U.S. Sen. Richard Shelby, R-Alabama, conducted a subcommittee hearing Wednesday to review the Fiscal Year 2020 funding request and budget justification for the U.S. Department of Defense.
Acting Secretary of the Department of Defense Patrick Shanahan and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Joseph Dunford, Jr., USMC, testified before the subcommittee.
“This committee has already hosted hearings with the individual military services, and we have heard much about the implementation of the National Defense Strategy,” Shelby said. “It has been repeatedly emphasized that the department is implementing a deliberate plan to address the changing, and in some ways new threats and challenges that are posed to our national security, including from near peer adversaries.”
“I remain convinced that we must maintain a rate of progress that will protect the comparative military advantages that have underpinned our global military strategy for years,” Shelby continued. “The world continues to be a complex and dangerous place, as we are reminded when we read the news; whether it is the ongoing humanitarian crisis at our southwest border, short-range missile launches from North Korea or the movement of the USS Abraham Lincoln carrier strike group toward the U.S. Central Command region in response to recent Iranian actions.
“I know that you both understand the magnitude of the challenges, and I look forward to your testimony this morning as we as we consider the appropriate funding level for the department in fiscal year 2020,” Shelby stated.
The 2020 defense budget request includes the largest research, development, testing and evaluation budget in 70 years, double digit increases to investments in both space and cyber, modernization of the nuclear triad and missile defense capabilities, the largest shipbuilding request in 20 years when adjusted for inflation, an increase in total end strength by roughly 7,700 service members and a 3.1 percent pay increase to the uniformed military, the largest in a decade.
On Thursday, President Donald Trump nominated Shanahan as secretary of defense after serving as acting defense secretary for the last four months.
“I am honored by today’s announcement of President Trump’s intent to nominate,” Shanahan said in a statement. “If confirmed by the Senate, I will continue the aggressive implementation of our National Defense Strategy. I remain committed to modernizing the force so our remarkable soldiers, sailors, airmen and marines have everything they need to keep our military lethal and our country safe.”
Shelby is the chairman of the Senate Committee on Appropriations and its subcommittee on defense.