U.S. Indo-Pacific Command is asking Congress for $11 billion more than the White House’s fiscal 2025 defense budget request, an amount that is three times greater than the wish list it submitted last year.

Much of the money requested in the annual list, obtained by Defense News, would go toward constructing infrastructure to host U.S. forces in the region, classified space programs, munitions and Guam defenses. The U.S. is aiming to bolster its presence in the region to deter China.

The largest component of the list by far is military construction in the Indo-Pacific region, with a $3.3 billion request “to enable U.S. Indo-Pacom to develop and deliver footprint requirements in a timely manner.” The military construction amount alone is nearly equal to the total $3.5 billion unfunded priorities list Indo-Pacific Command submitted to Congress last year, which was the largest wish list from any combatant command in FY24.

Indo-Pacific Command’s request to beef up military construction in the region comes after Congress recently renewed assistance to the Pacific island nations of Palau, Micronesia and the Marshall Islands, which provide military access for U.S. forces in return.

The unfunded priorities list requests another $40 million for the Navy, specifically for activities in Micronesia to integrate “posture plans, military construction projects, land use negotiations and other joint support activities.”

Meanwhile, the Philippines is expected to begin work on numerous base upgrades this year after its recent agreement to enhance basing cooperation with the United States.

Another $580.7 million on the list would go toward military campaigning in the region, with the bulk of those funds directed toward the Army.

Additionally, $1.4 billion on the Indo-Pacific Command list would go toward classified space programs. Half of that requested amount would help accelerate the development of space-based sensors used to counter missile threats, while the rest would resource “space control and enabling capabilities.”

For munitions, the list asks for more than $1 billion to accelerate development and procurement of the Maritime Strike Tomahawk cruise missile. It requests another $766.9 million for the Navy to procure more of the Standard Missile-6 weapons and another $396.9 million for that service to accelerate fielding Hammerhead mines, “designed to be delivered by unmanned underwater vehicles and surface vessels.”

It asks for $390.7 million worth of Precision Strike Missiles for the Army. For the Air Force, it requests $298.4 million to procure Joint Strike Missiles and another $105.1 million to buy Long Range Anti-Ship Missiles.

Wargames conducted by the House Committee on the Chinese Communist Party last year found a U.S.-China conflict over Taiwan would rapidly deplete munitions stockpiles, including the Long Range Anti-Ship Missile.

The command’s wish list is meant to bridge the FY25 funding gap it reported in its annual assessment to Congress, which Defense News obtained last week. That report assessed the command needs $26.5 billion for FY25, $15 billion of which was in the Pentagon’s base budget request.

The command is also asking for $430 million to develop a missile defense system in Guam “against ballistic, hypersonic and cruise missile threats.”

It’s unclear how much funding Congress can provide for either the FY24 or FY25 wish list, as last year’s debt ceiling agreement imposed an $886 billion defense spending cap for FY24 and an $895 top line for FY25. Funding any defense wish lists would require Congress to take money out of other accounts.

Nearly six months into the fiscal year, Congress has yet to pass a full FY24 budget. Lawmakers are expected to release the text of the long-overdue FY24 Pentagon spending bill later this week.

Furthermore, the Defense Department had been relying on the Senate’s $95 billion foreign aid bill for Ukraine, Israel and Taiwan to beef up global force posture and ramp up munitions production. That bill includes $542 million for Indo-Pacific Command to fulfill its $3.5 billion unfunded priorities list for FY24.

The Senate passed the bill 70-29 last month, but it has stalled in the House amid opposition from Speaker Mike Johnson, R-La., and former President Donald Trump, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee.

The military combatant commands and services are legally required to submit unfunded priorities lists to Congress every year.

Bryant Harris is the Congress reporter for Defense News. He has covered U.S. foreign policy, national security, international affairs and politics in Washington since 2014. He has also written for Foreign Policy, Al-Monitor, Al Jazeera English and IPS News.

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