Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Army Budget Cuts Modernization and Personnel, Invests in Readiness

A shrinking U.S. Army rolled out its proposed fiscal 2017 budget today -- a plan that funnels more money into readiness but cuts every other area including personnel, modernization and construction.
"As we built this budget and sought to strike the best possible balance within our top line funding levels, we ensured that our absolute, number-one priority remained readiness," Maj. Gen. Thomas Horlander, director of Army Budget, said during a Feb. 9 Pentagon briefing.
The $125.1 billion request is $1.4 billion less than the service's approved fiscal 2016 budget, according to budget documents.
The Army proposed personnel budget is for $55.3 billion, compared to fiscal 2016's $56.2 billion. The active force is scheduled to get $40 billion -- down from last year's $40.9 billion. The Reserve and National Guard receive slight increases with the Guard getting $8 billion and the Reserves getting $4.6 billion.
The Army's active component takes the biggest hit to personnel compared to other services. The Army is the largest service, but its active force is scheduled to shrink from 475,000 to 460,000 -- that's a 3-percent decrease, compared to the Navy's 1-percent cut to its active component. Both the Air Force and the Marine Corps have no planned cuts to their active components, according to budget documents.
The Army National Guard is slated to cut its force from 342,000 to 335,000 and the Army Reserve plans to shrink its force from 198,000 to 195,000. This is the last that the Guard and Reserve will downsize, but the active force is scheduled to cut another 10,000 in fiscal 2018 for an end-strength of 450,000, according to budget documents.
The Army plans give $22.6 billion to its modernization efforts, compared to last year's $23.9 billion. Procurement programs take the largest cut with a proposed $15.1 billion, compared to last year's $16.4 billion. more