As telegraphed by Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel Feb. 25, the Army’s $120.5 billion portion of the president’s budget request for fiscal year 2015 ends the Ground Combat Vehicle at the close of the technology demonstration phase, divests OH-58 Kiowa Warrior helicopters and moves AH-64 Apache helicopters from the National Guard to the active component.
The budget does not bring the service back in balance among end strength, modernization and readiness, Dyson said. The president’s budget would allow the Army to begin to reestablish balance after FY 2016.
The FY 2015 budget adapts to the tightening fiscal environment and supports the Army’s strategic priorities outlined by Chief of Staff Gen. Raymond Odierno earlier this year as “Waypoint 2.” Those priorities are: an adaptive Army; a globally responsive, regionally engaged Army; a ready and modern Army; maintaining the premier all volunteer Army; and soldiers committed to the Army profession.
The Army’s capability to prevent, shape and win “nest” within the strategy outlined in the Quadrennial Defense Review–also released with the budget, said Maj. Gen Karen Dyson, director, Army Budget.
The $120.5 billion budget consists of military personnel (46 percent), operation and maintenance (35 percent), procurement/research development test and evaluation (RDT&E) (17 percent), and military construction and family housing, Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) (one percent), and a final 1 percent for such things as Arlington National Cemetery, Joint Improvised Explosive Device Defeat and Chemical Agents and Munitions Destruction.
Some things improve under this request: operation and maintenance funds continue to implement the services move away from conflict to rebuilding warfighting core competencies, as called for in the QDR and DoD’s evolving strategy.
For example, while last year restricted budgets caused the cancellation of seven combat training rotations, the FY ’15 budget requests funds for 19 Brigade Combat Team maneuver training exercises at the Combat Training Centers.
The modernization budget request continues to focus on the soldier and a full spectrum force. The smaller, ready and modern Army requires lethal, protected, networked and mobile forces, the service said in its briefing charts.
The emphasis is on restructuring and upgrading programs, to include completed development of the Ground Combat Vehicle at the end of the Technology Development phase later this year; cancellation of the Kiowa Warrior cockpit upgrade program, and delayed development of enhanced on-the-move networking capability.
High priority programs continuing in the request include development of the Armored Mobile Personnel Vehicle; low rate initial production procurement of the Paladin Integrated Management Capability; initial procurement of the Joint Light tactical Vehicle, and accelerating engineering efforts on the M1 Abrams, M2 Bradley and Stryker combat vehicles. Other high priority programs include integrated air and missile defense, and Patriot modernization and Patriot Missile Segment Enhancement.
The FY ’15 budget request supports key UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter investments. There is $1.44 billion to buy for 55 UH-60M helicopters, 24 HH-60M helicopters and mission equipment packages.
Other program support comes for CH-47 Chinook, $1.03 billion to buy 26 remanufactured aircraft and six new built CH-47F aircraft and associated modifications to the fleet.
Another $833 million will go to Apache to buy 25 remanufactured AH-64Es –the Block III—aircraft, and associated mods to the existing AH-64D fleet.
Also, there is $770 million for Army combat vehicles, supporting the procurement of a third Stryker Double-V Hull brigade through the Stryker Vehicle exchange program. Abrams continues armor production, safety modifications, training devices, and operational field modifications. Bradley continues with Engineering Change Proposal 1, M3 to M2 conversion, and fielding to Army National Guard.
The WIN-T Network is supported by a request for $672 million to fund the upgrade of 81 WIN-T Increment 1 units with modification kits to enhance interoperability with WIN-T Increment 2. It supports procurement of WIN-T Increment 2 for one Brigade Combat Team (BCT) and one Division, plus one battalion each for nine Infantry BCTs. It also supports integration of 179 modification kits for AN/TRC-190 line of sight radio systems and fields Tactical NetOps Management Systems to 48 non-WIN-T units.
Patriot missiles are supported with $385 million to buy 70 Patriot Missile Segment Enhancement Missiles.
Counter Fire Radar System would receive $209 million for the continued procurement of 13 Q-53 Counterfire Target Acquisition Radar System and retrofit of initial production systems.
Additionally, the service requests $160.9 million to buy 9,700 enhanced night vision goggles for soldiers.