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US Army defending end strength, prepares to spend USD35 billion on weapons in FY 2022

Pentagon leaders are set to unveil details of the Defense Department’s USD715 billion fiscal year (FY) 2022 budget request in the coming days but there are outstanding questions about whether the US Army should shrink its ranks to free up funds, according to Lieutenant General James Pasquarette, the deputy chief of staff in charge of programmes.

The three-star general spoke at this year’s annual McAleese conference on 13 May and highlighted some of the challenges and questions the army is facing in its quest to finalise next year’s spending request and plan out future years spending.

”Where’s the army getting pushed? Well, I would tell you that we’re having to defend … our end strength; That’s the one aspect that we’re having to explain,” Lt Gen Pasquarette told the audience.

In recent weeks, service leaders including Army Chief of Staff General James McConville and acting Army Secretary John Whitley have warned about pending cuts to the service’s budget, and Janes has reported that the service is facing a several billion dollar cut over the enacted FY 2021 budget. When it comes to active-duty troop levels, Gen McConville has also said that he is disappointed that end strength levels will likely be capped at the current 485,000 mark instead of increasing.

But even this flatline number could be at risk.

“Given the pace of activity … on the army today, bringing end strength down only has bad outcomes, we think for the nation and for our soldiers,” Lt Gen Pasquarette added. “That is, I think, the one place we’re getting push [back] and I know our leadership is very concerned about that.”

Shown here is a US Army robotic combat vehicle – light prototype that is under the NGCV umbrella. The army is crafting a budget plan aimed at protecting such modernisation efforts.  (US Army )

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