The U.S. Army’s proposed 2023 budget is not adequate to sustain its ambitious modernization plans. The service is in the midst of a fundamental transformation to great-power conflict that requires replacing much of its Cold War kit, but it cannot afford all three dozen of the new systems that need to be fielded once it covers the cost of readiness. Funding for investment accounts is headed down at a time when it should be increasing–to a point where the entire Army procurement budget isn’t much bigger than the proposed increase in next year’s Air Force budget. If China were the only threat the joint force faced, perhaps America could get by with only air power and sea power, but Ukraine demonstrates that an agile, well-equipped ground force is essential to securing Europe against Russian attack. As Congress prepares to review the Biden administration’s budget proposals, a key question should be whether the U.S. Army can keep up with great-power adversaries at the levels of spending recommended. I have written a commentary for Forbes here.
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