Amid budget cuts, military protects future capabilities
The US military released its annual budget last Friday, asking for $ 173 billion for fiscal year 2022. The amount reflects cuts of $ 3.6 billion in the service’s enacted budget for fiscal year 2021. The need to cutting spending has forced army officials to assess which priorities to pursue and which efforts to abandon. Funding for the six service modernization priorities and its 31 + 4 signature efforts were not included in the cuts.
The military request is part of President Biden’s Defense Department’s total funding request of $ 715 billion, which is a 1.6% increase over funding promulgated for FY21 of 703. , $ 7 billion. And although DOD’s total budget request for science and technology research, development, testing and evaluation, known as RDT & E, is $ 112 billion, the The highest amount ever, the Army’s RDT & E funds would be reduced by $ 4 billion from funds adopted for FY21.
“We continue to protect our modernization priorities and we will continue to focus on the military’s personnel, readiness and modernization priorities,” said Major General Paul Chamberlain, United States, Budget Manager of the Army. “We will ensure that your military is prepared to respond to any eventuality, whether overseas or even in the United States.”
In a panel discussion with reporters on June 1, General Chamberlain explained the reasoning behind the cuts. Part of it comes from the planned withdrawal of all US troops from Afghanistan by October 1, allowing the military’s O&M (O&M) demand to be lower by about $ 700 million, given the declining position of the service within the US Central Command (CENTCOM).
“The army’s budget for fiscal year 22 is in line with the interim national security strategic directions, it is in line with the OSD [Office of Secretary of Defense] priorities and messages, ”said the general. “It’s also a little different from previous budgets, where now everything is a base budget. There is no OCO [Overseas Contingency Operation] funding. What was once OCO is now included as a basis known as direct warfare or sustainable costs. “
The remaining O&M funds will be used in part to improve readiness by funding home station training and 20 combat training center (CTC) rotations. For Exercise 22, CTC efforts will include rotations both in Hawaii – to provide training in a jungle environment to support the Indo-Pacific command – and in Alaska – in support of training and the cold weather preparation in accordance with the service’s recently released arctic strategy.
The department’s budget request, if passed, would also fund its new Regionally Aligned Readiness and Modernization Model (ReARMM) which aims to integrate equipment commissioning and training measures into the modernization program of the department. the army.
Notably, seven Army programs would be stopped or eliminated, including: night vision imaging systems for aviators, Hellfire launchers, Joint Technology Center systems integration, 2.75-inch rocket launchers , Light Counter-Mortar Radar, Multifunctional Electronic Warfare (MFEW) and Spider Array Munitions Systems, representing total reductions of approximately $ 48 million. As for the MFEW effort, “it had some issues and didn’t deliver the full range of capabilities we were hoping it would produce,” the general said. “So we’re going to re-evaluate this program and see if, with a little more development time, it’s worth getting back into production. “
In addition, 37 programs have been or will be reduced, in areas such as “our tanks and our Abrams,” General Chamberlain said. “There is ammunition [funding cuts] in there, the JLTV [Joint Light Tactical Vehicles] in there, radios and communications security equipment. Most of the reductions and divestitures relate to programs which, along with the funding used, aim to ensure that we maintain funding for our 31 + 4 modernization efforts. “
The service will continue to continue modifying or upgrading 70 M-1 Abrams tanks, costing $ 1 billion, and purchasing 3,799 JLTVs, costing $ 1.1 billion. General Chamberlain said the cuts to the JLTV program will come from the “extension of the production schedule” of vehicles from his supplier, Oshkosh Defense. To secure the rights to the data, the military still plans to pursue a re-competition of the JLTV contract, and efforts are still on track, the general said.
“One of the most important factors in being able to respond is our ability to know how much money we are going to get, when we are going to get it and whether we are going to have a sustained amount of funding in the future as we continue to move forward, ”added General Chamberlain. “These are some of the important critical elements in being able to build a good, solid budget, able to respond to the unexpected anywhere in the world. And that’s what the army is there for.