Soldier Pay, Quality of Life, Modernization Among Priorities in Budget Proposal
(Source: US Army; issued March 13, 2019)
WASHINGTON --- With Soldiers increasingly being asked to shoulder heavier workloads, the Army hopes to compensate them for their efforts with a 3.1 percent pay raise.

The Army's $182.3 billion budget proposal for fiscal year 2020 includes the highest pay increase for Soldiers in a decade. Additionally, the service plans to raise basic housing allowances by 3.2 percent and basic subsistence allowances by 2.4 percent.

After launching a new recruiting initiative this year, the Army is aiming for a modest end-strength target next year, hoping to have 480,000 active-duty Soldiers, 336,000 National Guard members and 189,500 reservists by 2020.

While much of the Army's fiscal year 2020 budget focus has centered on modernization efforts, Under Secretary of the Army Ryan D. McCarthy and Lt. Gen. Thomas Horlander, the military deputy for Financial Management and Comptroller, discussed the importance of readiness and quality of life during a budget briefing at the Pentagon Tuesday.

"Readiness will continue to be the number-one priority for the Army," McCarthy said.

McCarthy said two-thirds of the Army's brigade combat teams are at their "highest state of readiness." Army leaders have asked for steady and consistent funding to supplement its readiness efforts, which helped support 32 combat training center rotations this year.

"Because of the consistent funding that we've gotten at a higher level here over the last couple of years, [it] has really allowed us to make some readiness gains," Horlander said.

To meet its readiness goals, the Army proposes to increase its operations and maintenance budget to $52.6 billion. The plan covers an increase to infantry one-station unit training from 14 to 22 weeks. It will also provide funding to train 58 brigade combat teams, six security force assistance brigades and 11 combat aviation brigades. The service additionally plans to increase spending for flight crew hours for both active-duty and National Guard members.

The operations budget funds multi-lateral exercises in the Pacific region and in Europe to help bolster partnerships with allies, a crucial element identified in the National Defense Strategy.

"There are a lot of efforts to strengthen the partnerships with our allies," Horlander said.

The service has prioritized improving housing standards, as senior leaders have visited post housing at different installations in recent months. The Army is asking for an additional $600 million for the restoration and modernization of Soldiers' barracks and installation facilities. Some funding will go toward three new housing projects, Horlander said.

The Army is seeking $34 billion for its research, development and acquisition funding that will go toward newer weapons systems.

The Army will cut funding from certain weapons platforms and legacy systems will be cut to funnel more funding toward the Army's modernization efforts. McCarthy said that 93 programs were eliminated and an additional 93 will be reduced or delayed beginning in fiscal year 2020 to fiscal 2024.

"These choices were complex and difficult. At times people will focus in on … winners and losers," McCarthy said. "But what we look at is the choices we had to make from a modernization standpoint to be the Army that we need by 2028.

While the Army will shift its focus from legacy programs, McCarthy said that some of the platforms will still be needed. Those programs will be gradually enhanced to bridge the gap between newer and older weapons systems.

The Army's FY20 budget request now awaits approval from Congress.


FY20 Budget to Boost Air & Missile Defense
(Source: US Army; issued March 13, 2019)
ARLINGTON, Va. --- The Army's budget request for fiscal year 2020 includes funding to field two "Iron Dome" air defense batteries and the first Maneuver Short-Range Air Defense, or MSHORAD, battery of Stryker variants.

Lt. Gen. James F. Pasquarette, the Army's deputy chief of staff, G-8, spoke Tuesday afternoon at the Association of the U.S. Army's "Hot Topics" seminar for Air and Missile Defense. His presentation came shortly after specifics of the budget proposal were announced at the Pentagon.

"There's $1.35 billion aligned against the top four AMD modernization programs," Pasquarette said about the FY20 budget request. He added that's a 65 percent increase from the 2019 budget for funding the four programs: MSHORAD; the Indirect Fire Protection Capability, or IFPC; the Lower Tier Air and Missile Defense Sensor, or LTAMDS program; and the Integrated Air and Missile Defense Battle Command System known as IBCS.

Over $300 million of the proposed budget is earmarked for MSHORAD, which Pasquarette said is a 280 percent increase from this year. It will complete the development and begin low-rate initial production of the MSHORAD systems, he said. It also begins funding of the multi-mission high-energy laser that will eventually be mounted on the MSHORAD Stryker vehicle.

"So, we'll have two really different platforms eventually," he said. "One with guns and missiles and one with a laser."

The FY20 budget begins to equip the first of four MSHORAD battalions, he said. The MSHORAD Strykers fielded next year will have four Stinger missiles on one side and two Hellfire missiles on the other, with a 30mm autocannon and machinegun in the center.

The MSHORAD Strykers with 50-kilowatt lasers are scheduled to be fielded beginning in 2024, he said.

In 2020, the Army also plans to field two batteries of Israel's "Iron Dome" system as an interim solution for Indirect Fire Protection Capability against rockets and cruise missiles. Each system includes a command post, several launchers and a battlefield radar.

More than $250 million for IFPC is in the FY20 budget request, Pasquarette said. That's actually a 19 percent decrease from this year, he said, explaining that the program was restructured to experiment with Iron Dome. "But the funding reduction will not delay the fielding of the enduring IFPC capability," he said.

"We revised the acquisition strategy based on the decision to go with Iron Dome batteries up front," he said. "And so we're going to purchase those two interim IFPC capabilities -- the two Iron Dome batteries -- and then experiment and figure out what is our enduring capability of the future."

The FY20 budget requests $427 million for the Lower Tier Air and Missile Defense Sensor, or LTAMDS program. That's a 375 percent increase from FY19, Pasquarette said.

"This is going to secure six prototypes and complete software development," he said, as the program moves toward initial operating capability scheduled for FY22.

The FY20 budget request earmarks $238 million for the Integrated Air and Missile Defense Battle Command System. That's actually a 25 percent decrease from this year, he said.

"The funding, though, will continue development and support of the second limited user test," he said. The test is scheduled to take place in the fourth quarter of FY20.

"Everyone's really interested in how that will go," he said.

The $238 million also funds initial prototypes of the command and control system for fielding in FY22, Pasquarette said.

Next year's budget requests $736 million for the Missile Segment Enhancement program and the Patriot Interceptor. That funding includes procurement of 147 missiles, he said.

For the Patriot missile systems, $606 million was requested for FY20. This includes modifications along with systems integration and tests, he said. "It procures the enhanced launcher electronic system kits, upgrades launchers to Firepack-3s and also (provides funding) to develop software."

For the Sentinel radar, $220 million will procure eight systems and 50 additional modification kits to improve the existing Sentinel A-3 radars.

About $82 million was requested for Stinger missiles to fund a service life extension and add a proximity fuse to 1,620 missiles, he said.

The FY20 budget includes $63 million for the Air and Missile Defense Planning Control System, which will procure equipment sets for the MSHORAD battalions and address shortfalls in the National Guard, Pasquarette said.

The FY20 budget also requests $15 million for Avenger systems -- missile launchers on Humvees -- which will "fill the gap" until IFPC becomes fully fielded by about 2031, he said.

"So, we'll be leaning on Avenger for a little bit," he said.


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