Jun 14 2017
WASHINGTON – During a recent Senate Defense Appropriations Subcommittee hearing, U.S. Senator Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) questioned the Chief of Staff of the Army General Mark Milley regarding the U.S. Army’s FY2018 budget request. In particular, Sen. Moran asked the General about the proposed increase to troop end strength and the need to rebalance Brigade Combat Teams across the force, highlighting the need for additional Armored Brigade Combat Teams. The 1st Infantry Division at Fort Riley currently has two Armored Brigade Combat Teams.
Click here to watch the hearing.
Sen. Moran (0:01): “Mr. Secretary and General Milley, thank you for your presence today. I understand that the army’s unfunded requirements list includes a $3.1 billion increase… to end strength beyond the FY2017 NDAA mandate. New threat of environments in my view need for potentially rebalancing the brigade combat team structure. Army planning to address Russian aggression includes back-to-back armored brigade combat team deployments to Europe. In fact, we are sending 4,000 Big Red One soldiers with the 2nd Armored BCT to Europe this fall. I want to hear a discussion about what you believe is the right mix between light attack armored and advise and assist brigade combat teams (BCTs).”
Gen. Milley (1:03): “The mix of the force has long been debated and depends on what you are doing at the moment in time. We shredded artillery, long range fires, air defense artillery, lot of armor units, in order to fight the current fight we have been engaged for the last 16 years. As the emerging environment becomes ever more clear, we now know that probably we need to re-balance the force with additional armor capability. We are going to go ahead and add a 15th armor brigade and convert another infantry brigade to an armor brigade for a total of 16 across the board. The Security Force Assistance Brigades, we are going to introduce those. Our end state is five or six and we will see how the pilot program goes. Those brigades will increase the readiness of the force by not ripping apart existing brigades, provide a valuable service as advisors, and then if in the worst case we had to rapidly expand the army, those brigades would have coherent chains of command from staff sergeant on up that we could rapidly expand the army by at least four or five brigades relatively quickly by adding soldiers to existing chains of commands.”
Sen. Moran (3:16): “General, thank you for that information. I want to make certain that I bring up the topic of advise and assist BCTs and their training, and particularly as it relates to Fort Riley. The availability of year-round space and useable acres ought to be a significant component of any decision process that is going on, and I just want your assurance that you will allow us to have a conversation with you in regard to Fort Riley and its capabilities in that regard.”
Gen. Milley (3:50): “Absolutely. We have settled on the 1st Brigade to go to Benning and it is also where we’re setting up the security force’s schoolhouse. There will be a training capacity there and we are going to set up the 1st Brigade at Fort Benning, GA. The follow on brigades have not yet been decided and we have not done the analysis and we will consider all the factors of all the various stations and installations around the country to include Fort Riley as part of that calculation. For sure you and your office will be included in that discussion.”
Sen. Moran (4:18): “Appreciate that very much. Air space is another component of that. I wanted to talk to you about cyber as well. I know that the senator from Alabama has done so, but I would like to see some coordination between reserve, guard, and active as well as the various branches of the service. I will submit a question in writing. I wanted to take the opportunity first of all to say I am pleased the administration nominated Ryan McCarthy. My understanding is you have a history with him and I am looking forward to that being a team that accomplishes a lot on behalf of our nation. I also wanted to remind you General Milley that during the budget hearings you and I agreed to go to Fort Riley together and I would love that still to happen. I would take this opportunity to say that tomorrow is the 100th anniversary of the 1st Infantry Division – long time history of defending our nation. The Big Red One, we were at the monument yesterday by the White House. D-Day yesterday and Big Red One tomorrow. It is a historic time for the army. But it is also a time for us to recollect, respect and express our gratitude to those who give us the opportunity to have the opportunity to have this conversation today.”
Gen. Milley (5:34): “Thanks, Senator. Couldn’t agree more. Big Red One is a great division. Fort Riley is a great post and I will do better at coordinating my schedule with yours and get that trip planned."