WASHINGTON-- Today, Rep. Vicky Hartzler (R-MO), Ranking Member of the House Armed Services Subcommittee on Tactical Air And Land Forces, made the following remarks, as prepared for delivery, on the Subcommittee's hearing titled “Department of the Army Modernization Programs."
“Thank you Mr. Chairman, and welcome to our witnesses.
“I would like to thank you all for being here today to provide testimony on Army modernization efforts and the fiscal year 2020 budget request.
“The National Defense Strategy directs our military to prepare for the return of a great power competition with strategic near-peer competitors like Russia and China.
“The Secretary of the Army has noted this budget request represents an inflection point for the Army and in order to meet these National Defense Strategy objectives the Army needs to rapidly modernize now.
“Overall it appears the Army’s modernization request continues to build on the progress made in the previous two budgets in rebuilding readiness and modernization.
“This is important because Army modernization funding declined by well over 50 percent from 2008 through 2016 as a result of the drawdown from two wars and the imposition of the budget caps by the Budget Control Act.
“Most of this impact was seen in the later stages of the R&D [R and D] accounts such as prototyping and system development stages which are the precursors to fielding new capabilities, so I’m pleased that this budget request continues to request needed growth in modernization.
“The Army’s modernization request includes $12.2 billion in research, development, test and evaluation funding and $21.8 billion in procurement which will begin to address the Army’s identified top six modernization priorities: Long-Range Precision Fires, Next Generation Combat Vehicle, Future Vertical Lift, tactical network, air-and-missile defense, and soldier lethality.
“In building this year’s budget request I understand senior Army leadership reviewed and scrutinized every program to determine which ones supported the National Defense Strategy and which programs could be reduced or canceled so that savings could be reinvested into the Army’s quote “big six” end quote priorities.
“Obviously tough choices had to be made and while we may not agree with every decision the Army made we can commend the Army for making these tough decisions in order to prioritize limited investment funding for the future fight and effectively begin to operationalize the national defense strategy.
“I would like our witnesses today to provide additional details on this process and help us understand how you are managing strategic risk as a result of these decisions, to include operationally as well as impacts to the industrial base.
“Since we met last year to review the Army’s modernization request, the Army Futures Command has reached initial operational capability and is well underway in developing modernization requirements to meet these future threats. We expect witnesses today to provide an update on how the Futures Command has begun to improve the acquisition and modernization process.
“To support this effort I understand the Army has also established eight cross-functional teams that align with the Army's modernization priorities. These CFTs [C-F-Ts] are pursuing 31 separate lines of effort with over $8.8 billion total requested for these efforts in the budget request. I expect our witnesses today to provide updates on these efforts.
“Given this focus on next generation capabilities I'd like our witnesses today to discuss how the Army is balancing investments in capabilities for the future fight while at the same time upgrading legacy platforms for current threats.
“Finally, I want to stress the importance of having a defense topline that represents real growth. We cannot afford to go backwards, and the level of funding in this budget request is the minimum required to continue repairing our military.
“I thank the Chairman for organizing this important hearing and I yield the balance of my time.”