Chairman Frelinghuysen, Ranking Member Visclosky, members of the committee, thank you for today's opportunity to discuss our Army with you this morning.
This is my eighth week on the job as Acting Secretary and it's truly an honor to be back with my Army family. I've traveled to see our Soldiers, Civilians, and their families at Fort Hood, Fort Sam Houston, and most recently Iraq and Afghanistan.
The selfless service and dedication of our team should inspire us all. We are tasked with the solemn responsibility to fight and win our nation's wars and to keep our families safe here at home.
Our Army must produce ready units today to deter and defeat our Nation's enemies, defend the homeland, project power, and win decisively. By ready, we mean that units are fully manned, trained for combat, fully equipped according to their designed structure, and led by competent leaders.
We must also be ready for our future fights by investing in modernization, and research and development. We don't want our Soldiers to have a fair fight and we want them to have the technical and tactical advantage over our enemies.
With our $125.1 billion dollar base request, our Army will focus its efforts on rebuilding readiness for large-scale, high-end, ground combat today. We do so because we believe ignoring readiness shortfalls puts our nation at greatest risk for the following reasons:
First, readiness wins wars. Our Army has never been the largest in the world. At times we have not been the best equipped. But, since World War II, we have recognized that ready Soldiers, properly manned, trained, equipped, and led, can beat larger or more determined forces. Whether confronting the barbaric acts of ISIS, or the desperation of North Korea, our Army must be prepared to execute and to win. We train like we fight -- and our Army must be ready to fight tonight.
Next, readiness deters our most dangerous threats and assures our Allies. We are reminded with alarming frequency that great power conflicts are NOT dead. Today, they manifest on a regional basis. Both Russia and China are challenging America's willingness, and ability, to enforce international standards of conduct. A ready Army provides America the strength to deter such actions and reassure our partners throughout the world.
Readiness also makes future training less costly. Continuous operations since 2001 have left our force proficient in stability and counterterrorism operations, but our future command sergeants major, and brigade leaders, have not had the critical Combat Training Center experiences as junior leaders, trained for high-end ground combat. Investing in readiness today builds the foundation necessary for long-term readiness.
Finally, readiness prepares our force for potential future conflicts -- we can't fight the last fight. Our Army must be prepared to face the high-end and advanced combat power of an aggressive Russia, or more likely, Russian aggression employed by surrogate actors. This budget dedicates resources to develop solutions for this. To allow our force the space to develop new concepts, informed by the recommendations of the National Commission on the Future of the Army, our formations must first be ready to execute against current and emerging threats.
The choice, though, to invest in near-term readiness does comes with risks: smaller modernization investments risk our ability to fight and win in the future--we have no new major modernization programs this decade. Smaller investments in end strength risk our ability to conduct multiple operations for sustained periods of time. In short, we are mortgaging our future readiness because we have to ensure success in today's battles against emerging threats. That's why initiatives like BRAC in 2019 are needed to be implemented now- let us manage your investment -- and this will result in $500 million dollars a year savings and a Return on your Investment within five years.
Lastly, while we thank Congress for the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015, which provides short-term relief and two years of predictable funding, we request your support for the enactment of our budget as proposed. We request your support for continued funding at levels calibrated to current threats and to our national security interests. And, we request your continued support for our Soldiers, Civilians, and their Families so that our Army remains the most capable fighting force possible to fight and win our nation's wars, and to keep our families safe here at home.