Request includes small pay raise, 490,000 end strength
Under the Army’s fiscal year 2015 budget request, soldiers will receive a 1 percent pay increase as well as a basic allowance for housing increase of 1.5 percent and a 3.4 percent increase in basic allowance for subsistence.
The rollout of the Army’s budget submission, along with those of the other services and the Defense Department was announced March 4 in the Pentagon. Congress will weigh in on the request in the coming months.
The fiscal 2015 budget request for the Army is $120.5 billion, down from $125 billion last year and a peak of $144 billion in fiscal 2010. These figures exclude the overseas contingency operations money for operations in Afghanistan and the reset of returning equipment.
The OCO request for fiscal 2015 has not yet been determined, pending the status of U.S. forces in Afghanistan, according to Under Secretary of Defense Robert F. Hale, who addressed the Defense Department’s total budget.
The fiscal 2015 Army budget reflects a drawdown from fiscal 2014′s 510,000 to 490,000 for the active component, 354,200 to 350,200 for the National Guard and 205,000 to 202,000 for the Army Reserve. Hale noted that if sequestration continues, active Army end strength could go to 420,000 by fiscal 2019.
As for Army civilians, Maj. Gen. Karen E. Dyson, director, Army Budget, said 16,000 civilians were drawn down from the work force in fiscal 20Y13 and the Army “is continuing to analyze future adjustments in light of the drawdown beyond FY15. Her remarks followed Hale’s.
Speaking on behalf of the entire Department of Defense, Hale said the “goal is to reduce the civilian workforce by 5 percent between fiscal 2014 and Fiscal 2019.”
Dyson said that the Army’s budget reflects difficult decisions to accelerate the drawdown in end strength and prioritize near-term readiness for select units, while risking sufficient levels in modernization.
“While the Army’s guiding principle is keeping balance in readiness, end strength and modernization, the Army is not in balance in fiscal 2015,” she added.
Dyson noted that personnel costs for all Army components total 46 percent of the fiscal 2015 budget. The next biggest slice is 35 percent for operation and maintenance and 17 percent for procurement, research, development, test and evaluation.
To cut personnel costs, she said the Army’s active force “will continue to use force-shaping boards and temporary early retirement authorities to meet the accelerated end strength declines in fiscal 2015.”
She added that “recruiting and retention for FY15 dropped by an aggregate 8 percent across the total force due partially to the expiration of anniversary payments and declining bonuses.”
The Army anticipates 19 combat training center rotations in fiscal 2015 to validate brigade combat team readiness for full-spectrum combat capabilities, she said. That training will focus on units preparing to go to South Korea, Afghanistan and the Global Response Force.
For other units not in those categories, training is expected to only reach company or battalion level, while the Guard and Reserve are funded to individual crew and squad level in fiscal 2015, she added.
Other priorities reflected in the budget include an emphasis on the regional alignment concept, which she said is critical to the Army’s “prevent, shape, win” strategy.
Also, funding for ready and resilient programs will be increased by 46 percent in FY15. These are programs like Comprehensive Soldier and Family Fitness, suicide prevention, transition assistance and sexual assault prevention.
That increased funding level “demonstrates the Army’s continued priority to take care of soldiers, families and civilians,” she said.
Davis S. Welch, deputy director, Army Budget, addressed the smallest part of the budget, modernization.
The modernization portion of the budget is $20.1 billion, he said, which translates to “a 6.1 percent reduction from the fiscal 2014 enacted level and a 17.3 percent reduction from the FY13 sequestered level.”
A major shift in the fiscal 2015 budget, he said, included “science and technology funding at (sufficient) levels to mitigate risk to the Army of 2020 and beyond.”
Specific investments include $84.8 million for Nett Warrior communications gear and $32.8 million for the M4A1 carbine.
Regarding the carbine, Welch said the money would be used to continue converting M4s to M4A1s. The latest model carbines include heavier barrels for extended life and ambidextrous controls, meaning soldiers who are left-handed will be able to use the carbines more effectively.
The National Guard will retain UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters, CH-47 Chinook helicopters and UH-72A Lakota helicopters, while garnering an additional 111 UH-60s to enhance medevac and lift capabilities. He added that all AH-64 Apache helicopters will transfer to the active component.
The Kiowa Warrior A, C and D helicopter models as well as the TH-67 Creek training helicopters will go out of the inventory and training will commence using the UH-72A, he said.
The AH-64E, along with unmanned aerial systems, will temporarily fulfill the Kiowa’s armed aerial scout mission, he said.
The air and missile defense system defends the homeland and the BCTs, he said, adding that nine of the 15 Patriot missile batteries are currently deployed protecting U.S. forces and critical assets.
As such, the budget provides $420 million for procurement of 70 Patriot Missile Segment Enhancement systems, $400 million for Patriot software, $143 million for the Army Integrated Air and Missile Defense System, $54 million for Joint Aerostat Project demonstration and $60 million for developing technology for gun, missile and high-energy lasers to defeat rockets, artillery, mortars, UAS and cruise missiles.
Funding for the Ground Combat Vehicle will be discontinued “because it is no longer affordable under the budget constraints,” he said. In the interim, funding will go toward improving the Bradley infantry fighting vehicle until resources become available.
The Bradley, along with the Abrams tank, will together receive $549 million for modernization.
The Armor Multi-Purpose Vehicle will get $92 million as it replaces the M113 armored personnel carrier, he said.
The Joint Light Tactical Vehicle will receive $210 million, which will allow low-rate initial production for 176 vehicles. JLTV replaces the HUMVEE and affords protection similar to the Mine-Resistant Ambush Protected vehicles.
Indirect fire systems to be funded include the AN/TPQ-53 Radar at $247 million, the Guided Multiple Launch Rocket System at $173 million, the M119A2 howitzer at $73 million, the Army Tactical Missile System at $49 million and indirect fire science and technology at $56 million.
Unmanned aerial systems funded include the Grey Eagle at $237 million and the Shadow at $142 million.
The Army’s intelligence network, known as the Distributed Common Ground System, will get $148 million for continued development and testing.
For a full FY15 budget, download the pdf: http://asafm.army.mil/Documents/OfficeDocuments/Budget/budgetmaterials/fy15//overview.pdf.