FY21 budget request focuses on readiness, modernization, people

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Maj. Gen. Paul Chamberlain, the Army budget director in the Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Financial Management and Comptroller, discusses the Army’s Fiscal Year 2021 budget request at the Pentagon, Feb. 11, 2020. The Army’s FY21 request looks to sustain its current level of tactical readiness, enhance strategic readiness, and further the Army’s modernization priorities.

WASHINGTON — The Army released its Fiscal Year 2021 budget request Monday for $178 billion, which includes a 3% increase in basic pay for Soldiers.

If approved, Soldiers could also see a boost in housing and subsistence allowances by 2.9 and 2.3% respectively, said Maj. Gen. Paul Chamberlain, Army budget director in the Office of Assistant Secretary of the Army for Financial Management and Comptroller.

In addition to the increased pay, the Army’s budget request “enables us to reach our 2022 tactical readiness goal of two-thirds of brigade combat teams at the highest levels of readiness,” Chamberlain said.

“The National Defense Strategy informs the Army’s FY21 budget request and prepares the Army to support joint all-domain and large-scale combat operations,” he said.

Even with an approximate $2 billion decrease from this year’s enacted budget, he said the Army will continue to provide the joint force with Soldiers to meet today’s challenges.

The force will also continue to enhance its strategic readiness to compete in an evolving operational environment that might require distinct material and technical solutions, he added. Strategic-level preparation includes sustained funding of the Army’s modernization priorities, he said, as the Army looks to reach its 2028 modernization goal.

“While we were fighting counterterrorism and counterinsurgency battles, near-peer competitors and adversaries were modernizing with new technologies and capabilities, putting them on a trajectory to overtake our competitive advantage,” he said. “China and Russia are developing sophisticated weapons systems and advanced capabilities to disrupt our military deployments and operations.”

PERSONNEL AND END STRENGTH

The military personnel account makes up the majority of the Army’s budget, Chamberlain said. This year’s $62.5 billion request for personnel is an increase of $2.8 billion over FY20’s enacted budget.

“Our people are our greatest strength and our most important weapons system,” he said. “Our people will deliver on our readiness, modernization and reform efforts. The Army stands ready to deploy, fight and win our nation’s battles.”

Increased funding for personnel includes a boost in recruiting and retention incentives, “allowing the Army to attract the talent it needs for today’s sophisticated force,” he said.

“In FY19, the Army exceeded its adjusted end-strength goals,” he said. “The Army, therefore, adjusted the FY20 active-component end strength to 485,000 Soldiers. In FY21, the Army will up its active end-strength to 485,900.”

The Army’s total end strength, which includes the National Guard and Reserve, will be 1,012,200 Soldiers.

A funding increase also helps fund Reserve Soldiers serving on active duty, he said. These Soldiers provide aessential support during operational missions, Chamberlain said.

“The requested Army end strength will fill units, reconstitute lost capabilities, and provide new capabilities that are designed to face emerging threats to support the joint all-domain fight.”

OPERATION, MAINTENACE

The Army’s operation and maintenance, or OMA, funding request increased by $1.9 billion over the 2020 enacted levels, Chamberlain said. The proposed increase in OMA targets operational training opportunities, ensuring that BCTs are ready to face a near-peer competitor during large-scale combat operations.

Training opportunities will include 24 brigade rotations to combat training centers: 10 to the Joint Readiness Training Center, eight to the National Training Center, and six to the Joint Multinational Training Center, he added.

“Four of these rotations are Army National Guard BCT rotations, emphasizing total Army readiness and interoperability,” Chamberlain said.

Proposed OMA funds also include the extension of one-station unit training from 18 to 22 weeks for armored cavalry and combat engineers, he said. The result will provide better trained and more lethal forces that can quickly integrate with their new units, he added.

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