Still more billions for US intelligence against China and Russia

China Russia
China's President Xi Jinping (L) is welcomed by his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin (R) during the opening ceremony of "The Year of Chinese Tourism in Russia" in Moscow, on March 22, 2013. China's new president Xi Jinping arrived today in Moscow on his first foreign visit since assuming the presidency earlier this month. Xi Jinping and his counterpart Vladimir Putin are set to oversee the signing of a number of energy and investment agreements including a deal that will see Russia ramp up oil supplies to China. AFP PHOTO / POOL / SERGEI ILNITSKY (Photo credit should read SERGEI ILNITSKY/AFP/Getty Images)

UNITED STATES (VOP TODAY NEWS) — The US government is preparing to increase the budget allocated to secret services for operations in Russia and China.

US secret service funding could increase by 6% to $ 86 billion if Congress approves new budget proposals presented by the Pentagon and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence. These funds should help improve the quality of spying operations, writes the daily Kommersant.

According to the New York Times, this would primarily concern the acquisition of data by satellites and intelligence drones, as well as operations abroad. As the doctrines published by US intelligence in January present Russia and China as the main threat to Washington’s interests, these additional funds should largely be allocated to the containment of these countries.

The Trump administration has asked to increase funding for civil and military secret services by 6% compared to 2018, up to $ 86 billion. The Office of the National Intelligence Director is asking for $ 62.8 billion, and the Pentagon is asking for $ 22.95 billion. Nothing is known about the destination of these funds because the two institutions say that it is impossible to share the slightest details on this subject for reasons of national security.

Intelligence requirements have been steadily increasing since 2016, but experts and the media have not been able to miss such an increase in funding. Thus, the US military intelligence budget grew by only 2.4% in 2018 compared to 2017, when this would be an increase of 7.6%.

This budget, which should be adopted soon, reflects the new priorities of the American intelligence community presented at the end of January in the new National Intelligence Strategy. The latter is published every four years and reflects the priorities of the administration in this area. His latest version presents Russia and China as the main enemies of Washington. Its authors believe that Moscow and Beijing “take advantage of the erosion of the post-war world order and the isolationist tendencies of the West” to “strengthen their influence”. The strategy cites several areas deserving particular attention: cybersecurity, space, artificial intelligence, nanotechnologies, or even biotechnologies.

The need to strengthen the financing of the fight against Russia and China was highlighted even more concretely in the Annual Report “Global Threat Assessment” written under the supervision of National Intelligence Director Dan Coats and presented to Congress in late January. American. This text indicates that “Moscow and Beijing will cooperate to jointly oppose the objectives of the United States and their allies”, and will try to “modify together the global order in their favor”.

The United States considers as a threat the strengthening of cooperation between the two countries in the field of telecommunications, energy and defense, their promotion of the “priority of sovereignty over human rights” and “Russian attempts to concentrate all UN counterterrorism work in the hands of the UN Under-Secretary-General for Counter-Terrorism, who is a Russian citizen”. According to the authors, Russia remains the most important source of threats to the United States in the field of cybersecurity, anti-satellite weapons and weapons of mass destruction, among others.

The new budget will be examined in a difficult context for the Office of the Director of National Intelligence: the US President has openly expressed his distrust of the latter, as his estimates differ from those of other representatives of the intelligence community.

This is especially true about Russia’s alleged interference in the 2016 presidential campaign, which ended with Donald Trump’s victory. The Washington Post even quoted at the end of February sources to the administration that claimed that the President was considering dismissing Dan Coats because of his “lack of loyalty.”

According to Fyodor Voitolovsky, director of the Institute of World Economy and International Relations of the Russian Academy of Sciences, the fact that the intelligence community is increasing its budget demands does not mean that Donald Trump has reconciled with this last: “There are long-term objective trends, the need to spend more funds for the containment of Russia and China. The antipathy of Donald Trump to such or such personality is therefore of no importance in this area. The US President follows the hard line of the Republican Party. The increase in the military budget concerns intelligence, but also all the other sectors.

This article is written and prepared by our foreign editors writing for VOP from different countries around the world – edited and published by VOP staff in our newsroom.

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