The National Defense Authorization Act sets spending for military pay and benefits, defense operations and national-security programs for each fiscal year.
On April 9, 2021, President Joseph R. Biden’s discretionary spending request for FY 2022 was submitted to the Senate Committee on Appropriations. This comes ahead of the National Defense Authorization Act for 2022.
The federal budget consists of different types of spending–there are mandatory spending requirements and “discretionary” spending requirements. On the “mandatory” side there are federal programs like Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, unemployment programs, etc.
The “discretionary” spending side includes funding for federal departments such as the Food & Drug Administration, The Department of Homeland Security, and the Department of Defense. There are 12 total different areas and 12 separate funding proposals for discretionary spending. These are often combined into an omnibus bill that would include the 2022 National Defense Authorization Act.
The Proposed 2022 Defense Budget
The information in this section is not finalized. It is part of the President’s FY 2022 discretionary spending request and includes:
- $769 billion in proposed non-defense discretionary funding
- $753 billion for national defense programs
- $715 billion of that $753 billion is for the Department of Defense
- $97.5 billion for VA healthcare
- $2.1 billion for Veteran homelessness programs
The President’s 2022 discretionary request includes $715 billion for DOD. The request includes a major budget reform–funding requests for Overseas Contingency Operations (as a separate category) is to be discontinued. Going forward, such operations are funded from the Department of Defense “base budget”.
Highlights of the Proposed 2022 Defense Budget
Based on the President’s 2022 Discretionary Spending Request, the following highlights of the proposed defense budget for 2022 includes, but is not limited to, the following. Not all programs have specific dollar amounts allocated at press time:
Digital Modernization including federal cybersecurity improvements totaling $500 million for the Technology Modernization Fund, plus $110 million for the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, and $750 million for federal information technology (IT) modernization.
Deterring China And Russia, including funds for Defense Research and Development to develop “next-generation defense capabilities”.
Modernizing U.S. Naval Shipbuilding to in part, continue “the recapitalization of the Nation’s strategic ballistic missile submarine fleet, and invests in remotely operated and autonomous systems”.
Modernizing the Nuclear Deterrent in support of nuclear upgrade programs “while ensuring that these efforts are sustainable”.
Investment in Long-Range Strike Capabilities such as “hypersonic strike” platforms and upgrading existing technologies to improve deterrence and “survivability”.
Investment In Resisting Climate Change. When the United States military acknowledges climate change as a threat, it’s a sign that real work needs to be done. The President’s FY 2022 discretionary spending request includes mention of this issue, referring to it as being “vital to national security” that U.S. military bases and operations are “resilient to climate-induced extreme weather”. The discretionary request seeks funds to “mitigate impacts of climate change and improve the resilience of DOD facilities and operations”.
Emerging Biological Threats are also addressed in the FY 2022 request, focusing on emerging infectious disease surveillance, medical responses to infectious diseases, and countermeasures.
Military Family Support. This part of the President’s request is intended to provide funding for programs supporting military spouses, caregivers, survivors, and dependents.
Funding for VA Programs. In addition to the $99.6 billion mentioned above, the President’s discretionary spending request includes includes $542 million for existing programs dedicated to Veteran suicide prevention.
2022 Defense Budget Approximate Approval Timeline:
Winter/Spring, 2021 – The President and DoD Releases the FY2022 Budget Proposal.
Spring/Summer 2021 – Congressional Review.
Summer/Fall 2021 – House & Senate Armed Appropriations Committees work on the FY2022 defense bill.
Summer/Fall 2021 – House of Representatives and Senate pass their versions of the defense bill and negotiate differences.
November/December 2021 – The House of Representatives and Senate seek to pass the final version of the defense bill.
December 2021 – The defense bill is typically signed into law.
Path to Last Year’s Defense Bill
Until the fiscal year 2022 National Defense Authorization Act is drafted, signed, and passed, the timeline for the 2022 defense budget is incomplete. Until sufficient actions warrant mention here, we present last year’s timeline as an example of what can happen to the NDAA along the way. 2021’s journey from proposal to law is a good example of the kinds of twists and turns such legislation sometimes takes along the way to becoming law.
- 1/1/2021: On January 1, the Senate voted 81-13 to override the President’s veto of the NDAA. The bill passed in the Senate with a “veto proof” majority of 84-13 earlier this month, and the House has already voted to override the President’s veto. The bill now becomes law.
- 12/28/2020: The House voted 322-87 to override the President’s veto. The bill now becomes law if the Senate votes to override Trump.
- 12/27/2020: President Trump vetoed the defense bill on Wed. Dec. 23 and now Congress is working to line up the votes to override the veto. The House is preparing to vote on Dec. 28 with the Senate preparing to vote on Dec. 29, if the House vote is successful. Two-thirds majorities are needed in the House and Senate to overturn the president’s veto and enact the bill into law.
- 12/11/2020: The bill has been sent to President Trump who may veto the bill because it does not repeal section 230 which protects social media companies from liability for what their users post. However, there appears to be bi-partisan veto-proof support in Congress to pass the Defense Bill if President Trump vetoes it.
- 12/11/2020: The Senate voted overwhelmingly to approve the defense bill with a veto-proof majority. The vote was 84 to 13.
- 12/7/2020: The House passed a bipartisan veto-proof majority defense bill. The vote was 335 to 78.