U.S.Army Will Remain Superior Fighting Force, Officials Say

WASHINGTON, Feb. 14, 2012 — Though its por­tion of Pres­i­dent Barack Obama’s fis­cal 2013 defense bud­get request required tough deci­sions made nec­es­sary by loom­ing spend­ing reduc­tions, the Army will remain a supe­ri­or fight­ing force, senior Army offi­cials said here yes­ter­day.

In a brief­ing for reporters at the Pen­ta­gon, Army Bud­get Direc­tor Maj. Gen. Phillip E. McGhee and Bar­bara L. Bones­sa, deputy Army bud­get direc­tor, dis­cussed the request for $134.6 bil­lion in base­line fund­ing and anoth­er $50 bil­lion in over­seas con­tin­gency funds for the Army in the president’s bud­get request. “This request real­ly reflects the results of some very hard and dif­fi­cult choic­es that we had,” McGhee said. “But I will tell you now that the Army will remain the best-led, best-trained, best-equipped ground force in the world.”

The Army’s bud­get direc­tor said the fis­cal 2013 pro­pos­al sup­ports the Army’s role in the defense strat­e­gy, includ­ing:

— Train­ing and equip­ping sol­diers and units to address the cur­rent fight while main­tain­ing a high lev­el of readi­ness;

— Recruit­ing and sus­tain­ing a high-qual­i­ty all-vol­un­teer Army of sol­diers, civil­ians and fam­i­lies;

— Sup­port­ing mod­ern­iza­tion pri­or­i­ties such as net­works, tac­ti­cal vehi­cles, and avi­a­tion and sol­dier sys­tems;

— Fund­ing ongo­ing mil­i­tary oper­a­tions, sus­tain­ment and force pro­tec­tion for Oper­a­tion Endur­ing Free­dom;

— Reset­ting sol­diers, their fam­i­lies, equip­ment and units; and

— Invest­ing in enter­prise ini­tia­tives such as ener­gy effi­cien­cy, audit readi­ness and reduc­ing the cost of doing busi­ness.

The fis­cal 2013 bud­get request also takes into account a por­tion of the reduc­tion in the size of the active-duty Army that will take place over the next five years, McGhee said. He not­ed that while that reduc­tion is defined in terms of num­bers, the Army still needs to deter­mine what that small­er Army should look like.

“So both the Depart­ment of Defense and the Army lead­er­ship have direct­ed the Army staff to go ahead and put a com­pre­hen­sive review togeth­er and deter­mine what is the right force struc­ture for the Army,” the gen­er­al said.

Bones­sa out­lined sev­er­al major pro­gram cuts that she said reflect the tough deci­sions made nec­es­sary by spend­ing cuts required over the next decade.

Cut­ting the enhanced medi­um-alti­tude recon­nais­sance and sur­veil­lance air­craft will gen­er­ate about $1.2 bil­lion in sav­ings, she said. Base-bud­get fund­ing is cut for the Humvee recap­i­tal­iza­tion pro­gram, she added, but the Army will con­tin­ue to sup­port that pro­gram with over­seas con­tin­gency funds. The medi­um tac­ti­cal vehi­cle pro­gram will ter­mi­nate in fis­cal 2014 and will gen­er­ate about $1.4 bil­lion in cost avoid­ance or sav­ings over the next five years, Bones­sa said.

Also over the next five years, she said, ter­mi­na­tion of the Mount­ed Sol­dier Sys­tem and the Joint Pre­ci­sion Approach and Land­ing Sys­tem will gen­er­ate anoth­er $900 mil­lion in spend­ing reduc­tions.

The bud­get request also reflects restruc­tur­ing of a sig­nif­i­cant num­ber of oth­er pro­grams, Bones­sa said.

“There are some accel­er­a­tions out of about the hun­dred or so that we can count as hav­ing been restruc­tured,” she said, “but by far, the major­i­ty of them are pro­grams that we’re chang­ing the require­ments, chang­ing the scope, or, in many cas­es, extend­ing or spread­ing out the pro­cure­ment over mul­ti­ple years, a longer peri­od of time, in order to gen­er­ate sav­ings.”

The pro­gram ter­mi­na­tions and restruc­tur­ing do pose a risk for the defense indus­tri­al base, Bones­sa acknowl­edged.

“We believe, at this point, that it’s man­age­able,” she said, “but those are busi­ness deci­sions that will rest with the pri­vate sec­tor, and we won’t be able to address any of them with cer­tain­ty right now.”

Bones­sa said the choic­es made for the bud­get pro­pos­al were tough but nec­es­sary and in the best inter­ests of main­tain­ing a supe­ri­or fight­ing force.

“As has been said … the Army is the best-led, best-trained, and best-equipped ground force in the world,” she said. “There is noth­ing that our lead­ers or this depart­ment would allow to hap­pen or do to pre­clude that. So we’re con­tin­u­ing to meet our com­mit­ments in Afghanistan and around the world. We’re devel­op­ing the Army for the future.”

McGhee empha­sized that the fis­cal 2013 bud­get request “sus­tains our com­mit­ments to care for our sol­diers and our fam­i­lies.” For exam­ple, he said, the request includes $1.7 bil­lion for fam­i­ly pro­grams to rein­force holis­tic fit­ness, mit­i­gate stress and build resilience.

“We’re con­tin­u­ing to care for sol­diers and fam­i­lies,” Bones­sa added. That is one of the most impor­tant com­mit­ments we could pos­si­bly have, com­men­su­rate with their sac­ri­fice and ser­vice.”

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