WASHINGTON -- The Army has allocated more than 60 percent of its fiscal year 2021 budget request toward personnel readiness, operations and maintenance, with a portion of the remainder targeting key modernization priorities, said Secretary of the Army Ryan McCarthy.
McCarthy and Army Chief of Staff Gen. James McConville highlighted critical aspects of the fiscal 2021 request and discussed the Army's response to COVID-19 before the House Committee of Appropriations' defense subcommittee March 10.
"With timely, adequate, predictable and sustained funding, we will deliver an Army that will never be outranged, outgunned or overmatched," McConville said.
Building the future force "requires transformational change, not incremental improvements," McConville added. "Our FY21 budget request supports that transformational change. It aligns resources with the National Defense Strategy and the Army's priorities. It also balances the demands for readiness now and allows us to invest in the future."
The Army has more than 187,000 Soldiers deployed across 140 countries, and accounts for over 60% of combatant commander requirements across the globe, he said. The budget request will maintain 58 brigade combat teams, 23 aviation brigades and six security force assistance brigades across the regular Army, National Guard and Army Reserve.
This year, the Army has conducted close to 20 combat training center rotations, investing $1 billion in prepositioned stocks, and $1.7 billion to improve power projection infrastructure. Moving forward, the Army looks to increase its CTC rotations to 24, which will include four National Guard rotations under the new request, the general said.
Beyond the CTC rotations, large-scale exercises like Defender-Europe 20 and Defender-Pacific slated for 2021, and the implementation of new capabilities will allow the Army to stay competitive against its near-peer adversaries, McConville added.
The budget request also funds further development of multi-domain task forces in Europe and the Pacific to increase capabilities in both competition and conflict. Further, the Army is looking to fund its six modernization priorities to deliver critical systems across the force.
"Great power competition does not have to mean great power conflict," McConville said. "A ready, modern and multi-domain Army provides the nation's strategic leaders with flexible options to compete below the threshold of armed conflict by maximizing deterrence."
With the spread of COVID-19, the Army's organized response to disease stems from three lines of effort: "prevent, detect and treat," McCarthy explained. Currently, the Army's medical research efforts have joined the larger joint initiative to help in the development of a COVID-19 vaccine and anti-viral therapy.
Detecting COVID-19 requires test kits, which nine of the Army's labs are validated to create, McCarthy said.
"We put in a request for more funding so we can open up our capacity to produce thousands a day," he said. In South Korea, Gen. Robert Abrams, the U.S. Forces Korea commander, is working to procure test kits off the local economy, he added.