WASHINGTON (Army News Service, April 11, 2014) – The vice chief of staff of the Army told senators “greater risk” must be accepted in the Army’s modernization programs in the near term due to financial constraints.
Gen. John F. Campbell testified to the Senate Armed Services Committee, subcommittee on Airland, today, at a hearing about Army modernization and the fiscal year 2015 budget request.
“During this period of fiscal and strategic uncertainty, our goal has been to maintain the proper balance between end strength, readiness, and modernization across the total Army, all three of our components,” he told senators.
Campbell testified with Lt. Gen. James O. Barclay III, the deputy chief of staff of the Army, G-8, and Lt. Gen. Michael Williamson, the principal military deputy to the assistant secretary of the Army for acquisition, logistics and technology and director, acquisition career management.
Campbell said Secretary of the Army John McHugh and Chief of Staff of the Army Gen. Ray Odierno are concerned about future funding for the Army.
“The best thing that we can do is get rid of the uncertainty. The biggest frustration for the chief, for the secretary, for I think all the services, is the uncertainty on the budget,” Campbell said.
The Army has developed several initiatives to guide equipment modernization during the period of fiscal uncertainty, he said.
Those initiatives include using incremental improvements to modernize existing critical systems and building new systems to address key capability gaps.
Another move, he said, is that the Army is divesting older systems and niche capabilities to decrease sustainment costs and reallocating those resources for modernization and readiness.
The Army is also procuring smaller quantities because it “cannot afford to equip and sustain the entire force with the most advanced equipment,” he said.
“We are resetting much of the equipment procured for Iraq and Afghanistan since that is what we’ll fight with in the near-term contingency,” he said. “To accomplish this, we do require overseas contingency operations funding for three years after we complete the retrograde equipment.”
The centerpiece of Army modernization remains the Soldier and the squad, he said. The fiscal year 2015 budget supports this priority by investing in technologies that provide advanced war-fighting capabilities.
The Army is reducing its end strength as “rapidly and as responsibly” as possible, he said, while doing its best to meet its operational requirements. Funds need to be concentrated on rebuilding readiness, he said.
“However, to do this we must accept greater risks in our modernization programs in the near term,” he said.
The Army has carefully prioritized efforts to ensure it maximizes every dollar toward putting the best equipment in the hands of Soldiers, he said. The most notable change, he said, is cutting the Ground Combat Vehicle program that will be over at the end of the technology and development phase, expected this June.
JOINT LIGHT TACTICAL VEHICLE
The Joint Light Tactical Vehicle, or JLTV, is the centerpiece of the Army’s tactical wheeled vehicle modernization strategy, Campbell said.
The JLTV family of vehicles is being designed to provide the necessary leap in protection, performance, and payload to fill the capability gap between the Humvee and the mine-resistant ambush-protected family of vehicles.
The fiscal year 2015 funding completes limited user testing and procures 176 JLTVs for low-rate initial production. He said the Army will procure 49,099 JLTVs by 2041.
RESEARCH, DEVELOPMENT AND ACQUISITION
Investments in research, development and acquisition, or RDA, have declined 39 percent since the fiscal year 2012 budget planning cycle, he said.
The RDA accounts have averaged about 21.9 percent of the obligation authority. For fiscal year 2015, the RDA account is about 17.1 percent, or $20.1 billion, of obligation authority, he said.
The Army will restructure aviation formations to achieve a leaner, more efficient and capable force that balances operational capability and flexibility across the total Army, he said.
The Army National Guard will transfer all AH-64 Apache helicopters to the active Army, where they will be teamed with unmanned systems for armed reconnaissance or continue their traditional attack role, he said.
The active Army will transfer 111 UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters to the Army National Guard, which will significantly improve its capabilities for support of civil authorities.
The UH-72 Lakota will replace the TH-67 helicopter fleet as the next generation glass-cockpit, dual-engine training helicopter. Campbell said the Army will transfer nearly all active Army UH-72 Lakota helicopters to its training post at Fort Rucker, Ala.
With no sequestration, the Army will procure an additional 100 UH-72 Lakotas to support the initial-entry rotary-wing training requirement, he said.
Also, the Army will sustain the current fleet of Army National Guard UH-72 helicopters, which perform dual-purpose state and homeland defense missions. The Active Army’s overall helicopter fleet will decline by about 23 percent, and the Army National Guard’s fleet of helicopters will decline by eight percent.
“This smaller, more efficient force will facilitate aviation readiness when needed,” he said.