WASHINGTON --- Lt. Gen. Aundre Piggee, Army G-4, identified for lawmakers the top two items the Army considers priorities for funding.
The first is prepositioned stocks, he told the House Armed Services Readiness Subcommittee Wednesday. Those stocks would be used by the combatant commanders for early-entry forces. Of immediate concern is filling the Army Prepositioned Stock 2 in Europe.
The second big priority is munitions, he said. The Army is short of "preferred munitions." He explained that preferred munitions include those used for the Patriot and Terminal High Altitude Area Defense systems, as well as Hellfire missiles and Excalibur rounds used for howitzers.
Piggee was joined on Capitol Hill by Lt. Gen. Joseph Anderson, Army G-3/5/7, and Lt. Gen. Gwen Bingham, assistant chief of staff for Installation Management. All three testified at the hearing on "The Current State of U.S. Army Readiness."
TRAINING, MODERNIZATION, MANNING
Anderson said he welcomed the growth of the total Army to 1,018,000, as authorized by the National Defense Authorization Act for fiscal year 2017. "If funded, we will use these increases to fill gaps in our current formations to prevent the development of a hollow force," he said.
Asked if that was a sufficient number of Soldiers, Anderson replied that he believes that the Army chief of staff said that 1.2 million "is the one that reduces us to moderate risk."
Funding levels commensurate with the end-strength increase will enable the Army to invest in modernizing its equipment, he continued. "We deferred many modernization investments which allowed our competitors to gain advantages in such areas as fires, area missile defense and armor."
The Army also would like to increase the number of combat training center rotations "from 19 starting in this fiscal year, up to 20 in FY20," he added.
Installations also need a funding infusion. Bingham said 22 percent of installation facilities, or 33,000 structures are rated as in "poor and failing conditions." It would take $10.8 billion to fix them up.
She added that about 20 percent of all facilities are categorized as "excess infrastructure," meaning that they're not being used or are underutilized, and maintaining those facilities costs money.
"We still are favorable to a BRAC," she said, meaning a new round of Base Realignment and Closure. However, in historical terms, a round of BRAC only results in the removal of 4 to 5 percent excess capacity, so the Army would still hold a tremendous amount of excess infrastructure, she explained
CIVILIAN HIRING FREEZE
Asked about the impact of the Army civilian hiring freeze, Anderson replied that it affects "all things readiness -- going to war capabilities, from force protection, to training, to running ranges." To compensate, the Army has been forced to enlist Soldiers to perform duties usually performed by civilians. These "borrowed" Soldiers are missing out on their own training, he added.
Bingham said the hiring freeze has impacted child development centers, particularly part-time child development services. However, no child development centers have yet closed.
She added that the acting secretary of the Army has validated and approved over 5,000 exemptions to the hiring freeze.