The U.S. Army’s Chief of Staff Gen. James McConville and Secretary of the Army Christine Wormuth testified in front of Senate Armed Services Committee today and said the Army is due for a large-scale modernization effort, but emphasized there are still unfunded modernization requirements that were not met with the Army’s FY2022 budget request.

President Biden’s FY2022 defense budget request includes approximately $173 billion for the Army, including $27.8 billion for Army readiness. However, McConville and Wormuth said they would have liked to see more funding for modernization efforts.

“We have to modernize the Army,” McConville said during the hearing. “I would argue every 40 years, the Army has to transform. It did in 1940, right before World War II, it did in 1980 when I came in the Army. Most of the weapon systems we’re using are 1980 vintage and quite frankly, I think in 2020 we must do the same.”

“We have done all we can, the secretary and myself, to protect the modernization of the Army, and we believe we must do that,” he added. “And I have outlined in my unfunded requirement letter to you those unfunded requirements that were not met within the budget.”

McConville’s unfunded requirements letter to congressional leaders and defense committees has not been made public. However, Wormuth stressed that with President Biden’s budget “the Army has made some difficult choices, but we have done everything we can to protect our modernization programs.”

“As General McConville and I go forward … we’re going to have to be looking carefully at what does the strategy call upon us to do, what do we think are the demands, the current demands, from combatant commanders, and can we meet those current demands, while also protecting our modernization efforts, which is going to be critical,” Wormuth added. “We are still under stress, particularly in certain areas like Air Defense as you know, so we’re going to be strong advocates going into the future budget discussions.”

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Grace Dille
Grace Dille
Grace Dille is MeriTalk's Assistant Managing Editor covering the intersection of government and technology.