Saturday, May 08, 2021

U.S. Army & Navy: Can the Budget Be Shared?

    There is always difficulty in U.S. military budgeting, especially when the branches are used to a primarily 3 way split between the Army, Navy and Air Force. The budgeting especially becomes an issue when a branch is in need of significant upgrades and changes that can supported through fiscal increases. The U.S. Navy is looking to expand its budget, but will likely receive pushback from a rival, the U.S. Army. Currently, the U.S. Army is attempting to make strides in modernization, although there is the possibility their budget will be scaled back for the coming fiscal year following Biden's official announcement. 

    The U.S. military branches can butt heads at times, but the arguments for Naval budgetary improvements are convincing enough that inter-service rivalries should not influence smart decision making. The size of the Navy’s arsenal has shrunk since the cold war, as in 1996 the number of ships in naval piers were at 375 compared to the estimated 271 ships in 2015. Given the increase in China's naval forces, there is more reason than ever to increase ship building and re-vitalize the Navy's arsenal and fleet. As the Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts were fought and led primarily in ground-centric combat by the U.S. Army, experts argue the next major conflicts with be sea-based and likely involve the rising Navy rival, China.

    The shortcomings of Army developments such as the Future Combat System program, an 8 year long wasteful program that cost an estimated $18 million in taxpayer dollars, are reason enough for military critics to justify focusing the budget towards Navy improvements. Should the Army's wasted funds have been put towards a naval effort, over a dozen new hulls could have been constructed and shipbuilding improvements could be well underway. Critics have pointed out that the Navy still sees issues in using their vessels properly however, one example being the Zumwalt-class destroyer which is being underproduced and struggling to pair suitable ammunition with its guns. 

    No military branch is without its flaws, and budget increases may not necessarily solve all these problems. Analysis suggests however that the Navy is deserving of at least a little more fiscal attention. Ultimately, this will all depend on what the Biden administration approves for the coming year. 

No comments: