Soon, the fiscal year 2025 national defense budget is expected to be presented as part of the fiscal 2025 presidential budget request. At the same time, last year’s budget has still not been passed, and the Defense Department is operating on a continuing resolution, said the deputy Pentagon press secretary.
“The department continues to urge Congress to pass our base budget,” said Sabrina Singh during a briefing today. “We still do not have an FY24 budget … and the department will be getting ready to submit our FY25 budget. As the secretary has said, the one thing we cannot buy back is time, and we are losing critical time under a [continuing resolution] that we need to be spending modernizing our military to meet the pacing challenge. Continuously living under a [continuing resolution] is asking us to try and fight with one hand tied behind our back.”
Earlier this week, the Senate announced a supplemental bill to provide military aid to help Ukraine defend itself against Russian aggression, Singh said. The bill means investment in the U.S. defense industrial base, the production of weapons and equipment that can be sent to Ukraine, and an ongoing and important show of support to Ukraine.
“If the U.S. stops support to Ukraine, we should be clear-eyed about the repercussions,” Singh said. “Putin is not going to stop in his quest for power and control beyond Ukraine’s borders toward NATO. If Putin attacks a NATO ally, we will find ourselves in direct conflict as we are committed to defending every inch of NATO. So let’s be clear. We can do the responsible thing and pay now to help Ukraine or we can pay much more later to counteract the gains we would hand Vladimir Putin and an emboldened Russia.”
Air Defenses in Middle East Largely Successful
In late January, three U.S. soldiers were killed and 40 other service members were injured at Tower 22 of the Jordanian Defense Network, a military base in Jordan near the Syrian border, following an attack by an uncrewed aerial system. Those service members were in Jordan to support Operation Inherent Resolve, a U.S. combined mission working by, with and through regional partners to ensure the defeat of ISIS.
Singh said the loss of lives at the base is tragic, and Centcom is assessing and reviewing the attack to find out what happened, why it happened, and how a drone was able to evade air defenses. She also noted that in the Middle East, following more than 160 similar attacks, U.S. air defenses in the region have been mostly successful.
“For a majority, those attacks have been unsuccessful,” she said. “We’ve seen a majority of those attacks have minor damage to infrastructure, incur minor casualties to our service members,” she said. “For the most part, our air defenses have been able to catch or been able to destroy any impact or any incoming … whether it be rockets or drones at bases.”