By Devon L. SuitsSeptember 19, 2018
WASHINGTON -- Under the fiscal year 2019 National Defense Authorization Act, the Army received a $23 billion increase in its budget to support readiness and modernization, including a $5.6 billion addition to research, development, and acquisition, said Lt. Gen. James F. Pasquarette, the Army's new deputy chief of staff, G-8.
With just seven days in his current position, Pasquarette spoke during an Association of the U.S. Army Institute of Land Warfare breakfast. The recent commander of U.S. Army Japan shared his views on the current state of the Army and how the force will meet its readiness and modernization goals by 2028.
The G-8 is the Army's staff lead for force development and matching resources to acquisition programs, including science and technology initiatives. The G-8 works to balance current force needs with the development of future force capabilities.
KEEPING PACE WITH TECHNOLOGY
Adversaries are now challenging the U.S. military's global competitive advantage in all domains, Pasquarette said.
"The pace of technological innovation is putting the military and disruptive technologies in the hands of state and non-state actors at relatively cheap, affordable costs," Pasquarette said. "Gone are the days when only first-world nations had difference-making technologies."
Technological advancement over the next couple of decades will "drive a change in the character of war," he said. In response, the Army developed six modernization priorities and aligned them under the newly formed Army Futures Command.
"The rapid pace of technological change, coupled with the speed of innovation ... demands that the Army makes changes to the way we develop and deliver capabilities for our Soldiers," he explained.
The establishment of Futures Command is the "most significant change" the Army has made since the creation of Army Forces Command and Army Training and Doctrine Command in 1973, he said.
"This realignment is not about creating new Army structure … but rather streamlining of work to overcome the bureaucratic inertia and stove-piping," he said. He added that the goal is to continue to shrink the requirements process, from three to five years to less than a year, and move requirement writers closer to those who execute acquisition.
With these changes, the Army now has the opportunity to embrace new technologies, like quantum computing, high-energy lasers, directed-energy weapons, hypersonic systems, and artificial intelligence, Pasquarette said. Moreover, the Army's modernization efforts will revolutionize the multi-domain operations concept, and eventually become Army doctrine.
SUSTAINING CURRENT SYSTEMS
In addition to the Army's modernization priorities, the force must continue to support and improve current "legacy" systems.
Secretary of the Defense James Mattis "has made a clear statement that we must focus our efforts on developing capabilities in response to near-peer competitors by fiscal year 2022 … while continuing to manage our effort in CENTCOM," Pasquarette said.
The Army's fiscal year 2020 budget proposal, recently submitted to the Office of the Secretary of Defense, will continue to support priorities set by the 2018 National Defense Strategy, Pasquarette said.
"The Army is not walking away from our legacy systems," he said. "In fact, parts of our Army will fight longer on legacy systems under the current strategy."
"Let's not forget that our legacy systems -- (which is) kind of a pejorative term to me -- are excellent," he added. "The problem is our peer competitors have built good stuff. While we have been making incremental changes, they've been making fundamental changes, and they're much closer to where we are today."
Additionally, under the proposed European Defense Initiative, or EDI, budget request, the Army will continue to accelerate and modernize the current Abrams and Bradley fleet.
"We are going to fill out the (2nd Armored Brigade Combat Team) and prepositioned stocks in Europe with the most modern tanks and fighting vehicles," Pasquarette said. "The EDI has also allowed us to begin to set the theater with regard to preferred munitions."
"Additional resources have also allowed us to make a significant investment in our global stockpile of preferred munitions -- an area of underinvestment over the last few years," he added.