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Army rolls out 2013 budget request

By C. Todd Lopez

WASHINGTON (Feb. 14, 2012) -- Despite cutbacks, the Army's fiscal year 2013 budget request includes a pay increase of 1.7 percent for Soldiers, as well as allowance increases of 3.9 percent for housing and a 3.4 for subsistence.

"The fiscal year 2013 [budget] reflects some hard and difficult choices," said Maj. Gen. Phillip E. McGhee, director, Army budget. Nevertheless, he said, "the Army will remain the best-led, best-trained, best-equipped ground force in the world."

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The fiscal year 2013 budget request, McGhee said, supports the all-volunteer force, and has "wise investments" in modernization programs. There are about eight program cancellations, however. Also, the budget supports operations in Afghanistan, and funds reset of equipment that came out of Iraq, and also that which is planned to come out of Afghanistan.

The Army requested $184.6 billion in this year's budget -- about $18 billion less than what the Army received in fiscal year 2012. Of that, about $134.6 billion is part of the "base" request, for the generating force. An additional $50 billion is to support overseas contingency operations, such as the war in Afghanistan.

In the base budget, the largest portion is aimed at military personnel, about 42 percent, or $56.4 billion dollars. An additional $47.2 billion is aimed at operations and maintenance, known as O&M, and $25.7 billion for procurement. Within the overseas contingency operations, or OCO budget, about 58 percent is targeted at operations and maintenance.

Within the O&M budget request, there is a $7 billion decrease from what the Army received last year. Also in the O&M is $15.4 billion to provide trained and ready forces to win the current fight and sustain readiness. That includes $8 billion to support air and ground operations.

"It also funds additional training seats and professional military education, because we have so many Soldiers that are at home station now and are available to train," McGhee said.

The O&M funding also includes $1.7 billion for Soldier and family programs, including Comprehensive Soldier Fitness, sexual harassment prevention and education programs, and the Army substance abuse and suicide prevention programs. About $1.6 billion is also included for recruiting and initial military training for officers and enlisted personnel, and about $4.1 billion for training of officers, noncommissioned officers and civilians.

Regarding the O&M funding for OCO, the Army planned for a reduction of 25,400 Soldiers by September 2012, and for steady state of 41,000 Soldiers in fiscal year 2013.

There are "no changes in the nine brigade combat teams we are planning for in the program," McGhee said.

Eight programs were terminated in this year's budget. That should help the Army recognize a savings of $5 billion in total over five years. Included among the cancelled programs are the Enhanced Medium Altitude Reconnaissance System aircraft and the base-funded Humvee recap program -- though Humvee recapitalization within the OCO will continue. Also, the Family of Medium Tactical Vehicles program will be cancelled as well as the Mounted Soldier system program and the Joint Precision Approach and Landing System. Many Army programs have also been downsized.

The Army asked for about $19.6 billion in procurement for fiscal year 2013. Within aircraft procurement, for instance, the service requested about $6.3 billion, which "reflects the tremendous demand on aviation assets. We remain committed to aircraft modernization," said Barbara L. Bonessa, deputy director, Army budget

Included in aircraft modernization, is $1.4 billion for the Chinook, $1.2 billion for the Black Hawk, and $1.2 billion for Apache procurement, Bonessa said. And additional $518 million is requested for 19 additional unmanned Gray Eagle systems to support two more companies, for a total of 17 companies. Within the OCO budget is a $486 million request for two Apache, six Chinooks and 16 Kiowa Warriors helicopters -- all to replace aircraft lost or damaged in current operations.

Within missile and ammunition procurement, the Army asked for about $2 billion to support ongoing missile programs, including the Patriot Advanced Missile Capability-3 program, which includes a funding requests for 84 missiles and 38 launchers. For tracked vehicles, the Army asked for $1.5 billion -- included in that is $379 million for the Stryker vehicle, $204 million for the Abrams tank, and $184 million for the Bradley Program modifications.

The Army also asks for $8.3 billion to support the Army network, the tactical wheeled vehicle modernization, and night vision and thermal vision weapons sights.

The Army is also asking for $8.9 billion for research, development testing and evaluation -- an increase over last year's appropriation. Included in that, $640 million for the ground combat vehicle.

"The fiscal year 2013 budget request does begin to take into account the discretionary spending caps, but it does so without any risk to continuing to support our essential roles," said Bonessa. "We are continuing to meet our commitments in Afghanistan and around the world. We are developing the Army of the future. We are continuing to care for Soldiers and families -- that is one of the most important commitments we could possibly have, commensurate with their sacrifice and service. We are continuing to reduce our active component end strength, hopefully in a measured way, and with solid attention with how to restructure our force to be an even more capable force than it was before."

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