Ethan Wagner, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons
- The U.S. military published its unfunded priorities list for the 2022 defense budget.
- The list is made up of things the armed forces want, but not enough to officially ask for.
- This year, the list includes more fighter jets for the Air Force, a destroyer for the Navy, and helicopters for the Army.
The U.S. military’s official wish list is out for 2022. The unfunded priorities list, a laundry list of “nice-to-have” funding, includes a dozen new F-15EX fighters, a guided missile destroyer, and missiles and helicopters. Congress typically uses the list as a roadmap to boost defense spending—if it deems such increases necessary.
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The armed forces drop their unfunded priorities list every fiscal year as supplements to the main defense budget. The services don’t expect unfunded priorities to be funded. But if Congress is feeling generous? Well, hey, here’s a wishlist.
So, what are the branches asking for this year? The U.S. Air Force’s request, according to Defense News, consists mainly of 12 new F-15EX Super Eagle fighter jets. The request would double the Air Force’s 2021 F-15EX budget request, buying 24 fighters instead of 12. The Air Force wants to accelerate buying the F-15EX as it seeks to replace the existing, 30-year-old F-15C fleet. The list would also further fund Air Force command and control projects, support the U-2 spy plane program, and add resources to efforts to develop a new fighter jet engine.
The Navy’s request, meanwhile, includes a second Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyer for 2022, five more F-35C Joint Strike Fighters, an extra E-2D Advanced Hawkeye airborne early warning and control plane, four more CMV-22 Osprey transports, and development funding for missiles, lasers, and uncrewed aircraft, according to U.S. Naval Institute News.
The Army’s largest equipment request is for five CH-47F Block II Chinook heavy lift helicopters. A great deal of spending is on ammunition for high-end conflicts, including 120-millimeter tank gun ammunition, the replacement for the Hellfire anti-tank missile, the new Joint Air to Ground Missile, and GPS-enabled Guided Multiple Launch Rocket Systems (GMLRS).
Congress typically funds at least part of each service’s unfunded requirements list. The legislative body might even go above and beyond the list, adding extra fighter jets here and there. But the generosity has its limits; Congress is unlikely to approve a third $1.6 billion guided missile destroyer, for example. It all depends on whether Congress is feeling spendy. And even then, it’s all subject to presidential approval.
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