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AUSA 2021: Army secretary discusses new analysis of modernisation programmes and more

US Army Secretary Christine Wormuth has publicly thrown her support behind the service's six modernisation priorities. However, she said that an ongoing analysis could revamp the portfolio in the coming years.

Sworn in as the 25th service secretary earlier this year, Wormuth is tasked with civilian oversight of the service to include development of dozens of costly weapons programmes, while also balancing it against the cost of the size of the force and its readiness today. At the same time, the service faces looming budget cuts as the US Department of Defense looks for ways to booster its presence in the Indo-Pacific region and dollars to support this move.

Accordingly, the army is conducting an iterative analysis to help determine where it can cut fat.

“I'm not going to say very much about the analysis right now, because it's pre-decisional, but we are looking at some of the fundamental questions,” Wormuth told reporters on 11 October at the annual Association of the United States Army (AUSA) conference. She cited such questions as force structure, the “future warfight”, legacy and development programmes, and more.

“We're also going to be looking at things like the performance of the new programmes that we have in development,” she added. “Are they staying on schedule? Are they coming in at a cost that we expect them to be at? When we look at scaling up some of these programmes that are just prototypes right now, what does that mean in terms of affordability?”

The army's six modernisation priorities include long-range precision fires, next-generation combat vehicles, future vertical lift, the network, air and missile defence, and soldier lethality. Each priority then includes an array of platforms, weapons, and technologies.

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