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FY19 budget request: Secretary of the Army’s opening statement

Let me say up front that the Army’s
readiness across its formations is improving and if called upon today I am
confident we would prevail in any conflict this is due in part to the
increased funding Congress has provided recently for this I would like to say
thank you. However if we were to continue
increasing our readiness to desired levels and modernize the force we
require predictable, adequate, sustained and timely funding. The Army’s mission is
to defend the nation, the Army’s mission to defend the nation has not changed, but
the strategic environment has we’ve returned to an era of great power
competition that makes the world ever more complex and dangerous while the
Army must be ready to deploy, fight and win anytime anywhere against any
adversary the national defense strategy has identified China and Russia as the
principal competitors against which we must build sufficient capacity and
capabilities. Both countries are playing a more aggressive role on the world
stage and either possess or our building advanced capabilities that are
specifically designed to reverse the tactical overmatch we have enjoyed for
decades. The Army has a comprehensive plan to ensure it’s long term dominance fiscal uncertainty though has
done a great deal to erode our readiness and hamper our modernization efforts
late Appropriations challenge the Army to execute funding well, which is why we
are seeking increased flexibility to spend these precious dollars when
funding is delayed. To address the challenges mentioned above I’ve
identified three focused priorities for the Army: readiness, modernization and reform.
Readiness is the top priority because only a ready total army; Regular Army, Guard
and Reserve can deter conflict defeat enemies and enable the joint force to
win decisively and while the quality training and esprit of our soldiers are
what make the US Army the most ready and lethal ground combat force in history
this superiority is enabled by the best weapons and equipment we can provide
them. As such, the second priority is modernization or future readiness to
ensure overmatch on future battlefields, the Army is now increasing its
investments in modernizing the force. We’re also laying the groundwork for more increases in the coming years the Army’s modernization strategy is
focused on one goal make soldiers and units far more lethal
and effective than any adversary can imagine the establishment of the army
futures command this summer is the best example of our commitment to the future
lethality of the force. Army Futures Command will address the key
shortcomings of the current acquisition system providing unity of command effort
and purpose to the modernization process. The army has also identified its top six
modernization priorities for the coming years.
Each of these priorities is detailed in our written statement and is the purview
of a newly established cross-functional team the purpose of these CFTs is to
determine the requirements of needed capabilities to ensure all stakeholders
are at the table from day one and to focus army resources on accelerated
experimentation prototyping and fielding. My third priority is reform, freeing up
time money and manpower to enhance readiness accelerate modernization and
ensure the efficient use of the resources provided to us by the American
people. Our reform efforts particularly with the acquisition system are long
overdue while futures command is probably the
boldest reform we are pursuing other Army reform initiatives so much the
acquisition authority’s delegated to the services in prior legislation with these
authorities we are reinvigorating the Army’s requirements Oversight Council
moving major defense acquisition programs back to the service and using
other transactional authorities to accelerate fielding in limited
situations although already and modernized Army is critical to defend a
nation we must not overlook what makes us remarkable for this I’ve outlined
three enduring priorities first taking care of our Soldiers, civilians and their
Families. Second, a service-wide recommitment to the Army’s values
especially treating everyone with dignity and respect and finally
strengthening our allies and partners by building stronger ties I look forward to
discussing these with you as time permits with that let me thank you again
for this committee’s continued support of the Army and specifically the funding
increases requested in FY 18 and the FY 19 budgets. I look forward to your
questions and appreciate the opportunity to discuss these important matters with
you today. Thank you.

Tony wyaad