A nuclear-capable Trident II intercontinental missile heads down range after its launch from the submarine USS Maine off San Diego in February 2020. Navy photo

President Joe Biden’s $715 billion defense budget includes a 2.7% pay raise for troops and shifts billions in spending from old systems to help pay to modernize the nuclear arsenal to deter China.

The defense spending request, which was sent to Congress on Friday, invests in troop readiness, space, the Pacific Deterrence Initiative aimed at countering China’s military build-up in the region, and nuclear weapons technology.

The budget request would buy warships and jets, and pay for maintenance and salaries, and an additional $38 billion is earmarked for defense-related programs at the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Department of Energy and other agencies, bringing the national security budget to $753 billion, a 1.7% increase over the 2021 figure.

There is also money to further develop and test hypersonic weapons and other “next generation” systems as the military aims to build capabilities to counter Russia and China.

Presidential budget requests, including those for the military, are commonly a starting point for negotiations with Congress, which ultimately decides how funds are spent.

The proposed pay raise for military and civilian Defense Department workers follows a 3% raise for the current fiscal year, which ends Sept. 30.

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