News   Reform

Strategy-Driven Budget Helps Hedge Against Capability Erosion

Feb. 26, 2020 | BY Jim Garamone , DOD News

The U.S. military remains the best trained, best equipped and best led military force in the world, but that lead is eroding and technology changes have stressed the United States' industrial-age capabilities, concepts and processes, fundamentally changing the character of war, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said.

Testifying today before the House Armed Services Committee, Army Gen. Mark A. Milley joined Defense Secretary Dr. Mark T. Esper in strongly supporting President Donald J. Trump's fiscal year 2021 defense budget request. Milley said the submission is the best allocation of resources and lines up with the National Defense Strategy.

Soldier fires machine gun at night.
Green Scene
A U.S. soldier with the 1st Battalion, 5th Infantry Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division fires an M249 light machine gun during a live-fire exercise at Al Asad Air Base, Iraq, Feb. 5, 2020. These drills are used to enhance base defense operations for U.S. forces in Iraq.
Photo By: Army Spc. Derek Mustard
VIRIN: 200208-A-DS044-5017

The $705.4 billion budget request is to build a more lethal U.S. force while strengthening allies and partners, Milley said. It also reforms the department for greater performance and affordability.

Milley and Esper hammered home that the budget request is strategy-driven. It prioritizes the Indo-Pacific region to deter Chinese aggression, maintain stability and ensure access to the common domains, Milley said. "Additionally, this budget accounts for continued efforts in Europe to counter Russian aggression, and it will continue to allow the United States military, in concert with our allies and partners, to deter a provocative North Korea or Iran from aggressive actions in their regions," he said.

The budget also allows the U.S. military — with worldwide allies — to conduct counterterrorist operations.

Ships sail in the Pacific.
Ships from Destroyer Squadron 23 transit the Pacific Ocean, Jan. 22, 2020.
Photo By: Navy Petty Officer 3rd Class Erick Parsons
VIRIN: 200122-N-ZM949-2085M

Milley noted that the U.S. military is recovering from a readiness shortfall caused by mandatory sequestration budget cuts and continuing resolutions. The budget request continues the readiness recovery, Milley said, and if it's approved, all services are scheduled to meet their readiness recovery goals inside the Future Years Defense Program.

The budget funds the projects needed for great-power competition with China and Russia, he said. It also continues the department's first priority: the safety, security and reliability of our nuclear enterprise.

Additionally, the budget provides for the U.S. Space Force and increases the resilience, deterrence capability and warfighting options in both space and cyberspace the chairman said. "It funds joint, all-domain command and control to improve our interoperability across all the services and with our allies."

Spacewalking astronaut waves to photographer.
Space Station
NASA astronaut Army Col. Andrew Morgan participates in an extravehicular activity to upgrade the International Space Station’s solar array batteries. Morgan is the commander of the U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command’s Army Astronaut Detachment at Johnson Space Center, Texas.
Photo By: Christina Koch, NASA
VIRIN: 200210-A-ZT466-0003M

Milley noted that the budget invests in the people of the department — their pay, health, education, families and more.

The military also needs to emphasize the processes needed to develop junior leaders with the values and intellectual abilities to fight and win future conflicts, the chairman said.

"The captains and ensigns of today will be the admirals and generals of tomorrow," he said. "Ultimately, our military needs sustained, predictable, adequate and timely funding to retain its competitive advantage in this era of great-power competition."