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Shelby reiterates unease over 2023 defense appropriations

Shelby has previously expressed his unease with “insufficient” funding for the U.S Air Force.

Sen. Richard Shelby.

Senator Richard Shelby, R-Alabama, reiterated his concerns over the makeup of the 2023 defense appropriations, emphasizing the need for “key modernization priorities” and a greater consideration given to growing inflation rates and how that may affect the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps’s funding request during a defense appropriations subcommittee hearing Thursday.

Shelby has previously expressed his unease with “insufficient” funding for the U.S Air Force during their budget request hearing last week and expressed similar apprehension with the 2023 budget justification for the Department of the Army.

“While it is important that the Navy continue to man, train, and equip a ready force, we must also prioritize key modernization priorities,” Shelby said during the subcommittee hearing Thursday. “These priorities include hypersonic weapons and recapitalization of the Navy’s nuclear arsenal, all while keeping a sharp watch on our adversaries. China and Russia continue to make unprecedented expenditures in advanced weapons, demonstrating new capabilities and their commitment to increased capacity.”

The Department of Defense’s annual budget for the fiscal year 2023 requests upwards of $761 billion for defense spending, marking a 4.6 percent increase from the previous fiscal year. Despite the increase, Shelby has described the 2023 request as “somewhat anemic” when rising inflation rates are taken into account — a concern echoed during Thursday’s hearing with U.S. Navy and Marine Corps officials.

“While the U.S. seeks to maintain military superiority, it is concerning that the total funding requested for the Department of the Navy and Marine Corps does not even keep pace with inflation,” Shelby said. “I am concerned about what this communicates to both our allies and our adversaries.”

John is a reporter at the Alabama Political Reporter. You can contact him at [email protected] or via Twitter.

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