The Army has requested $182.3 billion for its fiscal year 2020 budget, including a shift of nearly $33 billion towards modernization, initiating senior leadership’s goal to reach a 50-50 split between procuring legacy systems and funding development of future systems within the next five years.
Officials detailed the FY ’20 budget request on Tuesday that will start the process of curtailing 186 programs through fiscal year 2024 as the service looks to shift $57 billion, over the same period, from upgrades of existing systems to its six modernization priorities, including Long-Range Precision Fires and Next-Generation Combat Vehicle.
“In fiscal year ‘20, this is where we make this almost symbolic or signature step to depart from legacy systems of our big five weapons systems that are standing in our formations today,” Under Secretary Ryan McCarthy told reporters Tuesday. “There were choices in this budget for modernization that were truly difficult and challenging, but were ones that the entire Army leadership stood shoulder to shoulder on and own.”
The Army’s FY ’20 request is split between a $150.7 billion base budget and $31 billion for Overseas Contingency Operations.
Overall, the Army has included a 10 percent increase in research and development funding, up to $12.4 billion, and a slight decrease of 1.5 percent for procurement, down to $25.3 billion, from enacted FY ’19 funds.
Senior Army leadership has instituted a new process they’re calling “night court” to rank out the Army’s programs, cut funding for low-tier priorities, and then shift over to modernization programs to ensure development efforts are fully funded.
McCarthy said “night court” resulted in 93 eliminated programs and downgrades for another 93, to find $32.8 billion to move over to modernization, bringing the total to $57 billion for the Future Years Defense Program (FYDP) through FY ’24.
“Between [FY] 20-24, we will get to 50/50 investing against developmental systems and legacy by the end of this FYDP,” McCarthy told reporters.
Recent Army budgets have hovered around an 80 percent to 20 percent split between legacy investments and modernization development.
The budget request includes $5.4 billion in near-term funding for future weapon system research and development, such as $378 million for the Optional Manned Fighting Vehicles to eventually replace the Army’s Bradleys, $310 million for the new light tank – Mobile Protected Firepower — and $428 million for the Army’s Lower Tier Air Missile Defense radar effort.
The move to shift funds for legacy systems to fund future platforms sets up Army officials to defend cuts in front on lawmakers as leadership prepared to defend its budget request in the coming weeks.
McCarthy said cuts to legacy programs are likely to be backloaded in the FYDP to ensure the Army has the necessary funds to move from prototyping of future weapons systems into production around FY ’24.
Immediate cuts aren’t entirely clear from the initial budget documents released by the Army on Tuesday, but officials did detail several programs that will have procurement slowed down from FY ’19 to FY ’20, including the new Joint Light Tactical Vehicles and Armored Multi-Purpose Vehicle.
The Army plans to procure 2,530 of Oshkosh’s [OSK] JLTVs in FY20, compared to 3,393 in FY ’19. For the AMPV, built by BAE Systems, officials wrote the service will purchase 121 vehicles in FY ’20, a decrease from the 197 units in FY ’19.
“Our vehicle fleet today, between Humvee, JLTV and Infantry Squad Vehicle, we have well north of a 100,000 vehicle fleet. We’re trying to hone in on the exact number of requirements for vehicles. That’s why the buy will be truncated over time,” McCarthy said.
The program to upgrade to Bradley fighting vehicles is also included among the procurement decreases in the budget request.
In the meantime, McCarthy said the Army plans to max out supplies of Hellfire missiles, GMLRS rockets and ATACMS missiles.
The Army is also planning to nearly double its upgrade of Strykers to the Double V-Hull configuration, from 82 vehicles in FY ’19 to 152 in FY ’20.