Army official on budget: Will it be enough?
ARLINGTON, Va. — The senior Army official who discussed his service’s fiscal 2005 budget request to Congress with reporters Friday began with an acknowledgment.
At $97.2 billion, the request “is a lot of money,” the official said.
But he immediately followed with an anxious question: “Will it be enough?”
The Army has a full plate in 2005, and will see the smallest increase of any of the services: just $1.8 billion more than the $95.4 billion Congress allocated in 2004.
This request, like last year’s, does not include funding to cover the Army’s lead role in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Instead, defense officials said they would submit a supplemental request for those missions, probably in early 2005.
The Army’s budget request for 2005 is similar to its $93.9 billion request in 2004.
The Army’s budget upticks include an additional $2.1 billion for personnel, up to $39.4 billion — enough to fund the Congressionally authorized limit of 482,400 active-duty soldiers, 350,000 Army National Guard, and 205,000 Army Reserve soldiers, the official said.
The operations and maintenance request went up by $1.5 billion, to $32.4 billion. Included is about $1 billion to fund operations in Bosnia and Kosovo, a drop of about $500 million since 2004, the official said.
The Army’s procurement budget climbed 1.3 billion, to $10.4 billion. Most of the increase is dedicated to the Future Combat System, the Army’s centerpiece “transformational” system.
The service’s military construction request went up by $300 million, from $1.8 billion to $2.1 billion. But the Army is requesting funds for a limited number of overseas projects that involve new housing or other base projects that affect families.
In Europe, the only such projects included in the service’s request are in Germany: for Grafenwöhr, $28.5 million for a new barracks complex; another $34 million for a second complex at the same base; and $5.3 million to improve family housing.
The Army has earmarked $9.5 million for family housing at Stuttgart.
Stuttgart and Grafenwöhr “are sort of our enduring facilities in Germany,” the official said.
Meanwhile, DOD’s Tricare Management Activity is asking for $13 million for Grafenwöhr to improve and add to the dental clinic and existing dispensary, while the Defense Education Activity wants $36.2 million to build a new elementary/middle school in Grafenwöhr and another $9 million to renovate the high school in Vilseck.
In the Pacific, the only quality-of-life construction project the Army is requesting is for South Korea, where the service is asking for $12 million for a new sanitary sewer system at Camp Humphreys.
In 2005, the Army will also begin a major reorganization, using highly capable, enhanced brigades, rather than larger, more cumbersome divisions, as its central combat maneuver unit.
The service plans on adding one additional, enhanced brigade to each of its 10 active-duty divisions, going from 33 to 43 brigades.
The cost of the effort, which another senior defense official said was the most “radical change … since Napoleon made divisions,” is unknown at this point, the Army official said.