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US Army defends plans to cut small arms ammunition buy in 2022

US Army leadership is parading before Congress to detail their fiscal year (FY) 2022 budget plans, including a steep reduction to small- and medium-calibre ammunition procurement accounts to pay for other funding priorities.

Douglas Bush, the acting assistant secretary of the Army for Acquisition, Logistics and Technology, and Army Futures Command head General John Murray recently appeared before House lawmakers to discuss the service's USD173 billion discretionary spending request for next year.

Included in the proposed budget is a USD736 million cut for ammunition procurement over this year's level. In total, the service is requesting USD1.5 billion to purchase weapons next year, and an additional USD681 million to “support” the production base.

As the request stands, the .50 round buy would be pared down from USD58 million in FY 2021 to USD30 million next year, the 7.62 mm would be cut from USD103 million to USD75 million, and the 5.56 mm round from USD64 million down to USD47 million.

Congresswoman Vicky Hartzler from Missouri where the Lake City Army Ammunition Plant is located, criticised the proposed cuts during the 7 June hearing, in part, due to the effect it would have on the plant's workforce, and questioned troop-readiness.

“I'm concerned that these severe reductions will affect the overall readiness of our ground forces, and severely handicap their ability to train and fight,” she said.

Both Bush and Gen Murray defended the cuts and said they are necessary to protect other priorities such as the modernisation portfolio.

The service sliced nearly USD4.2 billion from its research and development, and procurement accounts, and had to decide where it could “accept risk”, and ammunition production lines was deemed a ripe candidate.

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