Senate Panel Shows Support for Army

Senate Panel Shows Support for Army

US Capitol
Photo by: Architect of the Capitol

The Senate Armed Services Committee shows staunch support for Army modernization and transformation efforts in its version of the 2024 national defense policy bill.

Senators provide support for top Army priorities such as long-range fires, Future Vertical Lift, next-generation combat vehicles and air and missile defense programs. The committee also wants to know more about efforts to modernize small arms, including an assessment of the maturity of improved 5.56 mm ammunition.

In a press release focused on fiscal 2024 priorities, the committee says it doesn’t want the Army to overlook ground combat vehicles, suggesting the strategy for wheeled tactical vehicles should be updated “every five years to provide a more consistent and holistic review of this family of vehicles while also providing a requirements signal to the industrial base.”

For several years, Congress has looked to reduce overlap between Army and Navy watercraft programs, with both services arguing they have special needs. In its report on the 2024 defense bill, the Senate panel orders the Army to cooperate with the Navy on watercraft shortfalls and on development of a heavy watercraft that might be jointly used.

Senators encourage the Army to rapidly plan ways to counter small unmanned aerial systems, which would be used across the joint force.

Weapons and gear for Army ground forces are another congressional priority. Senators highlight the need for advances in night vision capabilities, continued ways to reduce the load carried by soldiers and methods to improve their lethality and survivability.

The committee also supports expanding high energy laser capabilities for weapons, encouraging “accelerated delivery for operations.”

The Senate committee report is not the final word on funding and program priorities for fiscal 2024. Congress must pass and the president must sign final legislation to have binding funding and policy orders.