Wicker Calls Out Inflation Damage to Defense Budget

Wicker Calls Out Inflation Damage to Defense Budget

May 3, 2022

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Roger Wicker, R-Miss., a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, today called out the damaging effects of inflation on the Department of Defenses’ budget and the huge backlog of capabilities not funded by President Biden’s Fiscal Year 2023 defense budget in an exchange with Air Force chief of staff General Charles Q. Brown, Jr. during a committee hearing.

Senator Wicker’s first question to Brown probed the myriad unfunded requirements for the Air Force in President Biden’s Fiscal Year 2023 Defense Budget.

Wicker also expressed unease regarding soaring inflation’s damage on the purchasing power of the Pentagon and asked Brown if a supplemental defense appropriations bill would alleviate constraints on his branch. Wicker further noted the potential bipartisan interest in increasing funding for a strong national defense because of inflation’s effects on the budget.

“We have a list of $4.6 billion that are not funded, including hypersonic testing, F-35 procurement, and weapon system sustainment, among other things. Why aren't these in the budget request?” Wicker asked Brown. “Am I to understand that hypersonic testing, F-35 procurement, and these $4.6 billion worth of unfunded priority list would help us in this dangerous environment?”

Brown responded to these issues by saying that leaving unfunded requirements out of the budget will “drive some level of risk” for the Air Force. 

“Anything we don't have is going to drive for some level of risk,” Brown said. “And this is something that we talk internal to the Department of the Air Force and with the Department of Defense of how best to balance against the current threat and then also posture selves against a future threat.”

Brown expressed his commitment to working with Congress on these issues.  

Watch their exchange here. Read more about Senator Wicker’s recent work on defense issues here.