FY22 Budget Request for the Department of the Army
On June 29, the House Armed Services Committee held a hearing on the Department of the Army’s FY 2022 NDAA Budget Request. Both the Secretary of the Army and Chief of Staff of the Army (Christine E. Wormuth and GEN James C. McConville) testified before the full committee, providing clarification on and further justifications for the proposed budget aimed at balancing modernization priorities and current readiness capabilities. The central context underlining the budget discussions and questioning was an emphasis on the Army’s shifting strategy, doctrine, and procurement to align with the threats posed by China and Russia.
Within this context, Chairman Adam Smith (D-WA) stated Congress’ commitment “to fund the appropriate systems and meet those modernization needs, [while] preparing the force in readiness and training.” According to him, the top-line budget is more than adequate to meet these national security needs. In particular, the Chairman noted that sometimes a tighter budget can incentivize [DOD and Congress] to achieve better results in a resource-constrained environment.
However, Ranking Member Mike Rogers (R-AL) disagreed about the adequacy of the FY 2022 President's Budget, stating that it “falls short of providing resources to the warfighter.” He highlighted that the Army’s budget would be slashed by $4 billion in real dollar-terms, but $7.5 billion when adjusted for inflation; the budget also results in a reduction of 12% for procurement and 10% for R&D. In fact, Ranking Member Rodgers noted how the Army’s budget calls for $5.5 billion in unfunded priorities, meaning much of the budget resources focus on modernization capabilities at the expense of near-term needs (i.e., the budget would buy fewer missiles and ammunition to replenish the Army’s arsenal, delay the modernization of existing Abrams tanks, etc.).
According to Secretary Wormuth, “significant progress has been made” in reference to the Army’s readiness and modernization priorities. The Secretary accentuated the point that “the Army is now a leader in new technology,” as a result of Army Futures Command, the Cross Functional Team, and the Rapid Capabilities and Critical Technologies Office.
Both GEN McConville and Secretary Wormuth discussed the important role the Army will play in future conflicts, which will be an all-domain conflict incorporating “ground forces to secure terrain, penetrate defenses, and achieve objectives.” GEN McConville explained this further: “this year we're turning a multi-domain operations concepts into real doctrine. We not only [are] developing…our six modernization priorities including our 31 + 4 signature systems. With new doctrine, organizations, [and] equipment, the army is offering multiple options to combatant commanders in multiple dilemmas to competitors and adversaries.”
When asked a question about the Army’s Organic Industrial Base (OIB) Strategy, which the FY 2022 Budget Request funds for 15 years, Secretary Wormuth not only highlighted the fact that the initial OIB “plan” will be completed hopefully within one year but also stressed the importance of ensuring “the industrial base can keep up with the Army’s modernized next-generation weapons.” This means that the Army will be analyzing the health and readiness of the industrial base to identify gaps, where there are single points of failure, or supply chain risks tied to foreign manufacturing; communication with the industrial base is essential to align with the Army’s modernization priorities.
When pressed by Congresswoman Elaine Luria (D-VA) on the role of the Army in the development and potential duplication among the Services of long-range precision fires in the Pacific, GEN McConville stated that the “Army must develop long-range precision fires [to provide] multiple options for the Combatant Commander.” However, it is an understandable question to pose, since the Army currently has few or no basing agreements to house these weapons in the first island chain, the Marine Corps is currently developing this capability with potentially more mobility, and the cost of the Army’s development might exceed the Navy and Air Force’s current capability.
Congresswoman Stephanie Murphy (D-FL) addressed both the Secretary and Chief of Staff on the future role of Special Operations forces within the Army’s shifting strategy, doctrine and exercises to Great Power Competition. In response, Secretary Wormuth described the Army’s intention to rethink the overall strategy for the Special Forces community, where the Army has already “started to look at scenarios and types of exercises used…to change them based on strategic competition with China”; the main categories she emphasized were unconventional warfare, information operations, psychological operations, and other variants of gray-zone/hybrid warfare. Dovetailing the Secretary’s statement, GEN McConville noted how the Army’s role within Special Operations would shift to strengthen Indo-Pacific relationships with allies and partners. He believes this is a key component in support of deterrence for United States Indo-Pacific Command.