Army Will Continue to Pursue Modernization, Readiness and Overseas Operations
The military will drop its FY 2020 budget request on Congress in two weeks.
The U.S. Army is striving to modernize and go faster, with a better focus, said Undersecretary of the Army Ryan McCarthy at a breakfast meeting on February 26 at the Association of the U.S. Army’s Institute of Land Warfare. This includes taking measures to be more effective with the funding the Army receives. “We're trying to put in a behavior of reform so that we can do better with every dollar that we have,” he stated.
However, in working to maximize its financial acuity, the Army—as well as the other services—faces an even more challenging budgetary season when it presents its budget to Congress on March 12, McCarthy noted. The government shutdown has put Congress “in a tough place,” the secretary said. Congress is six weeks behind in the process, given the 35-day shutdown, and it may be a stretch to pass a budget by October 1.
— Kimberly Underwood (@Kunderwood_SGNL) February 26, 2019
Chairman of Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Joseph Dunford, USMC, and Assistant Secretary of the Army Bruce Jette, are helping to drive the Army’s budget process, McCarthy said, and are integrating the perspective of the Futures Command, which was stood up in August, and its six modernization priorities. In the past two fiscal years of budget requests, the Army has focused on “delivering a modernization strategy,” he confirmed.
Regarding the next fiscal year's priorities, the service will continue to pursue modernization, as well as readiness, all while sustaining a “heel to toe” rotation overseas. Therefore, during the budget process, “we will have to prioritize,” Secretary McCarthy said.
As to whether or not money would be pulled out from the U.S. military’s current and prior year construction accounts to pay for the President’s controversial border wall proposal, Secretary McCarthy explained that other sources of money would be looked at first, including unexpended Treasury dollars and counternarcotics funding, he stressed.
“[Acting] Secretary of Defense [Patrick] Shanahan and Gen. Dunford took a contingent of governmental leaders down to the border this past weekend, and they will sit down later this week to discuss their due diligence and address how [the government] would finance the construction of a wall,” McCarthy said. “There are a couple of different funding accounts that would be over and above military construction … to go down the list before you would ever touch the military construction funds.”