The Association of the United States Army is urging Congress "to authorize and fund a force of at least 700,000 soldiers on active duty status, drawn from the active Army, the Army National Guard and Army Reserve" as a key piece of its legislative agenda for 2011.
In the preamble to its resolutions approved by 122 AUSA chapters, the Association noted, "The demand for our forces exceeds the sustainable supply."
The preamble added that legislative and regulatory policy changes are needed to "allow the reserve component to execute its role" as an operational reserve to meet the requirement for 700,000 soldiers to be serving in the active force.
To pay for this, the Association is seeking congressional approval to increase "non-supplemental defense spending to at least 5 percent of gross domestic product," increase the Army’s share of the defense budget from 24 to 28 percent and provide a consistent funding stream.
As in the past, the resolutions "focus on people, readiness and Army modernization." Adding, "People are the heart and soul of the Army – soldiers, civilians, family members and retired soldiers."
The resolutions also call for closing the pay gap between soldiers and Army civilians and the private sector; revising and enhancing the compensation package for the reserve components; and warn against an "erosion of benefits, especially in health care … to ensure the continued success of the all-volunteer force."
They also recognize Army’s efforts in "refining understanding of Full Spectrum Operations through training and professional dialogue [and] reducing the backlog in professional military education."
The resolutions recognize the stress of continued conflict on soldiers and their families and acknowledge the efforts to build resilience through programs such as comprehensive soldier fitness and health promotion, risk reduction and suicide prevention.
On modernization, the resolutions state, funding must be available to execute the revised strategy "for developing the interoperable network and a new ground combat vehicle."
The resolutions also address the Army’s need for funds for research, development and testing for future forces.
Money to repair and replace equipment lost during nine years of war will need to continue for several years after hostilities. At the same time, "Funds associated with base realignment and closure, global posture reviews and the Quadrennial Defense Review must be provided" to all the Army "to remain the world’s dominant land power."