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In March, the Pentagon released their latest unfunded priorities lists (UPLs) – annual “wish lists” for additional weapons and projects the president didn’t ask for. 

Congress requires the Pentagon to submit these UPLs each year, offering a backdoor to boosting already exorbitant military spending. The UPLs for fiscal year 2025 total a whopping $25.8 billion – on top of the $895.2 billion in military spending President Biden has already requested. 

To push back on the UPLs and rein in wasteful and unnecessary Pentagon spending, FCNL is supporting the bipartisan Streamline the Pentagon Budgeting Act (H.R.4740). This bill would repeal the annual requirement to provide these problematic UPLs and reduce wasteful reporting burdens. 

This year’s UPLs are particularly excessive. They amount to more than $9 billion more than the $16.4 billion requested last year – an increase of more than 54%.

The “unfunded priorities lists” offer a backdoor to boosting already exorbitant military spending.

The different amounts requested by the various military services and commands include $3.5 billion for the Air Force, $2.2 billion for the Army, $3.7 billion for the Navy, and $11 billion for the Pacific Command. The lists include, among other things, millions for air and missile defense and billions for military construction projects.

While UPLs have been around for since the late 1980s, Congress made them mandatory in 2017. This mandate continues to present a bureaucratic burden, with Pentagon Comptroller Mike McCord urging Congress to “reconsider the merits of this approach.”

Especially considering new budget caps imposed by Congress in 2023 and major cost overruns incurred by existing programs like the Sentinel nuclear program, these lists have clearly outworn their welcome amid budget dysfunction. 

All of this adds insult to injury for the individual taxpayer. According to the National Priorities Project, the average taxpayer spent $1,748 subsidizing Pentagon contractors. That’s more than the national average rent. 

By passing the Streamline the Pentagon Budgeting Act, we can begin the long overdue process of realigning our nation’s spending priorities away from endless war and towards more pressing needs that impact our communities and the world. 

Learn more and help us end wasteful Pentagon spending. 

Sofia Guerra

Sofia Guerra

Former Program Assistant for Nuclear Disarmament and Pentagon Spending (2023-2024)

Sofia was FCNL’s 2023-2024 program assistant for nuclear disarmament and Pentagon spending.