Aviation Week runs piece on what might be in store for the American Defense industry and Government Policy…
Some will be a continuance of present policies…
Some will naturally go back to the Obama/Biden admin policies….
Joe Biden would have a virus ravaged economy with a Giant hole in the budget….
The 2020 U.S. presidential election will be competitive and probably will be decided by the electoral college votes of 6-8 states. Although COVID-19 has dominated thinking about defense, it is a good time for defense planners, analysts and management to start considering what the administration of presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden could mean for the sector in 2021-24.
A Biden presidency and Democratic control of Congress is not likely to be a negative for defense, but it would introduce some new factors and issues. If Biden wins in November, Democrats could also regain a majority in the Senate and retain the House majority. If that happens, the 2022 midterm election will be the next major marker, because midterm elections typically are seen as a public verdict on how the president is doing.
As can be expected based on the vast majority of major election campaigns, Biden’s team has not put forth much hard budget data or program specifics yet. Biden’s campaign website under “Defend Our Vital Interests” states: “We have the strongest military in the world—and as president, Biden will ensure it stays that way. The Biden administration will make the investments necessary to equip our forces for the challenges of the next century, not the last one.” He will also “end forever wars” in Afghanistan and the Middle East, it states.
Biden’s advisors are largely centrists who served in the Obama administration. These include Tony Blinken, Jake Sullivan, Brian McKeon, Jeffrey Prescott, Julianne Smith and other former Pentagon officials. Some policies conceived when Biden was vice president—the “pivot” to the Asia-Pacific region, the “third offset strategy” and a refocus on Europe after the Russian seizure of Crimea-—have been sustained, though relabeled, by the Trump administration. Other current policies are likely to be altered, including “maximum pressure” on Iran, the transactional view of alliances, overall absence of U.S. leadership on core global issues and movement away from current arms control agreements.
China also will remain a critical defense factor, particularly if a Biden administration leans more heavily on human rights issues, and U.S.-Russia relations could be more contentious.
Under Biden, significant cuts to the Pentagon’s current plan for fiscal 2022-25 would be unlikely because it will attempt to assert U.S. leadership in ways that could continue to rile China and Russia. However, the administration would have to balance defense needs against post-COVID-19 spending needs, and there is a strong likelihood that the magnitude of federal debt will light new fires in Washington over total U.S. federal spending….