Top U.S Army leaders told senators today they are confident in the service branch’s modernization funding priorities for the Fiscal Year 2023 Defense Authorization Request, while Republican committee members advocated for a further boost in Army funding.

The FY 2023 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) will play a critical role in helping the U.S. military continue ongoing transformations to counter great-power aggression and deter conflict. The proposed FY 2023 Army budget aims to keep the force on a strategic path to fielding cutting-edge formations necessary for multi-domain operations while facing increased fiscal pressures.

“Our transformation requires a strategic pivot from two decades of counterinsurgency operations toward adaptation to meet our top pacing challenge in China and the acute threat of Russian aggression all while continuing to defend the homeland and be prepared for other missions around the world,” said Douglas Bush, the Army’s assistant secretary for Acquisition, Logistics and Technology at the U.S. Army, during a May 10 Senate Armed Services subcommittee hearing.

Bush said the Army’s modernization priorities include long-range precision fires, air and missile defense, and network improvements.

Lt. Gen. James Richardson, acting commander of Army Futures Command, agreed with the modernization priorities, saying that Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has “taught us a lesson, [that] our modernization priorities are correct.” In the coming year, 24 new systems will be delivered to soldiers in the form of prototypes for feedback or the initial equipping of units, Richardson added.

Richardson and Bush both explained to lawmakers that nearly four years into its biggest transformation in four decades, the Army is making progress.

“The Army’s budget also continues modernization and procurement of our enduring platforms,” Bush said. “I believe the budget request reflects an approach that prioritizes our most important modernization efforts.”

Moreover, Richardson and Bush explained to lawmakers that all budget proposals require making choices, and that the FY 2023 budget is no different. In the latest budget submission, the Army prioritized modernization priorities while decreasing funding requests in other areas.

However, committee member Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., argued there is still a lot of work to be done to ensure the Army receives the resources it needs to modernize for possible threats. He said he believes the Biden administration’s FY 2023 budget request falls far short of providing the resources required to face accelerating threats.

Sen. Cotton is not the first Republican lawmaker to voice his concern over the Army FY2023 budget. Sen. Richard Shelby, R-Ala., has also knocked the request as being inadequate.

Bush asked senators today that as they consider the FY 2023 budget to be “cautious about adding additional complications or additional elements of the acquisition system as adding anything to a system, which is already difficult to move quickly in, can sometimes slow it down further.”

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Lisbeth Perez
Lisbeth Perez
Lisbeth Perez is a MeriTalk Senior Technology Reporter covering the intersection of government and technology.