Pasquarette: Army will fund critical modernization efforts even with reduced topline

By Jaspreet Gill / November 19, 2020 at 1:15 PM

The Army will fund critical modernization priorities even if its budget is significantly reduced, but the service may have to make cuts elsewhere in its portfolio, according to the deputy chief of staff (G-8).

The Army has routinely taken a "modernization holiday" when faced with previous budget cuts, Lt. Gen. James Pasquarette said yesterday at an Association of the United States Army event.

He expects it to be different this time around "if and when" the Army receives a significant topline reduction, saying the service in the past "turned down the modernization dial" to preserve end strength and readiness.

"Both the [Army] secretary and the [chief of staff] have stated that we must modernize the Army," Pasquarette said. "Russia and China aren't going anywhere. Our [National Defense Strategy] has us focused on them. . . . The equipment we have today is not what we need to deter, and if deterrence fails, to fight and win against high-end adversaries in the future."

The service will look to "fully resource" selected cross-functional team efforts that are deemed critical even under a budget reduction, but Pasquarette refused to reveal what those efforts would be or where exactly the service will make cuts.

"In short, I don't believe Army leadership will hit the easy button this time around," he said. "Modernization will be protected to a degree as we balance a program under a topline adjustment downward if that happens."