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US Army leaders take budget cut warnings to Capitol Hill

US Army leaders are telling lawmakers that if the service incurs a deep funding cut in 2022 over this year’s USD176.6 billion spending level, then there will be additional cuts to legacy weapons programmes, soldiers would conduct fewer missions, and readiness levels could dip.

The Pentagon has not yet submitted its fiscal year (FY) 2022 budget request to Congress but Janes has reported that the army has been asked to slice billions of dollars from its budget request, compared with current spending levels. On 5 May Acting Secretary of the Army John Whitley, and Army Chief of Staff General James McConville, appeared before a House Appropriations Committee tasked with defence oversight and dodged questions about what the forthcoming budget request includes. However, they told lawmakers that they will be forced to make tough decisions and take calculated risks if the service’s discretionary budget is cut.

When it comes to army end-strength numbers, the four-star general said that the number of active-duty soldiers will likely be capped around the current 485,000 mark instead of following plans to grow the force to somewhere between the 540,000 and 550,000 mark.

The two officials also acknowledged that they would need to make deeper cuts to legacy weapons programmes beyond what has been cut during ‘night court’ rounds designed to ‘self-fund’ modernisation efforts.

“We talked about all these great weapons systems that we need and then what do you do if you don't get the resources you need?” Gen McConville told lawmakers when asked about future funding for the M1 Abrams main battle tank. “Well, what that drives you to is maybe slowing down what you want to do.”


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