FY 2024 Defense BudgetUpdated: August 11, 2023
The Department of Defense (DoD) budget for Fiscal Year 2024 is a strategy-driven, comprehensive financial plan outlining the allocation of federal resources for United States military activities.
If you are currently an active duty member or veteran of America’s armed forces, here’s an update you’ll want to know about.
A Quick Budget Overview
The Defense Budget funds agencies and programs under the jurisdiction of the Department of Defense (DOD) and Intelligence Community, including the Military Services, Central Intelligence Agency, and the National Security Agency. Funding provides training, equipment, and resources for America’s forces to successfully carry out missions worldwide. Each year, Congress passes a National Defense Authorization Act to officially fund U.S. defense efforts.
The general provisions of this budget are guided by the National Defense Strategy and National Security Strategy and focus broadly on readiness, modernization, and prioritizing personnel welfare. The budget encompasses the largest-ever investments in readiness, procurement, and research and development areas, ensuring that advancements can be implemented in the face of several global strategic challenges.
More specifically, priorities for this year include funding to counter rising concerns over China, improving the DoD’s workforce, providing better support for servicemembers and their families, and enhancing the Department of Defense’s efforts to combat the flow of fentanyl, synthetic opioids, and other illegal drugs into the United States.
Each year, the budget is presented to the Congressional Defense Committee, and if approved, it goes to both branches of Congress for reviews, amendments, and approval. About a sixth of the federal budget traditionally goes toward national defense. For 2024, the defense budget comprises around half of all discretionary spending and 13% of total federal spending.
What Is the Amount of the 2024 Defense Budget?
The debt ceiling deal signed into law in May set a cap on total defense spending of $886 billion.
House and Senate drafts of the 2024 National Defense Authorization Act authorized $886 billion in defense spending, of which $844 billion would go to the Defense Department. That would be a $28 billion increase over 2023 enacted funding, equating to a 3.6% increase, but most of that would be lost to inflation. As currently drafted, the budget breaks out as follows.
|FY24 Defense Funding Levels (in billions of dollars)|
|Department of Defense||$844.3|
|Department of Energy||$32.4|
|Defense-related Activities Outside NDAA Jurisdiction||$9.5|
|National Defense Topline||$886.3|
When Does the 2024 Defense Budget Go Into Effect?
In late July 2023, the Senate passed S. 2226, the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2024, by a broad, bipartisan vote of 86-11. During the floor debate, more than 900 amendments were considered, and 121 amendments were adopted, which are the most amendments adopted to the Senate NDAA in years.
The 2024 NDAA also serves as a legislative vehicle for a number of non-defense authorizations, including several major authorization bills from other committees. The bill’s full text, including all adopted amendments, will be published on Congress.gov this week.
In the coming months, leaders from the Senate and House of Representatives will meet in conference to reconcile the two chambers’ versions of the NDAA to produce a compromise bill.
The $886 billion defense budget is supposed to begin on October 1, 2023. But many people involved in the process believe that the FY 2024 budget will start under a continuing resolution, a stop-gap measure that will give Congress more time to craft a final version of the bill acceptable to all parties. Final approval may not take place and be signed into law until the first or second quarter of 2024.
Go here to see a current version of the House of Representatives bill H.R.2670 – National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2024.
Go here to see a current version of the Senate bill S.2226 – National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2024
FY 2024 Defense Budget Key Summary Points
Although deal points are still being worked out, in broad terms, these are some of the key provisions in the new budget, which could change slightly depending on the final version of the negotiated NDAA.
Pay increases for enlisted military personnel
- More than $58 billion is marked for military healthcare operations, indicative of the Department of Defense’s commitment to the welfare of its personnel beyond just combat readiness.
- Ensures servicemembers and their families have the support they need by funding a 5.2% pay raise for servicemembers
- Includes a historic pay increase for junior enlisted servicemembers averaging 30%
- Directs the DoD to assess on-installation childcare capacity and staff hiring challenges and to develop a plan to reduce wait time
- Supports youth-focused programs such as Impact Aid, National Guard Youth Challenge, Sea Cadets, Young Marines, and STARBASE.
Optimizes the Pentagon’s civilian workforce
- Cuts $1 billion of the President’s Budget Request to increase the size of the civilian workforce
- Directs the DoD to reassess the number and roles of its civilian personnel needed for its core mission, tasks, and functions
- Ensures the DoD has an appropriate workforce for areas that directly serve the warfighter, like depots and shipyards
- Provides funding to accelerate the DoD’s digital transformation of business practices through the Chief Data Artificial Intelligence Office.
Counters China on several fronts
- Makes a historic investment in security cooperation funding for Taiwan
- Supports training programs for Taiwan, including through the National Guard State Partnership Program
- Prioritizes the delivery of defense articles and services to Taiwan
- Rejects the Biden Administration’s inadequate shipbuilding plan by preventing 4 ships from early retirement
- Increases investments in 5th and 6th generation aircraft like the F-35 and Next Generation Air Dominance
- Funds more than $9 billion for the Pacific Deterrence Initiative, which bolsters U.S. military capabilities in the Indo-Pacific region.
Innovates and modernizes the U.S. military
- Modernization efforts seek to maintain the current readiness with $146.0 billion allocated to bolster capabilities for potential future engagements
- Invests in next-generation fighter aircraft, helicopters, tactical combat vehicles, and submarines
- Empowers combatant commanders to obtain the cutting-edge technology and weapons they need quickly and to get them to the warfighter rapidly
- Funds modernization of the nuclear triad: the B-21 Raider, the Columbia Class Submarine, and Sentinel
- Provides significant funding for the Defense Innovation Unit and the military services to accelerate acquisition processes
- Fully funds the Office of Strategic Capital to maximize the use of private capital for defense emerging technologies and manufacturing
- Increased funding for the successful program to Accelerate the Procurement and Fielding of Innovative Technologies (APFIT)
The budget also enhances the DOD’s role in countering the flow of illicit fentanyl and synthetic opioids by providing $1.16 billion for drug interdiction and counterdrug activities. That includes increasing funding for the National Guard Counterdrug Program, training and equipping personnel to counter illicit fentanyl and synthetic opioids and the transnational criminal organizations that contribute to the fentanyl crisis.