Calvert Remarks at FY24 Budget Hearing for the United States Army (As Prepared)
The Subcommittee on Defense will come to order.
Today, the Subcommittee will receive testimony on the posture of the United States Army.
First, I would like to welcome our two witnesses:
- Secretary of the Army Christine Wormuth, and
- General James McConville, the Chief of Staff of the Army.
Thank you for joining us. We look forward to your testimony.
The rise of China as a military and economic power has raised concerns about the potential for conflict and the need for the Army to maintain a credible deterrence posture. China is improving their military capabilities and their efforts to maintain a technological edge, particularly in the areas of munitions, missiles, and other ground combat systems.
Now, more than ever, we need the U.S. Army to field modernized, lethal equipment to achieve our deterrence strategy. However, while the Army continues to make large investments in future modernization for the Army of 2030, this budget fails to invest in capabilities that our soldiers need today.
While the President’s budget request was released on March 9th, we still do not have all of the justification materials that provide detailed information about your funding requests.
We would like to move quickly this year to avoid a continuing resolution. However, that is difficult to do without having the information required to make decisions.
From the information that we do have today, we see that the budget request underfunds several key programs. For example, the Abrams tank, which is the most lethal and survivable tank in the world, was funded at about ½ the amount that is needed. Our armored formations require the most modernized equipment today, and your Abrams request does not keep pace with that requirement.
This trend of underfunding existing capabilities continues throughout your request for ground combat vehicles, aircraft, and other key warfighting enablers. I am supportive of your efforts to modernize the force of the future, but we cannot deter an ever-evolving China if we are sacrificing investment in lethality that can be put in the hands of soldiers today.
And speaking of those soldiers, new capabilities are only as good as the soldiers operating them. That is why I want to hear about the Army’s recruitment, training, and retention plans to meet its authorized end strength levels. This includes the impacts of changes in military policies, demographics, and economic factors.
The U.S. Army has done a remarkable job executing the transfer of significant amounts of equipment to the Ukrainians. However, I am concerned about our own inventory of equipment and our ability to resupply our depleted stock of munitions.
I am pleased to see your recent investments in production lines to boost monthly deliveries of key munitions, but I am also interested in hearing about the Army’s plans to ensure the reliability and security of its supply chains, and how the Army is leveraging resources, including supplemental appropriations, to ensure we have the proper level of munitions and other weapons available so that we are prepared to fight at a moment’s notice.
Finally, as I mentioned, I do support the Army of the future, including the efforts of Army Future Command. As the nature of warfare continues to evolve, it is essential that the Army keep pace with new technologies and innovative concepts. I hope we can discuss the Army’s efforts to leverage emerging technologies, such as artificial intelligence, autonomous systems, and cyber capabilities, to enhance its operational effectiveness and efficiency.