Proposed Budget Cuts $3.6 Billion in Army Funding

Proposed Budget Cuts $3.6 Billion in Army Funding

Soldiers in live-fire training
Photo by: U.S. Army/Sgt. Thomas Calvert

The Biden administration’s fiscal 2022 defense budget proposes a $3.6 billion reduction for the Army that preserves military personnel funding but reduces procurement, research, development, testing and evaluation funds by $4.2 billion from current spending.  

Maj. Gen. Paul Chamberlain, director of the Army budget, said the budget is sufficient to meet demands at home and abroad while providing for quality services and facilities for soldiers, families, civilians, retirees and veterans. “This budget puts people first,” he said.  

The $173 billion budget requested by the Army is part of an overall $715 billion DoD budget for fiscal 2022. Army leaders calculate this is a 2% funding decline in the topline, with a 1.8% increase for personnel costs. In terms of reductions, the budget proposes an 11% drop in procurement, a 15% drop in military construction and a 1.1% drop in operations and maintenance.  

There would be slight reductions in troop levels. The Regular Army’s authorized troop strength would drop by 900 soldiers to 485,000. The Army National Guard would lose 500 soldiers for a new level of 336,000, while the Army Reserve’s 189,500 troop strength would be 300 less than the current cap. Chamberlain called this a “modest” reduction and didn’t rule out deeper troop cuts in future years. 

The budget assumes a 2.7% pay increase for military and civilian personnel, a 3.1% average increase in basic allowance for housing, and a 2.4% increase in subsistence allowance.  

The Army is the only one of the services to see a reduction in spending in 2022, something defense budget officials and Chamberlain described as a result of the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan. 

Even with cuts, the budget allows the Army to continue its child care services expansions, to include the Army Fee Assistance Program, improve permanent party barracks, increase health and fitness programs, and provide support for a talent management program for civilian workers.  

While reducing weapons funding, the budget continues the Army’s modernization priorities, with leaders pledging they are “committed to seeing them through completion.” The goal for achieving joint all-domain operations capability by 2035 remains.  

To make its budget go farther in terms of modernization, leaders have engaged in what they’ve described as a “ruthless” process of eliminating lower priority programs. They have continued that process with less savings. In fiscal 2020 and 2021 decisions, 134 programs were eliminated, producing $7.3 billion in savings that would accumulate through 2025. In 2022 budget decisions, only seven programs were eliminated, with more modest savings of $47.8 million. Chamberlain said the Army wasn’t done with these efforts.