(AirForceMag) President Biden’s security policy strongly echoes that of the 2018 strategy, putting competition with China and deterrence of the Chinese and Russians front and center. Feared deep cuts in the 2022 defense budget request did not materialize. The strategic deterrence modernization program was fully funded, calming the worries of deterrence hawks.
The Air Force plan to divest legacy systems to free up funds for modernization survived in the administration’s budget review. Hundreds of aircraft will be retired if the plan wins congressional approval, allowing investment in hypersonic weapons, next-generation combat aircraft, and more.
The U.S. will “reclaim our place in international institutions; live up to our values at home and speak out to defend them around the world; modernize our military capabilities, while leading first with diplomacy, and revitalize America’s unmatched network of alliances and partnerships,” Biden wrote in the forward to the interim strategy.
Underlying all of this is “a revolution in technology that poses both peril and promise,” the strategy warns. The first to exploit artificial intelligence and quantum computing in both the military and commercial worlds will have a strategic advantage, and the U.S. must invest to remain a leader. Those advances could help combat climate change and cure disease; emerging 5G networking technology will “set the stage for huge advances in commerce and access to information.”
While the 2018 strategy pushed for technological dominance of potential allies, the Biden administration’s take is to instead rely on establishing a “favorable distribution of power” to prevent adversaries from threatening the U.S. and its allies or denying them access to the global commons.