Army ‘Very Pleased’ with $185.5 Billion Budget

Army ‘Very Pleased’ with $185.5 Billion Budget

The Pentagon
Photo by: U.S. Army/Sgt. 1st Class Marisol Walker

The fiscal 2024 defense budget unveiled March 13 includes a 5.2% across-the-board pay increase and an overall $26 billion hike in defense spending.

The Army’s $185.5 billion share, which is $5.6 billion less than the fiscal 2023 budget approved by Congress, covers the service’s priorities, briefers said as the budget was unveiled.

Army Undersecretary Gabe Camarillo said the Army can do a lot with the funding. It allows continued emphasis on transformation programs while also funding quality-of-life initiatives such as better housing and expanded access to child care. For example, there are five new barracks projects in the budget, he said.

“We are very pleased with FY24 budget submission,” Camarillo said, noting that it also allows momentum on modernization and funds efforts to improve recruiting. 

The budget includes modest increases in personnel, operations and maintenance and procurement funds over the current year budget and includes funding for 115 exercises worldwide, including 33 in the Indo-Pacific.

Overall, Army funding makes up 22% of the total DoD budget. The Air Force would receive 30.8%, the Navy would receive 30.4% and defensewide programs make up 16.8%, according to budget documents.

The flat Army funding partly reflects the expectation that the service’s active-duty and Army National Guard troop levels won’t dramatically increase over the next year, and that the Army Reserve’s strength will drop by about 2,200. The net result is a total Army force level of 951,800, about 20% less than in fiscal 2022.

Camarillo said the Army continues efforts to improve recruiting, and the budget covers what the Army expects two years from now.

“We are fundamentally improving our recruiting enterprise,” Camarillo said, with several targeted efforts and full funding of marketing programs. “It will take time to get there. It will not happen overnight,” he said.

The proposed 5.2% pay increase would be the biggest increase in more than 20 years for soldiers. The increase would be effective Jan. 1, 2024. If approved by Congress, it would apply to both uniformed and civilian workers.

AUSA is hosting a discussion about the 2024 budget on March 23 as part of its Coffee Series. Lt. Gen. Paul Chamberlain, military deputy for budget in the office of the assistant Army secretary for financial management and comptroller, and Maj. Gen. Mark Bennett, director of the Army budget, will speak.

Registration is required. For more information, click here.