JUST IN: Army Chief of Staff ‘Pleased’ With 2023 Budget Proposal

By Mikayla Easley

Defense Dept. photo

Despite plans to decelerate procurement of some legacy platforms, the Army’s chief of staff believes the fiscal year 2023 budget request will keep its modernization efforts on track.

”I’m pretty pleased with the funding that we have to keep the momentum going on those transformational six modernization priorities,” Army Chief of Staff Gen. James McConville said March 31 during a Defense Writers Group event.

The service is requesting a total of $177.5 billion in its 2023 budget request, which was released earlier this week. About $2.8 billion more than what was enacted in 2022. The proposal focuses on 35 technology programs the Army deems essential to its transformational efforts. The capabilities fall within the service’s six modernization priorities: long-range fires, ground combat vehicle, future vertical lift, the network, air and missile defense and soldier lethality.

Of the Army’s modernization goals — developing long-range precision fires — has been marked as the services No. 1 priority. When studying Russia’s recent invasion of Ukraine — and the possibility of conflict in other areas of the world — the Army’s commitment to long-range precision fires has only strengthened, he said.

The 2023 budget proposal includes funding for prototyping and first fielding of the Long-Range Hypersonic Weapon, flight tests for the Mid-Range Capability Missile and initial fielding of the Precision Strike Missile, or PrSM. These capabilities are essential to deterrence, he said.

“When I think about the options that we want to provide combatant commanders around the world, having the ability to set up no-sail areas for them where ships can’t come in because we have a mid-range capability provides an option for commanders, but also presents dilemmas to those who may want to use their naval assets in a certain way,” he said.

In addition, having the Army’s long-range fires capabilities contribute to integrated air and missile defenses throughout the joint forces is also key to its Project Convergence effort, McConville said.

The Army is trying to master how to connect its own capabilities together — as well as those in the Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps — in a seamless network of sensors and shooters known as joint all-domain command and control, or JADC2.

By tying together multiple sensors and systems, it “allows us to do things maybe from the ground and sea and air as a joint force that we could never do before — possibly a no-fly type capability using systems on the ground,” he added.

The 2023 budget requests $91 million for development of Project Convergence, the Army’s iteration of JADC2, including the program’s annual series of exercises set for later in 2022. The Army plans to invite militaries from the United Kingdom, Australia and other allies to participate, he said.

Another modernization priority for the service has been its future vertical lift portfolio. The 2023 budget request set aside $468.7 million for the future attack reconnaissance aircraft, FARA, and $693.6 million for the future long-range assault aircraft, FLRAA. The budget proposal demonstrates “full commitment” to both platforms, McConville said.

While the Army moves toward fielding future vertical lift platforms, funds for legacy aircraft like the Gray Eagle unmanned aircraft, UH-60 Black Hawk and CH-47 Chinook would be cut by $500 million under the 2023 proposal. The service is also asking to slow down upgrades to the Abrams, Bradley, Stryker and the Paladin Integrated Management fighting vehicles in 2023.

McConville said that when making the decisions to reduce funding for some legacy platforms, the Army is looking for the right balance between modernization and sustainment.

“When you take a look at the systems … all those systems are what I call ‘enduring systems,’” he said. “We’re improving them, … but at the same time I want to make sure that we’re ready today and we’re ready tomorrow. And that’s why we’re keeping the modernization efforts going.”

Topics: Army News

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