Even as a number of Democrats on Capitol Hill are urging President Biden to slash the Pentagon’s budget, the top Republican on the House Armed Services Committee says the threat from an aggressive China means the U.S. military actually needs an inflation-adjusted 3-to-5% increase in the coming fiscal year.
Alabama Rep. Mike Rogers told a group of defense journalists that China is the nation’s primary threat.
“We’re going to have to increase defense spending to keep up with the pace from China. We have to modernize and we’ve got to do this stuff now,” he said.
China is rapidly increasing its naval capacity as well as moving forward with cyber and artificial intelligence weapons, Mr. Rogers said. Beijing’s Belt and Road Initiative — a government infrastructure financing program operating in dozens of countries around the world — is giving China’s communist leadership new influence around the world.
“We just can’t ignore it unless we want to become subordinate to them. They are not our friends,” he said.
House Democrats are pressing the Biden administration hard to rein in the Pentagon’s budget, which saw a major increase under the Trump administration. A flat or decreased Pentagon budget will make it more difficult for the Pentagon to invest in critical projects like placing an Aegis Ashore missile defense system on Guam or moving forward with hypersonic weapons, Mr. Rogers said.
“We really don’t have a choice. People need to stop denying reality there,” the Alabama lawmaker added.
* (Correction: A previous version of the story had an incorrect photograph. It was been updated with the proper image).