Here's the firepower the Pentagon is asking for in its $705 billion budget

Key Points
  • The Defense Department is asking Congress for $705.4 billion in its fiscal 2021 budget.
  • Under the Trump administration, the Pentagon's budget has swelled from $670 billion in 2018 to $712 billion in 2020.
An F/A-18 Hornet aircraft sits on the flight line as a wall of fire detonates behind it during an air show at Marine Corps Air Station Miramar, Calif., Oct. 3, 2010.
Lance Cpl. Jamean Berry | US Marine Corps

WASHINGTON — The Defense Department is asking Congress for $705.4 billion in its fiscal 2021 budget, $13 billion less than what Congress gave the Pentagon in fiscal 2020.

The White House released the broad details of President Donald Trump's budget proposal for the fiscal year starting Oct. 1, which seeks a colossal $740.5 billion for national defense.

The Pentagon's portion of the budget is comprised of a $636.4 billion base and an additional $69 billion for overseas contingency operations funding, aka the war budget.

Under the Trump administration, the Pentagon's budget swelled from $670 billion in 2018 to $712 billion in 2020.

What's more, the iShares U.S. Aerospace & Defense exchange-traded fund has rallied more than 83.3% since Nov. 8, 2016. The S&P 500, meanwhile, is up around 57.5% in that time. In 2019, the ITA ETF rose more than 28.5%, about even with the S&P 500, which gained around 28.9%.

The uptick in defense spending comes as the Trump administration has pulled the United States back from global commitments while pushing for the denuclearization of North Korea, escalating tensions with Iran, engaging in a bitter trade war with China and continuing efforts to negotiate the end of the U.S. war in Afghanistan.

Here's a breakdown of some of the major weapons programs the Pentagon wants to add to its arsenal.


A naval aviator with Marine Fighter Attack Training Squadron 501 flies an F-35 above North Carolina during aerial refueling training on April 14, 2015.
Cpl. Unique Roberts | U.S. Marine Corps

The Pentagon is asking for $56.9 billion to invest in the military's air domain. Of that total, the Defense Department wants $11.4 billion to buy 79 F-35 Joint Strike Fighters. The F-35 is Lockheed Martin's largest program and the world's most expensive weapons system.

Other major investments:

  • 24 Boeing F/A-18E/F Super Hornets: $2.1 billion
  • 12 Boeing F-15EX Advanced Eagles: $1.6 billion
  • 15 Boeing KC-46A Tankers: $3 billion
  • 9 Boeing V-22 Ospreys: $1.8 billion


The aircraft carrier USS Harry Truman transits the Arabian Sea, Jan. 31, 2020.
Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Scott Swofford | US Navy

The Pentagon wants $32.2 billion to grow and modernize the Navy's battle force fleet from 292 ships in fiscal year 2019 to 306 ships in 2025. The Pentagon is also asking for long-range anti-ship missiles and a pair of unmanned surface vehicles to diversify the Navy's capabilities.

Other major investments:


U.S. Marines with the 3rd Marine Division, III Marine Expeditionary Force position their assault amphibious vehicles on the beach during an amphibious raid exercise with Royal Thai Marines at Hat Yao, Thailand, on June 10, 2013.
Cpl. John Lamb | U.S. Marine Corps

The Pentagon is requesting $13 billion for ground combat systems. The request includes 5,444 combat and tactical vehicles with a price tag of $6.9 billion.

Other major investments:

  • 4,247 Joint Light Tactical Vehicles for a variety of missions: $1.4 billion
  • 72 Amphibious Combat Vehicles for use across the U.S. Marine Corps: $521 million

Missile Defense

An unarmed U.S. Air Force Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missile launches during an operational test May 3, 2017, at Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif.
Airman 1st Class Daniel Brosam | US Air Force

The Pentagon wants $20.3 billion to support the 2019 Missile Defense Review, which calls for a layered and interoperable approach.

Other major investments:

  • 41 interceptors for the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense system: $916 million
  • 40 missiles for the Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense system: $619 million
  • 400 Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missile Extended Range: $577 million
  • Expanded capabilities to counter missile threats for the Missile Defense Agency: $7.9 billion


The 45th Space Wing successfully launches a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket for the U.S. Navy lifted off from Space Launch Complex-41 July 9, 2013, Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla.
Pat Corkery | via U.S. Air Force

The Pentagon is requesting $18 billion to invest in the emerging security environment in outer space. Of that, it wants $15.4 million for the establishment of Space Force, a sixth and separate military branch.

Other major investments:

  • Funding for space-based missile warning systems: $2.5 billion
  • Investment in three space launches: $1.6 billion

— Nate Rattner and Fred Imbert contributed to this report from CNBC's global headquarters in Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey.