WASHINGTON (Army News Service, May 8, 2013) -- Sequestration is dramatically affecting Army modernization programs, Army leaders said.

"The resources provided to the Army to conduct on-going operations while modernizing and posturing for the next generation of warfighter capabilities will determine our continued ability to accomplish our mission and meet future commitments," said Lt. Gen. William N. Phillips, the principal military deputy to the assistant secretary of the Army for Acquisition, Logistics, and Technology.

Both Phillips and Lt. Gen. James O. Barclay III, deputy chief of staff, Army G-8, spoke April 8, before the Senate Armed Services Committee, subcommittee on airland.

Barclay said over the next three years, the Army will continue to deploy and redeploy units, retrograde equipment from theater, reorganize brigade combat teams, maintain the readiness of forces in South Korea, and reestablish global and regional response forces.

"And to do all this," Barclay said, "we have to do it with substantially less money than we had planned, due to sequestration."

While the Army today is better modernized and equipped than at any time in recent memory, "fiscal realities endanger the progress we have made in equipping," Barclay said.

The reductions caused by sequestration, Barclay said, are occurring "much sooner and at a much steeper rate than anticipated."

As a result, he said, "all acquisition priorities and many equipment modernization programs may face unanticipated schedule or cost impacts in the out-years."

He also said fiscal realities have caused the Army to make tough choices by delaying, restructuring and terminating programs for fiscal year 2014. The Army has had to re-examine the affordability and cost-effectiveness of some programs, for instance. The service is also having to determine if there are less-costly alternatives to other programs.

If sequestration continues as written into law, Barclay said, "the Army may lose balance between end strength, readiness, and modernization -- resulting in a hollow force."

Phillips said the Army continues to be focused on making the best use of American tax dollars by driving affordability and cost effectiveness into every decision the Army makes. Additionally, he said, the Soldier remains at the heart of the Army's modernization efforts.

"We remain committed to our modernization strategy, which begins with the Soldier -- the most effective weapon in the battlefield," said Phillips. "The Soldier and squad are the foundation of our Army and the centerpiece of our modernization programs."

Phillips said modernization efforts focus on equipping squads for tactical overmatch in all situations; connecting Soldiers on the ground to a network that supports tactical communications; having vehicles that improve mobility, lethality and survivability; and providing Soldiers and squads with a range of equipment, including crew-served weapons, next generation optics and night vision devices, body armor and advanced individual protection equipment.

For Army aviation, he said, the service will continue to successfully modify, upgrade, and re-manufacture existing platforms to extend the life of aircraft and keep aircrew safe. The Army is also investing in science and technology for the future fleet of aviation.

"Our modernization efforts are designed to prepare the entire force for a complex and uncertain battlefield by putting a squad with precise information and overmatch capability in the right place at the right time to accomplish their mission," Phillips said.