Senate Committee on Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense “A Review of the President’s Fiscal Year 2023 Funding Request and Budget Justifications for the Department of Defense”
On Tuesday May 3, the Senate Committee on Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense met to review the President’s FY23 funding request and budget justifications for the Department of Defense (DoD). Members largely discussed the support for Ukraine, threats in the Indo-Pacific, and troop wellness.
Members in Attendance
Chairman Jon Tester (D-MT), Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Sen. Brian Schatz (D-HI), Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA), Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL), Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME), Sen. John Boozman (R-AR), Sen. Roy Blunt (R-MO), Sen. Jerry Moran (R-KS), Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Sen. John Hoeven (R-ND), Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK)
Sen. Moran expressed concern that the U.S. cannot rely on nuclear deterrence for hypersonic attacks, asking how they will ensure troop safety from hypersonic attacks and what shifts are expected in missile and interceptor investments. Secretary Austin replied that this budget is investing $7.2 billion in long range fires, $4.7 billion of which is focused on hypersonics. He said hypersonic capabilities are important in combination with other capabilities. Sen. Moran asked about the hypersonics workforce. Secretary Austin replied that they have engaged the industry, asking them to increase production but that they have not yet pushed or invested in hypersonics to the degree they can. Gen. Milley told Sen. Murkowski that the key to hypersonics is that they are very fast with no defensive weapon against them. He said the units, equipment, and organization of hypersonics needs to be smaller, faster, and difficult to find on the battlefield. Secretary Austin also shared his support for a sky range system to test hypersonics.
Providing Support to Ukraine
In his opening statement, Secretary Austin said the U.S. delivered security assistance to Ukraine with unprecedented speed and resolve, giving Ukraine $1 billion worth of weapons before the war and committing $3.7 billion since the invasion. He stated the goal to give the Ukrainians the capabilities they need in the South and Donbas regions. He described the $33 billion supplemental request that allocates $16 billion for the DOD, $5 billion of which is for additional drawdown authority, $6 billion for Ukrainian security initiatives, and $5 billion to bolster Ukraine’s eastern fight.
Sen. Hoeven asked what weapons system Ukraine needs the most. Secretary Austin replied that the Ukrainians have asked for long range weapons capabilities, which they are using now. He also said that unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) were provided. Gen. Milley added that they have provided multiple battalions of 155 cannon and ammunitions that go with them, ground maneuver capabilities, and sustainment of anti-tank weapons. Secretary Austin stated the Ukrainians have been trained to use the tanks and javelins provided to them and are pushing training kits into the country as well. He said the Russians do not have weapons equivalent to the javelins. Secretary Austin and Gen. Milley also clarified that the funds provided by Congress have gone almost entirely to lethal aid.
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