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2025 Defense Budget Request: Prioritising Readiness and Modernisation

The 2025 Defense Department budget request emphasizes maintaining operational readiness, caring for personnel. Along with continuing to develop a joint force that is lethal, resilient, survivable, agile, and responsive. Army Gen. Daniel R. Hokanson, chief of the National Guard Bureau, highlighted these priorities. In his prepared remarks before the Senate Appropriations Committee’s defense subcommittee.

 Importance of Timely Budget Approval

In his statement, Gen. Hokanson stressed the critical importance of passing the budget on time and avoiding continuing resolutions. Such delays, he noted, reduce buying power and negatively impact both readiness and modernization efforts. “”We run the risk of sending America’s sons and daughters into large-scale combat operations with equipment and formations that may not be fully interoperable with the active duty forces we serve alongside,” he cautioned, if we do not appropriately update our force design and equipment.

 National Guard’s Recent Activities

Last year, the National Guard was actively engaged in various missions. This  includes peacekeeping operations, homeland defense, and numerous training exercises. Gen. Hokanson’s statement highlighted the Guard’s response to disasters, during which they saved 476 lives. These efforts underscore the vital role the National Guard plays in both national security and emergency response.

Army Reserve’s Fiscal Efficiency

Army Lt. Gen. Jody J. Daniels, chief of the Army Reserve, provided a detailed account of the Army Reserve’s contributions and fiscal efficiency. Comprising 175,424 soldiers and 12,200 civilians, with units spread across all 50 states and five U.S. territories, the Army Reserve supports the total force with just 16% of its reservists serving full-time. Despite making up nearly 20% of the Army’s total personnel, the Reserve operates at a cost of just 6% of the total Army budget.

“The joint force cannot deploy, fight, and win without the Army Reserve,” Lt. Gen. Daniels stated, emphasizing the necessity of consistent, adequate, and predictable funding to maintain critical operational capabilities.

 Navy Reserve’s Strategic Depth

Navy Vice Adm. John Mustin, chief of the Navy Reserve, outlined the Navy Reserve’s capabilities in his prepared testimony. With approximately 60,000 sailors, nearly 150 aircraft, two SEAL teams, three expeditionary medical facilities, and almost half of the Navy’s expeditionary combat command and intelligence capability, the Navy Reserve plays a crucial role in national defense. Of the 60,000 sailors, 15,000 are on active duty.

Vice Adm. Mustin emphasized the need for timely, predictable, and relevant funding from Congress to enable the Navy Reserve to deliver strategic depth and meet operational mission requirements.

 Marine Corps Reserve’s Adaptability

Marine Corps Lt. Gen. Leonard F. Anderson IV, commander of the Marine Corps Reserve, highlighted the Reserve’s readiness to adapt and compete in an evolving threat environment. With 158 Reserve Training Centers in 47 states, Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico, the Marine Corps Reserve remains committed to maintaining readiness.

“Our commitment to readiness is unwavering,” Lt. Gen. Anderson declared, underscoring the Reserve’s ability to respond to new threats and the changing nature of warfare.

Air Force Reserve’s Modernisation Efforts

Air Force Lt. Gen. John P. Healy, chief of the Air Force Reserve, U.S noted that the Reserve includes 69,600 personnel, with 74% serving part-time. The Air Force Reserve budget request focuses on ensuring interoperability. Along with the joint force and continuing weapon systems modernisation.

All five leaders emphasised the importance of innovation, taking care of their personnel and families. Additionally improving talent management across their respective services. Their collective testimony underscores the necessity of adequate and timely funding. In order to maintain the readiness and effectiveness of the National Guard and Reserve components. Thus ensuring they can continue to meet the nation’s defense needs.

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