The new Army fiscal year 2023 budget focuses on enabling integrated deterrence, executing global campaigning, and building enduring advantages. The $178 billion budget, released on March 28, is an increase of $2.8 billion from fiscal 2022.
“The FY23 budget is a positive one for the Army, because it really lets us do two things simultaneously,” said Army Undersecretary Gabe Camarillo. “First, we maintain a high level of readiness. Second, it enables continued transformation of the Army of 2030 as we strategically pivot from two decades of focus on counterterrorism to an Army adapted to meet our top pacing challenge in China and the acute threat of Russian aggression.”
Enabling Integrated Deterrence
The Army is focusing the new budget on deterrence by continuing its modernization efforts. The budget includes the next steps in the development of its Mobile Protected firepower light tank system, or MPF and the Next Generation Squad Weapon, or NGSW. The NGSW is a prototype program that aims to replace the M4 rifle, M249 Squad Automatic Weapon and M240 machine gun.
“The Army’s continued transformation is done by maintaining momentum,” Camarillo said. “In this budget on our modernization programs, we’re including the fielding of our mobile protected firepower and the next generation squad weapon and continuing our investment in people ñ in talent management, and building a positive command climate at scale, as well as cutting edge formations.”
The Army is maintaining momentum by continuing to invest in capabilities like long-range hypersonic weapons, mid-range capability missiles, and precision strike missiles. It is also adding onto the force structure by adding a third multi-domain task force as well as continuing experimentation and exercises in Project Convergence, the Army’s joint, multi-domain series of war games.
As part of the plan for bringing the force into the future, the total Soldier end strength has been decreased in an effort to focus on quality over quantity.
“For the Army to keep momentum on our modernization programs, and to transform to the Army of 2030, it’s absolutely important that we maintain our emphasis on high quality talent we need for our cutting-edge formations,” Camarillo said. “As we field new capabilities we did not want to lower our standards in FY 23 to address any gaps in our recruiting projections. So, we proactively made the decision to temporarily reduce our end strength from 485,000 Soldiers to 476,000 in FY 22 and 473,000 in FY 23.”
Camarillo said that the end strength goals serves as the overall guide to focus on recruiting for high quality talent instead of recruiting to fulfill a number. The overall number only effects active duty, not the National Guard or Reserves.
“I would just want to emphasize that this is not a budget-driven decision,” he added. “It’s about maintaining high quality of our talent and our recruiting, and we will look to build back up our end strength over the course of the fight.”
Executing Global Campaigning
The Army will continue to take part in and hold exercises, like Pacific Pathways in the Indo-Pacific region and Defender in Europe, to provide critical capabilities that enable operational support to the Joint Force.
“Our continued funding for Pacific Pathway exercises and Defender Europe obviously continue to build on the great work being done there in those two theaters,” Camarillo said.
Part of the global campaign is building capacity and improving conditions at the Army units in Alaska as part of the Army’s Arctic Strategy. The strategy outlines training, organization and equipment for Soldiers and Arctic allies to secure national interests and maintain regional stability.
Along with continued training and improvements, the Army will also use part of the budget to improve some of the training elsewhere. Part of the funds will enable 1,235 Full Spectrum miles and increase flying hours to 11.1.
The funds will also resource 22 combat training center rotations, invests in operational and installation climate resilience and funds facility sustainment at 85% and base operations at 93 percent.
Building Enduring Advantages
“People are by far our greatest asset, and talent is our greatest advantage. So, we have investments to build positive command climate at scale,” Camarillo said.
Part of improving command climate is further funding the Independent Review Commission and Fort Hood Independent Review Commission, Camarillo said.
The IRC establishes the prevention workforce, restructures the Army’s Sexual Harassment/Assault Response and Prevention program and allows for criminal justice reform.
The Army also plans on investing in programs, facilities and talent in the future as a way to invest in its people as part of its “People First” focus.
“Quality of life investments in Soldier barracks, housing and child development centers are all really important to make sure that we are investing in our people and their resiliency,” Camarillo said. “The Army led the way in issuing the first climate strategy within the Department of Defense among the services, and that includes funding and investments in this budget for installation resilience.”
Additionally, the budget requested a 4.6% increase to basic pay for Soldiers as well as 3.9% increase to basic allowance for housing and 3.4% basic allowance for subsistence. This budget also provides a 4.6% raise for Army civilians.
There is also a $1.8 billion set aside for special pay incentives to recruit and retain talent into the Army.