The Army needs the $182.3 billion it is requesting for fiscal year 2020 to build readiness and continue modernization, its senior-most civilian and military leaders told a Senate panel during a March 27 hearing.
“The Army faces a global security environment that continually grows more competitive and volatile,” said Army Secretary Mark T. Esper and Chief of Staff Gen. Mark A. Milley in a joint statement to the Senate Appropriations subcommittee on defense.
Esper and Milley cited increasing threats posed by China and Russia, as well as long-standing regional adversaries such as Iran and North Korea.
“The Army must be prepared to defeat and deter highly capable adversaries while disrupting violent extremists and simultaneously defending the homeland,” Esper and Milley said.
The budget calls for increasing total strength to 480,000, with more emphasis on the cyber, air and missile defense and fires domains.
Esper and Milley described how training has been revamped to focus on “high-intensity conflict” in “complex terrains.”
The new Army Combat Fitness Test was implemented to reduce injury and increase the ability of soldiers to both deploy and survive, they told lawmakers, adding that it should be the “fitness test of record” Army-wide by the end of fiscal 2020 on Sept. 30 of next year.
The Association of the U.S. Army reported that senators asked Esper and Milley to explain several key areas — most notably, the Trump administration’s intent to reduce or delay some programs at the expense of others. The lawmakers also had concerns about the plan to divert some funds to Trump’s plan to bolster the southern border.