Wormuth: Army Remains Busy, Ready

Wormuth: Army Remains Busy, Ready

SecArmy Wormuth speaks with soldiers
Photo by: U.S. Army/Maria Cavins

The U.S. Army has “accomplished a lot” this year, but Army Secretary Christine Wormuth isn’t celebrating. 

“We have a lot of work ahead of us,” she told the Senate defense appropriations subcommittee at a May 10 hearing about the fiscal 2023 budget.

The fiscal 2023 Army budget submitted to Congress asks for $177.5 billion for the fiscal year that begins Oct. 1, with a pending request for an additional $5.1 billion for unfunded priorities if lawmakers provide more funds.

The basic budget has some high priorities, like $35 billion for modernization and about $2 billion for improvements in infrastructure and housing. It also includes a reduction in troop levels, a move Wormuth said is more a function of making certain the Army maintains high recruiting standards in a tight employment market than an effort to save money. “We didn’t want to do that,” she said.

“We are working hard to adjust our recruiting efforts given the challenging recruiting environment we and the other services are facing,” she said. 

The Army is retooling recruiting programs with bigger incentive bonuses for most military occupational specialties and by letting recruits pick their first duty station.

This may not be enough. “We need to look at some more substantial changes in how we recruit,” she said. “We are going to try to be really creative and aggressive in terms of exploring ideas to help us going forward.”

Additionally, the Army has more than 47,000 soldiers in Europe to “reassure our allies,” deter aggression and help defend Ukraine, but “we have not taken our eye off the pacing challenge of China,” she said, noting a deployment of thousands of soldiers on a series of exercises with allies and partners in the Indo-Pacific. 

The 2023 budget allocates $1.4 billion to the Indo-Pacific, she said. “We are trying to make sure that we have Army presence in the theater up to about six months a year,” she said.

“America's Army is fit, trained and ready when called upon to fight and win the nation's wars,” Wormuth said. “We are transforming for the future, something we have to do given the dangerous environment we face each day.”