In a new Department of Defense report, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Army General Mark Milley, predicted a flat or decreased National Defense budget citing the coronavirus pandemic as the cause. 

The report, which was released by the Pentagon today, shows the interconnectedness of the American economy and our national defense posture. According to General Milley, getting the U.S. economy back on track is the first step to meeting the threats posed by China and Russia. To do that, says Milley, we must first control the virus. 

“We have had a significant pandemic,” General Milley said to DoD News. “We’ve had… an economic situation nationally for almost going on [sic] a year now. We’ve got significant unemployment.”

Solving the issues at home is the first step to being able to fund our military, said Milley. The pandemic has uprooted our national budget and with billions of dollars on the table for a second coronavirus relief package, the money has to come from someplace. But General Milley’s position is resolute: You first attack the pandemic. “Once you do that then you can put additional money into a military,” says the general.