Modernization, IT efforts get spotlight in Army budget

Army's proposed budget emphasizes force maintenance and modernization.

The budget calls for $1.5 billion to modernize its Black Hawk helicopters and $1.4 billion to buy 32 new and 15 remanufactured CH-47 Chinook transport helicopters with upgraded avionics. The service would also spend $659 millionto acquire 36 MQ-1 Gray Eagle unmanned aerial systems to enhance its surveillance and reconnaissance capabilities. It also wants to spend $540 million for 18 Enhanced Medium Reconnaissance and Surveillance System aircraft.

For Army contractors, there is good news in the fiscal 2012 budget if you are in the business of helpig the service with modernization efforts and other IT programs.

The budget allocates billions of dollars in joint and combat communiations, modernization initiatives and research and development.

The service requested a $144.9 billion base budget with an added $71.1 billion for overseas contingency operations. According to the Army, its budget is designed to restore balance in the force and continue its transition to a more modern force. The budget also increases funding for Active Component operating tempo and related programs.

Regarding procurement, the proposed budget calls for spending $5.1 billion for communications and electronics equipment, out of a total procurement allocation of $22.1 billion. Among these expenditures are $2.1 billion for joint and combat communications. This allocation would fund the final deployment of the on-the-halt increment of the WarfighterInformation Network-Tactical (WIN-T) system and begin work on the program’s on-the-move increment. The funding would also see accelerated deployment of the Joint Tactical Radio System, and the installation of the Information Infrastructure Modernization Program. An additional $288 million would be tagged for acquiring tactical surveillance equipment such as night vision thermal weapons sights and the Long Range Advanced Scout Surveillance System.

The budget would provide support for a 547,000 soldier active duty force, and 205,000 reserve personnel. An additional temporary end strength increase of 22,000 soldiers is funded under the overseas contingency operations budget. The budget also would provide a 1.6 percent pay raise, a 3.1 percent housing allowance increase, and a 3.4 percent subsistence increase.

Among the service’s priorities are:

  • Care for soldiers, families and civilians.
  • Sustaining the quality of the all-volunteer force.
  • Resetting the readiness level of soldiers, units, and equipment for future deployment.
  • Force modernization.

The Army would allocate $60.5 billion to programs supporting military personnel; $45.2 billion for operations and maintenance; $31.8 billion to research, development and acquisition; $4.9 billion for military construction and family housing; $301.2 million for the Base Realignment and Closure/Homeowners Assistance Program; $1.6 billion for chemical demilitarization; $220.6 million for the Joint Improvised Explosive Device Defeat Fund; and $101.2 million for the Army Working Capital Fund.

Research and development is tagged for $9.7 billion, down from $10.3 billion in fiscal 11. Some $1.2 billion would be allocated to support ongoing combat vehicle modernization programs; $298 million for continued development of the WIN-T system; $1.7 billion for development of key aviation, intelligence and air defense programs; and $2.3 billion for science and technology research.