Four friction points to watch in the FY21 defense budget

February 10, 2020


WASHINGTON ― Congress will receive President Donald Trump’s FY21 budget proposal for the Pentagon and other federal agencies on Monday, but don’t expect it to pass as drafted.

Now in the second year of a two-year budget deal, the FY21 defense budget’s top line is locked in $740.5 billion, which represents a 3 percent decrease from FY20, when adjusted for inflation.


Defense Secretary Mark Esper announced he intends to move $5.7 billion from the defense agencies that make up “the Fourth Estate”―parts of the Defense Department that are not military services―for more “important priorities.”

That is to say priorities connected to the National Defense Strategy’s focus on competition with Russia and China. That will include research into hypersonic weapons, artificial intelligence and big data, fifth-generation communications technologies, nuclear enterprise modernization, space, missile defense and response force readiness.

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