Armed Forces News

The Army would invest $57 billion of this year’s proposed budget in a five-year plan that would bolster modernization and other programs. Undersecretary of the Army Ryan D. McCarthy outlined the plan during a March 14 speech at the Brookings Institution, a Washington, D.C.-based think tank.

“The Army of today, as battle-hardened as it may be, lacks the next-generation weapons and other capabilities that are needed to confront … adversaries,” McCarthy said. “We are reaching the limit of what can be added to and improved on platforms that have been the mainstay of the Army for decades.”

At the top of the wish list is improved Long Range Precision Fires, which would garner $5.7 billion over the next five years and $1.3 billion in fiscal 2020. Part of that would cover funding for the development of field-based hypersonic systems.

The Army also wants to move forward with the development of both manned and unmanned versions of the Next Generation Combat Vehicle (NGCV). This year’s budget request calls for roughly $2 billion to cover funding, with plans to allocate $13.2 billion during the next five years.

The service’s aging helicopter fleet would be replaced by newer aircraft, capable of conducting combat and reconnaissance missions over longer ranges. Funding for these Future Vertical Lift aircraft would be pegged at $800 million in 2020, and $4.7 billion over the next five years.

Recognizing a need to reestablish dominance in short-range air defense, the service seeks $1.4 billion in 2020 and $8.8 billion during the next five years to bolster air and missile defense programs.

Soldier lethality systems would receive $845 million in 2020 funding, with $6.7 billion spent during the next five years. It would include development of a visual augmentation system that incorporates real-time artificial intelligence and digital image displays into helmets, as well as a next-generation squad rifle.

The 2020 budget request also takes $22 billion in cuts to existing programs into account. Among the 90 programs involve are production and block upgrades for the Bradley Fighting Vehicle (through 2023), future procurement of the CH-47F Chinook helicopter, and a reduced order for the number of new Joint Light Tactical Vehicles.