The Pentagon seemed to be scrambling to prepare for World War 3. They are determined to meet Russia’s increasing aggression in Europe with a budget amounting to $3.4 billion. Defense is also allotting $5 billion for the possibility of conflict extending in space and $71.4 billion for autonomous vehicles that can be kicked out the back of a fighter jet moving at Mach 0.9.
This is the current value Secretary of Defense Ash Carter is putting in for what the Pentagon refers to as the European Reassurance Initiative (ERI). In the face of increasing aggression by Russia in Europe, there is a need for the country to increase support for its NATO allies. The said increase is now weighing heavily in the proposed fiscal 2017 budget as it now amounts to more than four times last year’s budget of $800 million. Of the sudden increase, Carter explains, “We haven’t had to worry about this for 25 years; while I wish it were otherwise, now we do.”
Russia, along with China, is currently viewed as the country’s “most stressing competitors.” In Eastern and Central Europe, the Whitehouse says that “persistent, rotational U.S. air, land, and sea presence in the region” began as a response following Russia’s occupation of Crimea. These activities under Operation Atlantic Resolve were all conducted using ERI funding.
The quadrupled funding proposed for the 2017 budget will help the U.S. strengthen its military presence in Europe. This will reportedly come in the form of increased rotational U.S. forces in Europe along with increased training, increased “war-fighting gear” and a host of infrastructure improvements. The Whitehouse also says it plans to increase its combat vehicles and supplies in Europe in order to “reduce force deployment times and enable a rapid response to potential contingencies.” At the same time, a European Activity Set (EAS) consisting of one U.S. armored brigade combat team’s vehicles and associated equipment will also be placed in various NATO ally territories, including Bulgaria, Estonia, Germany, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, and Romania.
The Pentagon is also preparing for a World War 3 that can happen in space. “I also want to mention space because at times in the past, space was seen as a sanctuary, new and emerging threats make clear that that’s not the case anymore and we must be prepared for the possibility of a conflict that extends in space,” Carter told press.
The secretary mentioned $71.4 billion-worth of projects involving micro-cameras, sensors and MEMS [microelectromechanical systems]. These shall enable off network targeting through commercial components that are “small enough to hold in your hand like your phone, and cheap enough to own like your phone.” The projects included autonomous vehicles that can fly through heavy winds and be kicked out the back of a fighter jet moving at Mach 0.9. And finally, hypervelocity smart projectiles that were developed for the electromagnetic gun – the railgun.
Aside from making a heavy investment towards countering Russian aggression in Europe, Secretary Carter also emphasized the need to increase the Pentagon budget for fighting ISIS. A total of $1.8 billion is being invested in fiscal year 2017 alone to be able to acquire 450,000 more GPS-guided smart bombs and laser-guided rockets that have been heavily used in the campaign against Islamic State throughout Syria and Iraq.