Guam key part of missile defense budget request for 2023
On March 28, the Pentagon released its budget request for the 2023 fiscal year. The overall budget request is $773 billion, and if approved, would be the largest United States Department of Defense budget. Much of this budget is going towards building up the US’ artillery to rival China’s rising military, a major rival for the US. Of this $773 billion budget, the US Missile Defense Agency is requesting $9.6 billion to strengthen and expand the deployment of its defenses against missile threats.
President Biden’s administration has requested that $892 million be allocated to expanding Guam’s missile defenses. $539 million would be allocated to the Missile Defense Agency to fund the design and development of multiple land-based radar systems, procure weapon system components, and initiate military construction planning and design activities. $133 million of the $892 million would go towards base defense enhancements throughout the Indo-Pacific region. Additionally, alongside land defense enhancements, the $892 million budget proposes the building of a ship-based Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense System to defend Guam.
The large budget request and proposed defense enhancements in Guam came following the threats from China. While Guam is well equipped to defend against North Korea’s ballistic missiles, the missile threats from China are constantly increasing and evolving, to a point where current defense systems in Guam would not be able to protect Guam against a Chinese missile attack. Currently, the main ballistic missile defense system defending Guam is the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense interceptor (THHAD).
Guam is central to the US’ power in the Pacific and by upping the island’s military defenses, they deter potential attacks and ensure the safety of their power in the area. The US military is currently in the process of analyzing and identifying sites in Guam to add new radars and interceptors. If this budget is approved and all goes well with the building of Guam’s defense systems, it is possible that the system will be ready by 2026.