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Army Sends Congress List of Needs

troop strength

By Debbie Gregory.

The Army has been steadily drawing down the force since 2012, decreasing its numbers from a war time high of 570,000 active Army soldiers.

But following the passing of the National Defense Authorization Act in December, the Army is poised to increase its end-strength by 16,000 more soldiers than originally planned. What is yet to be determined is the amount of funding the Army will get in the fiscal year 2017 budget and beyond to cope with the proposed troop increase.

The bill adds billions of dollars for “unfunded priorities” that the Obama administration left out of its budget request. The House bill partly pays for those programs by siphoning about $18 billion from the account that directly supports overseas contingency operations.

Congress has yet to pass a 2017 appropriations bill, keeping the Defense Department operating under 2016 funding levels until April 30, 2017.

Besides troop strength, there is a need for modernization, particularly in aviation. The Army is asking for $2.5 billion for 10 new-build AH-64E Apache attack helicopters and advanced procurement for an additional 10 aircraft, 14 new-build CH-47F Chinook cargo helicopters, 17 LUH-72A Lakota light utility helicopters, and 12 additional Gray Eagle unmanned aircraft.

Additionally, Bradley Fighting Vehicle production would be sped up to build one cavalry squadron set. The Army would also ramp-up the pace to modernization of 140 Stryker armored fighting vehicles to the Double V-Hull (DVH) variant as well as the production of 18 M88A2 Hercules armored recovery vehicles, which would accelerate the pure-fleet of M88A2 for all Armored Brigade Combat Teams (ABCT) and ABCT support units.

Among other armor formation upgrades, the Army would procure battalion mortar capability for three ABCTs and would fund research and development to increase fire power of the Joint Light Tactical Vehicle with a 30mm gun.

Electronic warfare is also a growing concern and the Army would speed up the procurement of ground and air electronic warfare capabilities.

Military Connection salutes and proudly serves veterans and service members in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, Guard and Reserve,  and their families.

Army Outlines Modernization Plans

U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Derrik Browne of Columbus, Ind., and U.S. Army Sgt. Jason Andrade of Bastrob, Texas, both squad leaders in Operations Company, Headquarters and Headquarters Battalion, 1st Cavalry Division, provide security June 27 during a visit by Army officials to Bala Hesar, a fortress in Gardez that is home to a new Afghan quick reaction force. The force is comprised of Afghan National Army, Afghan Uniformed Police, Afghan Border Police, and Afghan National Civil Order Police members. (Photo by U.S. Army Spc. Adam L. Mathis, 17th Public Affairs Detachment)

By Debbie Gregory.

The Army is looking to the future to determine what will be necessary to support  ground warfare in the years to come.

Training and Doctrine Command (TRADOC) has refined the previously revealed “Big 8” modernization priorities to the “Big 6+1” set of initiatives, with the “+1” referring to soldier and team performance and overmatch which cuts across all other capabilities listed.

The Army has carved out solid modernization objectives and identified the resources needed to meet capabilities in the near-, mid-, and far-term, prioritizing updates to its aviation fleet, combat vehicles, cross domain fires, robotics and autonomous systems, advanced protection, and cyber and electromagnetic capabilities.

Beginning next year and through 2022, the Army will complete its aviation restructure initiative and continue to modernize the AH-64 Echo-model, the UH-60 Mike- and Victor-model Black Hawk utility helicopters and the CH-47F Chinook cargo helicopter.

In in 2017 and 2018,  the Army will test fly both a Bell Helicopter- and Lockheed Martin-developed tiltrotor helicopter and a Boeing and Sikorsky-made helicopter with coaxial rotor blades.

The Army will be taking a close look at combat vehicles, addressing shortfalls in mobility and lethality within the Infantry Brigade Combat Teams.

The service will also improve Stryker lethality for the 2nd Cavalry Regiment. Outfitting the vehicle with a 30mm cannon on 81 of the infantry carriers is being fast-tracked with plans to start fielding in 2018.

The Armored Multi-Purpose Vehicle (AMPV) will replace the obsolete M113 armored personnel carriers first fielded in 1960. BAE Systems presented its first general-purpose AMPV variant to the Army at its York, PA facility.

The Army will also focus on developing next-generation power trains that will provide a 50 percent increase in power and will also work on a durable light weight track with hopes of reducing weight and cost while not losing durability.

The Army will develop a Future Fighting Vehicle to replace the Bradley Fighting Vehicle.

From 2018 to 2022, the Army will work on increasing operations at safer standoff distances for the force through robots and autonomous systems. As part of that, the service will develop Automated Ground Resupply through leader-follower robotics technology. Robots will also have the capability to conduct route clearance and counter improvised explosive devices as well as improve situational awareness.

Military Connection salutes and proudly serves veterans and service members in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, Guard and Reserve,  and their families.