Joe Biden’s Military Shopping List Just Dropped With a Bang

prsm missile
What’s in the Pentagon’s 2025 Defense BudgetUS Army
  • The President’s defense budget request for 2025 is out.

  • The budget asks for $895 billion in spending for the entire U.S. Department of Defense.

  • The budget request includes fewer ships, aircraft, and attack helicopters.

The Biden Administration’s proposed defense budget for 2025 has been released. The budget, which totals $895 billion, includes $167.5 billion devoted to buying new weapons and equipment. While that’s about the same as last year, if you take inflation into account, it means fewer aircraft, ships, and other weapons.

Hello 2025

soldiers from alpha battery, 2nd battalion, 130th field artillery regiment out of the kansas national guard trained with their high mobility artillery rocket systems on camp arifjan, kuwait, sept 20, 2022 us army photo by sgt nicholas ramshaw
A HIMARS of the Kansas National Guard at Camp Arifjan, Kuwait, September 2022.US Army

The 2025 Department of Defense budget request is the total amount of money that the Pentagon believes it needs for the fiscal year of 2025. It includes all costs—from healthcare and soldier pay to bullets, missiles, and bombers. It also includes research and development, and the testing and evaluation of new weapons.

The budget request does not automatically happen. Once the request is out, Congress will look at it, and the Senate and House of Representatives will ask for a series of changes. The President and Congress negotiate back and forth, adding and subtracting from various programs, as the two sides negotiate based on similar (but sometimes conflicting) priorities. The final budget may end up being bigger, or smaller, than the President’s request. With that in mind, let’s look at what the Biden Administration wants, one major service at a time.


ampv army
An Armored Mobility Protected Vehicle (AMPV) from the 1st Cavalry Division is escorted by observer controllers from the U.S. Army Operational Test Command, September 2018. US Army

The Administration wants $185.8 billion for the U.S. Army—$600 million more than 2024. An inflation rate of 3.2 percent over the past year essentially makes this request smaller than last year’s, amounting to $179.9 billion in constant dollars.

Under the Biden budget, the Army would get 31 AH-64E Apache Guardian helicopters, 24 UH-60M Blackhawk assault helicopters, and 10 new CH-47 Chinook transport helicopters. It would buy 230 new Precision Strike Missiles (PrSM), 230 Patriot PAC-3 MSE anti-ballistic missile missiles, and 930 new Javelin missiles.

The Army is done buying the Hellfire anti-tank missile and is switching procurement over to the new Joint Air to Ground Missile (JAGM), but is only buying 23 in 2025. 10 HIMARS rocket trucks—which have been the stars of the war in Ukraine—are also in the budget, as are 10 new Long Range Hypersonic Weapons.

Army vehicles include 81 AMPV armored vehicles, 33 M10 Booker assault guns, 28 Joint Assault Bridges, and enough money to upgrade 30 M1 Abrams tanks to the latest M1A2SepV3 standard. Regarding infantry weapons, the budget includes money for M2 heavy machine guns, M320 grenade launchers, precision sniper rifles, the Next Generation Squad Weapon (replacing the M249 SAW machine gun), carbines, and the service’s new submarine-gun-like personal defense weapon.

Navy and Marines

the joint high speed vessel usns millinocket t epf 3 arrives in subic bay, philippines, nov 21 millinocket is assigned to destroyer squadron 7 in us 7th fleet area of responsibility, providing logistical solutions to the region's littorals and working hull to hull with partner navies to provide 7th fleet with the flexible capabilities it needs now and in the future us navy photo by capt todd kutkiewiczreleased
USNS Millinocket, just nine years old, would be retired under the Navy budget proposal. US Navy

The U.S. Navy and Marine Corps budget is historically larger than the Army’s, and amounts to $257.6 million this year. That’s about the same as last year, even including inflation.

The Administration wants 13 new F-35Cs (the carrier-borne version of the Joint Strike Fighter), which is down from 19 in both 2023 and 2024. It also wants 13 new F-35Bs (the Marine Corps version), again down from previous years. Additionally, it is buying 19 new CH-53K King Stallion heavy lift helicopters—substantially more than in previous years—and the number of new MQ-25A Stingray drone refueling tankers is holding steady at three.

drone navy bush carrier
The Navy would buy just three MQ-25A Stingray drones in 2025. US Navy

Production of the F/A-18E/F Super Hornet fighter, which lasted for approximately 24 years, is likely over—at least for the U.S. Navy. This will be the second year that the Navy has declined to buy Super Hornets, as the service turns its attention toward the F-35 and its version of the Next Generation Air Dominance fighter.

The warship budget is relatively small, with money for just six new ships. The service would get just one Virginia-class nuclear-powered attack submarine (down one from previous year), two Burke-class destroyers (down from 3 in 2023), one Constellation-class frigate, one San Antonio-class landing platform dock, and one medium landing ship. Meanwhile, the service wants to decommission 19 ships currently in service, including three that are less than ten years old: USNS Spearhead, USNS Millinocket, and USNS John Glenn.

The Marine Corps budget includes 104 new Amphibious Combat Vehicles, 22 Tomahawk cruise missiles, and 90 anti-ship Naval Strike Missiles. The Marines are also getting 672 Joint Light Tactical Vehicles—the replacement for the Humvee.

Air Force

f35s lackland
F-35s from the 62nd Fighter Squadron visit Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, October 2021.US Air Force

The U.S. Air Force budget request amounts to $262.6 billion, a hair above previous budgets when accounting for inflation.

Under the request, the service would get 42 F-35A Joint Strike Fighters to replace F-16 fighter jets, down from 48 in 2024. It would also get 18 new F-15EX Super Eagle strike fighters (the latest version of the storied jet), 15 KC-46A Pegasus tankers, 7 new T-7A Red Hawk supersonic jet trainers, and 8 MH-139A Grey Wolf helicopters. Additionally, the Air Force would buy 12 new Armed Overwatch aircraft—prop-driven attack aircraft meant to support special operations forces in the field.

Missiles are a big part of the Air Force budget. The service is requesting 550 new Joint Air to Surface Standoff Missiles (JASSM)—a type of stealthy land attack cruise missile used against Syrian chemical weapons sites in 2018—50 new Joint Strike Missiles, 115 Long Range Anti-Ship Missiles, a ship killing variant of JASSM, 147 AIM-9X Sidewinder air-to-air missiles, and 462 AMRAAM air-to-air missiles. The service would also get more than 1,400 small diameter bombs, the longer-range glide variant of the JDAM GPS-guided bomb, and 1,500 JDAMs.

Nuclear Weapons and Missile Defense

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B-21 Raider bomber.U.S. Air Force

Nuclear weapons are a huge chunk of the defense budget. The Pentagon wants $49.2 billion to support the “nuclear enterprise”, including supporting production of the new B-21 Raider bomber, refurbishing Trident II D-5 submarine launched missiles, developing the new Sentinel intercontinental ballistic missile, and funding construction of the new Columbia-class missile submarines.

The budget also allots $28.4 billion for missile defense, including the new Ground Based Interceptor (meant to defend the homeland from limited missile strikes), new early warning systems, new air defense command and control systems, and missile defenses for the island of Guam—which, in the event of war, would likely come under heavy missile and drone attack from China.

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