypersonic weapons, directed energy, artificial intelligence and autonomous platforms,” while divesting legacy systems. He did not provide specifics on program cuts.
The 2021 budget also “postures DoD to manage great-power competition from China and Russia over the long run, supporting approaches to work by, with, and through our allies and partners,” the memo says.
While full details are not yet available, Esper says the 2021 budget will be good for troops and their families. It will focus on improving housing and access to child care and promote professional development and education opportunities, he writes. The budget also “advocates for robust pay and benefits packages essential to attracting and retaining the best personnel and warfighters,” his memo says.