WASHINGTON — The highlights of the US Army's budget request continued to emphasize Army leadership's argument that it is a force stretched to respond to crises and in need of funding.
The 21-page "budget overview" of the Army's $147 billion request to Congress tout's the presence of 140,000 soldiers in 150 countries, and casts the service as, "the backbone of the Joint Force."
The topline budget is $127 billion in base budget dollars, supplemented by $21 billion in overseas contingency operations (OCO) funding.
Those levels are needed, the Army argues, to avoid tiered readiness, sustain a drawdown of the active component to 475,000 and proceed with modernization priorities: aviation, the Armored Multi-Purpose Vehicle, the Paladin Integrated Management mobile howitzer and Stryker double-V hull.
Under the Budget Control Act, the Army argues, it would be able to field a contingency force where only nine of 30 active component brigades would be ready at a time, end-strength would fall farther and faster to 470,000, and modernization would be cut about 12 percent.
Read the report: FY2016 Army Budget Overview
Sequestration over the next seven years, "dramatically suppresses defense spending without acknowledging the world in which we live," the Army's budget overview argues.
Personnel costs continue to dominate, at 45 percent, or $56.3 billion for a force that falls from 490,0000 to 475,000, 342,000 for the Army National Guard and 198,000 for the Reserve. Operations and maintenance is 36 percent, while procurement, research and development make up 18 percent.
Next year would be the first in recent budgets that the active component will not require overseas contingency operations (OCO) funding to support end-strength above 490,000, budget materials note.
The topline numbers included show $35.3 billion in the operations and maintenance budget request. That includes funding for 19 combat training center rotations, matching the request last year's request.
Aviation dominates the service's $23 billion request under acquisition, research and development. There is $5.7 billion for aircraft, above the $5.2 billion enacted in the 2015 budget.
Thinner on information than in years past, the Army budget highlights are notable for what they do not include. There is no breakdown of budget lines for one of the Army's key acquisition priorities, the network. Nor are there details for ground mobility platforms.
Aviation makes up 25 percent of the modernization request. The Army aims to purchase 94 Black Hawk helicopters, up from 87 last year; 35 Apaches, up from 64 last year; and 39 Chinooks, up from 32 last year. Lakota quantities fall from 55 to 28. The costs, supplied in years past, were not included.
The Army plans to purchase 450 of the Joint Light Tactical Vehicle, up from 184; upgraded Strykers rise from zero to 87; Paladins rise from 18 to 30.
For ground mobility platforms, the overview says the budget request "prioritizes critical ground vehicles efforts," for the M1A1 Abrams and Bradley, which are due to receive upgrades, the double-V hull for the Stryker, the Paladin Integrated Management (PIM) and Joint Light Tactical Vehicle.
Science and technology funding holds at 2015 levels, prioritizing combat vehicle prototypes, GPS upgrades, the Joint Multi-Role Helicopter, high-energy lasers, aviation technology that sees through obscurants, the Armored Multi-Purpose Vehicle,
Army integrated air and missile defense, and combat vehicle improvements.