The Army’s lead modernization official said Wednesday he’s optimistic the service’s next five-year spending plan, to be rolled out along with the fiscal year 2023 budget request, will continue to protect the full range of more than 30 modernization programs.

While the president’s recently released FY ‘22 budget request left out details on Future Years Defense Program (FYDP) projections, Gen. Mike Murray, head of Army Futures Command, said he doesn’t see the service acting as a “bill payer” in a tight spending environment when the eventual planning guidance is rolled out.

Chief of Staff of the Army General James C. McConville listens during the distinguished visitor day presentation during EDGE 21 at Dugway Proving Ground in Utah on May 14, 2021. Photo by Sgt. Robert Whitlow

“As you know, we have built and rebuilt the next FYDP several times. With the change of administration, that’s just the way that things normally happen,” Murray said during an online American Enterprise Institute discussion.  “The entire [Army] enterprise is, and was this time around, committed to funding the resources to meet the secretary and the chief’s priorities and really do what we think is best for the Army as we build out this next FYDP. And we’ll see what [it looks like] when the [FY] ‘23 request comes out. But I remain optimistic that we’ll be able to protect our highest priorities.”

The Army’s $173 billion FY ’22 budget request released on May 28, which would be a $3.6 billion cut from the service’s FY ‘21 topline, continues to fully fund its wide-ranging modernization plan without having to to adjust the schedules for any of its 30-plus signature weapon systems in development as a result of the tighter budget environment (Defense Daily, May 28). 

The potential for that idea was discussed recently by Lt. Gen. James Pasquarette, the Army G-8, who said further reductions to certain legacy and enduring programs would be “very concerning” if the Army is required to continue reallocating its own dollars to ensure future weapon systems are fully funded (Defense Daily, May 14).

Gen. James McConville, the Army’s chief of staff, joined Murray during the discussion and said the Army’s modernization push will continue to focus on moving systems from development into production, which he said could make it easier to protect programs in the tight spending environment over the next few years.

“You really want to get them into production because that’s really, quite frankly, where we can get them out to the troops and that’s where you get a constituency that wants to support [those systems] going down the road,” McConville said. “We have some time and we have some money. [But] we don’t have all the time and we don’t have all the money, and we’re not quite sure how long either of those are going to last. What we’re trying to do is get as much done efficiently and effectively as we can so if something does change we have…a lot of things that are ready to move.”