Joint Association Letter Raises Budget Concerns

Joint Association Letter Raises Budget Concerns

US Capitol
Photo by: Architect of the Capitol

The Association of the U.S. Army, joined by four other military associations, is urging key lawmakers to approve a timely and adequate defense budget to avoid unnecessary disruptions in modernization and people programs.

“We are in what has been described as the ‘decisive decade,’ and our nation faces many severe threats. From an increasingly capable and aggressive China, the continued unprovoked Russian invasion of Ukraine, Iranian and North Korean malign activities, impact of inflation, to floods and wildfires, our soldiers are answering our nation’s call,” the associations say in a March 7 letter to the top four leaders of the Senate and the House.

“The reportedly arbitrary budget cuts described by some are not appropriate at this time,” says the letter signed by retired Gen. Bob Brown, president and CEO of AUSA.

He is joined by retired Brig. Gen. J. Roy Robinson, president of the National Guard Association of the United States; retired Maj. Gen. Jeffrey Phillips, executive director of the Reserve Organization of America; retired Chief Warrant Officer 4 Jack Du Teil, national executive director of the U.S. Army Warrant Officer Association; and retired Command Sgt. Maj. Karen Craig, president of the Enlisted Association of the National Guard of the United States.

President Biden on March 9 unveiled his budget plan for fiscal 2024. The request includes $842 billion for defense, which is $26 billion more than the fiscal 2023 enacted level and nearly $100 billion more than fiscal 2022. The Army’s share of the budget for fiscal 2024 is $185.5 billion, the service announced March 13.

“The president’s budget request provides the resources necessary to address the pacing challenge from the People’s Republic of China, address advanced and persistent threats, accelerate innovation and modernization, and ensure operational resiliency amidst our changing climate,” Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said in a statement.

The budget also includes 5.2% pay raises for service members and civilian workers, the largest in more than 20 and 40 years for the military and civilian workforce, respectively.

As Congress begins its work on the budget request, AUSA and the other military associations are urging lawmakers to provide predictability to the Pentagon and the services.

“It is intuitive that budget cuts to DoD or the Army diminish national security and the capabilities of our service members,” the letter says. Readiness, modernization and quality of life programs would suffer, and cuts also could hurt the defense industrial base, the letter says.

“We urge you and your colleagues to provide the predictability and resources commensurate with the

demonstrated need and urgency that our national security challenges require,” the letter says.

Read the letter here.