It appears the US Army may have been spared from potential budget cuts in fiscal year 2024 (FY24) thanks to funding allocated to support Ukraine’s defense efforts.
2024 Budget Report Reveals Army’s Funding Priorities
According to a report by Defense News, in March, the service presented a $185.5 billion budget that contained no significant cuts for 2024. Instead, it had used Ukraine supplemental funds in key programs, enabling the Army to strengthen several initiatives while its regular spending plan showed little growth. This additional funding represented about one-third of the Army’s annual procurement budget.
According to Tom Spoehr, a research supervisor at the Heritage Foundation think tank, “The supplemental funding is the untold story about how it helps the Army.” It allowed the Army to avoid painful cuts in FY24 and even accelerated the service’s modernization. The Army’s budget for FY24 proposes a 4.6% increase over its $178 billion budget last year, keeping it close to FY23 levels. However, inflation means that the new budget request falls approximately 2% below the FY23 enacted amount.
The Army already received a total of $8 billion in procurement funding and another $6.7 billion for operations and maintenance in FY22 and FY23 through congressionally appropriated supplementals, which were intended to help the service replenish supplies sent to Ukraine. The additional funding allows the Army to sign a multiyear contract in FY24 to purchase Guided Multiple Launch Rocket Systems, thanks to new congressional authority.
Budget Concerns for US Military
The decision to allocate funds to Ukraine was part of a larger effort by the US government to support Ukraine’s defense efforts in the face of ongoing battles with Russian. While the move to support Ukraine was widely applauded by its supporters, it has also raised concerns about the potential impact on the already-strained US military budget.
Critics argue that diverting funds to support foreign military efforts could come at the expense of the US military’s own readiness and capabilities. However, supporters point out that the US has a long history of providing military aid to allies and partners, and that the investment in Ukraine’s defense is critical to maintaining stability and security in the region.
The Army’s unexpected funding from Ukraine’s supplemental funds has certainly had an impact on the service’s budget planning. Although it has averted significant cuts for the time being, the future of the Army’s budget remains uncertain. With rising inflation, missed recruiting goals, and ongoing support for Ukraine, the Army will undoubtedly face difficult budget choices in the years to come.