The Army has canceled around 80 programs and is delaying or downsizing 106 others to fund its top modernization priorities, the service’s chief of staff told reporters Wednesday.

Gen. Mark Milley, speaking at an Association of the U.S. Army event, said officials have submitted the branch’s fiscal year 2020 budget request and leadership is preparing to meet with congressional leaders in February to defend funding decisions.

Gen. Mark Milley, the Army chief of staff, speaks to reporters following an AUSA event. Photo: Matthew Beinart.

“We believe we’ve weaned out any redundant, unnecessary or wasteful programs, and recouped the money and put it into readiness and modernization,” Milley said. “We think that we have a good, solid budget that is defensible.”

Ryan McCarthy, the Army under secretary, told Defense Daily the budget request is currently in review with the Office of Management and Budget (OMB).

Milley and Army Secretary Mark Esper have previously said the “rack and stack” process of determining low priority programs for possible cuts could lead to finding at least $25 billion over the next five years to shift to modernization efforts (Defense Daily, Oct. 8).

The Army’s six modernization priorities are long-range precision fires, next-generation combat vehicle, future vertical lift, air and missile defense and soldier lethality.

“It’s not a question of with any particular program was it not valuable or was it not good, it’s a question of priorities. We are trying to be utterly ruthless in adhering to those six priorities that we laid out,” Milley told reporters.

During his remarks, Milley reiterated long-range precision fires as the top priority among the six lines of effort.

“We think that any future conflict against a near-peer competitor, our ability to deliver masked, long-range precision fires will provide a decisive advantage to friendly forces on a future battlefield,” Milley said.

The chief of staff did not specify which programs may have been cut or downgraded, or the expected amount to be saved if these programs no longer receive funding.

In December, the president nominated Milley to succeed Marine Gen. Joseph Dunford as the next chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.