In light of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, now in its seventh day, the Democratic controlled House and its Armed Services Committee are certain to authorize an increase in the defense budget for fiscal year 2023, the committee’s leader said Thursday.
“It’s gonna go up,” Rep. Adam Smith (D-Wash.), the Armed Services chair, said Thursday during a question and answer session at the American Enterprise Institute think tank in Washington.
With hearing season only starting on Capitol Hill and the Russian-instigated war in Ukraine disrupting business as usual, Smith did not discuss the specifics.
Asked about Russia’s nuclear posture — Vladimir Putin, the Russian president, announced Sunday that Moscow’s nuclear forces would be placed on heightened alert — Smith demurred about any possible U.S. change in posture.
“That’s a bit more complicated,” Smith said. “We knew where Russia was coming from in the first place and nothing at the moment has really changed in that regard. It was in their defense doctrine to threaten nuclear weapons in a conflict like this. Really what’s going to change it is when that [Biden administration] nuclear posture review comes out.”
Smith spoke less than a day after the war in Ukraine disrupted even the usual business for U.S. nuclear forces.
On Wednesday, John Kirby, the Pentagon’s press secretary, said the Air Force would delay the planned test launch of an unarmed Minuteman III missile. The test was scheduled well in advance, like many such U.S. launches, but was scrapped amid the ongoing attack on Ukraine “in an effort to demonstrate that we have no intention in engaging in any actions that could be misunderstood or misconstrued,” Kirby said.
Nevertheless, delaying the Minuteman III launch could have an effect on other activities at the Vandenberg Space Force Base, which supports not only Air Force space and missile launches, but civilian space launches.