The Army’s $185.5 billion budget request for fiscal year 2024 keeps the service’s modernization push “on track,” officials said, as it aims to continue moving new systems from development into production.

While the Army’s spending request is essentially flat from its current $185.2 topline for FY ‘23 topline, officials confirmed the service did not require “wholesale” cuts or reductions to current programs in order to fully fund modernization in the new budget.

The Honorable Gabe Camarillo , Undersecretary of the Army, receives an orientation to the Transport Erector Launcher of the Long Range Hypersonic Weapon by members of the U.S. Army Rapid Capabilities and Critical Technologies Office and Lockheed Martin during a visit to Huntsville, Alabama on April 1, 2022. Photo: William King, U.S. Army Materiel Command.

“This budget enables us to maintain significant continuity in our modernization strategy. As we’ve always said, [we’re] maintaining emphasis on the six modernization key areas and looking to continue to work on developing and fielding the systems that we’ve been working on the last several years. And the FY ‘24 budget enables us to continue that,” Under Secretary Gabe Camarillo told reporters on Friday ahead of the Army’s budget request rollout. “There were not wholesale reductions or concerted or targeted reductions against any set of programs just to be able to fund what we’re doing today. There is a lot of continuity is the way I would put it.” 

The Army is planning to invest  $23.4 billion in procurement and $15.8 billion for research and development efforts for FY ‘24, both of which are slightly below the funding levels received for FY ‘23.

For procurement, the Army’s largest investment increase is in its missile profiles, where it’s seeking $5 billion, up from $3.8 billion this fiscal year.

Officials noted 82 percent of service’s science and technology funding in the request is aligned to its modernization priorities, to include $1 billion for continued development of the Bradley-replacing Optionally Manned Fighting Vehicle, $1.5 billion for its Future Vertical Lift portfolio and $900 million for the Long-Range Hypersonic Weapon program. 

In the lead-up to the budget roll-out, Army Secretary Christine Wormuth confirmed the Army is no longer running its “night court” top-down reviews for identifying cuts to legacy and enduring programs, adding the process had already identified all the potential areas for savings that could be shifted to funding modernization efforts.

Camarillo on Friday detailed the Army’s approach to ensuring full funding modernization without “night court,” noting Wormuth’s remarks that “all that low hanging fruit has already been taken” from the process.

“When the Army was initiating many of the prototyping efforts that are now beginning to transition into production, so we’re talking like the 2018/2019 timeframe, they had to make a significant amount of space within the [research and development and acquisition] (RDA) portfolio to accommodate that growth. That’s why the Army undertook back then the night court,” Camarillo said. “So there’s not much more to get. So really the challenge that we’ve had is to maintain continuity and continue investment within the portfolio that was set apart in the night court.”

As the Army works to develop more than 30 new “signature systems,” Doug Bush, the Army’s top acquisition official, said the service has “decision space” as a result of previous night courts and ongoing review efforts to ensure momentum on modernization efforts moving forward.

“The RDA accounts are, I think, in [FY] ‘24 very well funded. All the efforts are funded to stay on track. I think that by itself is a big deal. And we are preserving decision space for the secretary and the under [secretary] over time to shape our modernization portfolio,” Bush told reporters on Friday. 

Building on the Army’s aim to provide 24 of the “signature systems” in some form to soldiers in FY ‘23, officials detailed additional capabilities that are set to roll out next fiscal year.

The Army expects to reach a first unit equipped milestone with its new Mid-Range Capability (MRC) in the fourth quarter of FY ‘24, with the request including $380 million in R&D and $170 million in procurement for the program. 

Lockheed Martin [LMT] was previously tasked with serving as the integrator for MRC, the service’s new ground-based weapon designed to fire Raytheon Technologies’ [RTX] SM-6 and Tomahawk missiles (Defense Daily, Nov. 9). 

“This is largely buying missiles. The launching equipment has been funded in previous budgets,” Bush told reporters.

For the new Lockheed Martin-built Precision Strike Missile, which is the Army’s program to replace its legacy ATACMS missiles, the service is planning to buy 110 more PrSM Inc. 1 weapons in FY ‘24 and have first prototype delivery in the fourth quarter of next fiscal year.

The Northrop Grumman [NOC]-built Integrated Air and Missile Defense Battle Command System (IBCS), which is nearing a full-rate production decision, is also set to be fielded in FY ‘24, according to the Army. 

After selecting Sig Sauer last April as the manufacturer for its Next-Generation Squad Weapons and new 6.8 caliber ammunition, the Army said it’s on track to reach a first unit equipped marker in the second quarter of FY ‘24.

The Army’s full $6.7 billion investment plan for modernization in FY ‘24 also includes $1.2 billion in furthering tactical network upgrades.

For long-range fires, which has remained the Army’s top modernization priority, the service’s request includes $944 million in R&D funding and $157 million in procurement for the Long-Range Hypersonic Weapon and $237 million to continue R&D for future PrSM increments, as well as the MRC spending plans. 

“If you put all that together, that’s a pretty dramatic increase in Army precision and range once all these missiles are actually procured and fielded,” Bush told reporters.

Wormuth confirmed in late February the service remains on track to field its first LRHW battery this fall (Defense Daily, Feb. 27).

For procurement, the Army is planning to more than double its buy of BAE Systems-built Armored Multi-Purpose Vehicles, with 91 vehicles in FY ‘24, as well including plans to procure 33 of the new General Dynamics Land Systems [GD]-manufactured Mobile Protected Firepower platforms.