USA — Budget Provides Funds to Balance Army, Casey Says

WASHINGTON, March 3, 2011 — For years the Army’s chief of staff has said his ser­vice was “out of bal­ance,” but he believes next year’s bud­get request will keep it on the road to recov­ery after 10 years of war.
Dur­ing tes­ti­mo­ny yes­ter­day before the House Armed Ser­vices Com­mit­tee, Army Gen. George W. Casey Jr. told law­mak­ers the fis­cal 2012 Army bud­get sub­mis­sion marks a “tran­si­tion point” between restor­ing bal­ance to the force and sus­tain­ing that bal­ance.

“This bud­get enables us to sus­tain the bal­ance that we have restored into this great Army,” Casey said, adding that “sus­tain­ing that bal­ance is crit­i­cal because this war is not over.”

Casey was joined by Army Sec­re­tary John M. McHugh on Capi­tol Hill to detail and explain the Army’s por­tion of Pres­i­dent Barack Obama’s pro­posed defense bud­get to Con­gress. The Army base bud­get request for the fis­cal year that starts Oct. 1 is $144.9 bil­lion, an increase of just $1.5 bil­lion over the fis­cal 2011 request. The Army also request­ed an addi­tion­al $71.1 bil­lion for the over­seas con­tin­gency oper­a­tions bud­get, which funds oper­a­tions in Afghanistan and Iraq.

The Army’s bud­get pro­pos­al includes a 1.5 per­cent pay raise for sol­diers, a 3.1 per­cent increase in hous­ing allowance, and a 3.4 per­cent increase in sub­sis­tence allowance.

“After a decade of very hard work, we have a force that is the right size, that is orga­nized in ver­sa­tile, mod­u­lar for­ma­tions on a pre­dictable rota­tion­al cycle, and that has suf­fi­cient time at home to begin train­ing for the full range of mis­sions and to recov­er from a decade of war,” Casey told law­mak­ers.

The Army’s recent growth and the draw­down in Iraq, Casey said, have enabled the ser­vice to improve sol­diers’ dwell time — the time they spend at home, train­ing and with their fam­i­lies — between deploy­ments.

“This is a crit­i­cal com­po­nent of sus­tain­ing an all-vol­un­teer force in a pro­tract­ed con­flict,” he said. “For the bet­ter part of five years we were return­ing sol­diers to com­bat after only one year at home. We knew that was not sus­tain­able and have been work­ing to bring dwell to two years at home as quick­ly as pos­si­ble.”

Now, the gen­er­al said, the Army has reached that goal. “Giv­en what we know about the pro­ject­ed demands, our active units who deploy after the first of Octo­ber will deploy with an expec­ta­tion of hav­ing two years at home when they return,” he said, adding that Guard and reserve units should expect to have four years at home when they return.

“We’ve worked very hard to get to this point, and it’s a sig­nif­i­cant accom­plish­ment,” Casey said, not­ing the Army will con­tin­ue to work to even­tu­al­ly pro­vide a three-year dwell time to active units.

The Army will com­plete its orga­ni­za­tion­al trans­for­ma­tion this year, Casey said, and will fin­ish the mod­u­lar con­ver­sion of all but “a hand­ful” of the service’s 300 brigades and fin­ish rebal­anc­ing about 150,000 sol­diers out of Cold War-era spe­cial­ties to skills more rel­e­vant to today’s con­flicts.

McHugh told leg­is­la­tors about the Army’s suc­cess­es in work­ing to meet the dead­line to with­draw U.S. forces from Iraq by the end of the year, tran­si­tion­ing the mis­sion there to the State Depart­ment.

“As we con­tin­ue to draw­down our forces to meet the Dec. 31, 2011, dead­line, we’ve already closed or trans­ferred over 80 per­cent of the bases we main­tained to the Iraqi author­i­ties,” McHugh said. “We’ve reduced the num­ber of U.S. per­son­nel by over 75,000, and we’ve rede­ployed some 26,000 back to oth­er oper­a­tions.”

McHugh said that fol­low­ing a trip to Iraq he was able to con­firm the immense size of the Army’s draw­down oper­a­tion there, and also that morale was high among sol­diers “as they con­tin­ue to advise and assist and train Iraqis to sup­port that still bur­geon­ing democ­ra­cy.”

Along with the draw­down in Iraq, McHugh said the Army has surged an addi­tion­al 30,000 sol­diers to Afghanistan to help defeat the al-Qai­da ter­ror­ist net­work and the Tal­iban insur­gency.

“The surge enabled our sol­diers and our Afghan part­ners to seize mul­ti­ple sanc­tu­ar­ies in the tra­di­tion­al insur­gent heart­land of south­ern Afghanistan,” the sec­re­tary said. U.S. forces have trained some 109,000 Afghan sol­diers and 41,000 Afghan nation­al police, McHugh said.

The sec­re­tary also told law­mak­ers the Army must have the right equip­ment to main­tain an edge over America’s ene­mies, now and in the future.

“Our FY12 bud­get request is crit­i­cal to achiev­ing this goal by sup­port­ing the extra­or­di­nary strides we made in the Army’s state-of-the-art net­work, tac­ti­cal wheeled vehi­cle and com­bat vehi­cle mod­ern­iza­tion pro­grams,” he said.

For the net­work, McHugh said, the Army is ask­ing for $974 mil­lion to cov­er pro­cure­ment and $298 mil­lion for research for the WINT-T net­work, which will “become the cor­ner­stone of our bat­tle­field com­mu­ni­ca­tions sys­tems.”

Also, he said, the Army is seek­ing $1.5 bil­lion for tac­ti­cal-wheeled-vehi­cle mod­ern­iza­tion and $1.4 bil­lion for the Army’s com­bat vehi­cle mod­ern­iza­tion strat­e­gy — includ­ing $884 mil­lion for the Ground Com­bat Vehi­cle and $156 mil­lion for mod­ern­iza­tion of the Stryk­er, Bradley and Abrams pro­grams.

The sec­re­tary also told the com­mit­tee about Army ener­gy ini­tia­tives, includ­ing the estab­lish­ment of a senior ener­gy coun­cil, the appoint­ment of a senior ener­gy exec­u­tive, the cre­ation of an ener­gy secu­ri­ty office, and adop­tion of a com­pre­hen­sive strat­e­gy for ener­gy secu­ri­ty.

“We’re devel­op­ing more effi­cient gen­er­a­tors, and pow­er dis­tri­b­u­tion plat­forms, fac­tor­ing in fuel costs as a part of equip­ment mod­ern­iza­tion, and devel­op­ing a net-zero approach to holis­ti­cal­ly address our instal­la­tions’ ener­gy, water and waste needs,” McHugh said.

The sec­re­tary also said the Army has com­mis­sioned a pan­el to review the service’s acqui­si­tion sys­tems from “cra­dle to grave.”

“We’re cur­rent­ly review­ing the panel’s insight­ful report and we’ll use it as a guide over the next two years to improve the effi­cien­cy and effec­tive­ness of the Army’s acqui­si­tion process,” he said.

Source:
U.S. Depart­ment of Defense
Office of the Assis­tant Sec­re­tary of Defense (Pub­lic Affairs)

More news and arti­cles can be found on Face­book and Twit­ter.

Fol­low GlobalDefence.net on Face­book and/or on Twit­ter