Defense One
March 3, 2022

Russia’s Invasion Will Boost 2023 Defense Budget, Top Democrat Says

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine will boost the Pentagon’s funding for next year, the chairman of the House Armed Services Committee predicted on Thursday.

“Without question, it’s going to have to be bigger than we thought,” Rep. Adam Smith, D-Wash., said at an American Enterprise Institute event. “The Russian invasion of Ukraine fundamentally altered what our national security posture and what our defense posture needs to be. It made it more complicated and it made it more expensive. I don’t see much way to argue it.”

During annual budget negotiations, Republicans typically push for more defense spending while Democrats overwhelmingly argue for cuts to the military and increased spending on domestic programs. But the bipartisan support for Ukraine could unite both parties around a higher defense budget.

“The political reality is that the Russian incursion in Ukraine has created much more support for an increase in the defense budget,” said Todd Harrison, director for budget analysis at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. “At a minimum, I think [Democrats] won’t oppose it….”

In December, Congress authorized nearly $778 billion for defense spending in fiscal 2022, which began Oct. 1, though lawmakers have yet to pass a budget to disperse that money. The Biden administration is expected to submit a 2023 budget request this month. Two weeks ago, “sources familiar with the negotiations” told Reuters the request would include more than $800 billion for overall defense spending, including $773 billion for the Defense Department.