WASHINGTON (Army News Service, Feb. 23, 2016) -- The Army budget request for fiscal year 2017 totals a little more than $148 billion and includes a 1.6 percent raise for Soldiers. But this year's budget request, said Lt. Gen. Karen Dyson, the military deputy to the assistant secretary of the Army for financial management and comptroller, was developed with a focus on boosting readiness.

Army readiness is developed primarily with operations and maintenance funding, and this year the Army has requested some $45.2 billion in that account across all three components.

The FY17 operations and maintenance funding request is expected to support an increased focus on decisive action readiness across the force, 19 combat training center rotations and the continued professional development of Soldiers and Army civilians.

Dyson, who was speaking at a monthly Association of the U.S. Army breakfast, Feb. 18, outlined what Chief of Staff of the Army Gen. Mark A. Milley sees as major threats and priorities for the Army and how they meld into the Department of Defense budget.

One of those priorities is participation in the increased activity in Europe that comes as a response to Russian aggression there. The Army must also be prepared to respond on the Korean peninsula. There, North Korea's actions are driving instability. Additionally, China's assertive behavior, though not aggressive like Russia's, could become a bigger threat in the future, she said. Also a concern is Iran's destabilizing influence in in the Middle East. Finally, Dyson said, the Army continues to combat the terrorist threat in the Central Command area of responsibility, especially from the Islamic State.

Being prepared to respond to those threats requires an Army that is well-versed in the full spectrum of military combat operations, and the Army budget, which is wholly aligned with Department of Defense priorities, aims to move the Army in that direction, Dyson said. The DOD budget, she said, includes three priorities that the Army has mirrored in its own budget:

-- "One is to strengthen deterrent capabilities;

-- the second is to find the best balance between manning, readiness and modernization with a focus on rebuilding full-spectrum capabilities," she said.

-- "The third is to see innovative approaches, not just through technology, but also through, human capital...through plans and operational concepts and institutional reform."

MODERNIZATION

While the Army is concerned primarily with near-term readiness and capability, it's also presently investing in new lethality capability for Stryker brigades

Additionally, the Army is modernizing or modifying existing equipment by investing in engineering change proposals on existing combat platforms such as the Bradley Fighting Vehicle, she said, noting that much returning equipment is being brought to fully mission-capable standards as units come and go in rapid deployment.

Dyson added that the Army is also divesting itself of equipment that is obsolete or in excess of needed inventories.