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NEWS | June 20, 2024

Military Leaders Urge Congress to Pass Timely 2025 Defense Budget

By David Vergun DOD News

WASHINGTON - The 2025 Defense Department budget request prioritizes maintaining operational readiness, taking care of people and continuing to build a joint force that is lethal, resilient, survivable, agile and responsive, said Army Gen. Daniel R. Hokanson, chief of the National Guard Bureau, in prepared remarks before a Senate subcommittee. 

Hokanson and others testified June 18 before the Senate Appropriations Committee's defense subcommittee hearing on the National Guard and Reserve budget. 

The general's statement emphasized the importance of passing the budget on time and avoiding continuing resolutions, which reduce buying power and negatively impact readiness and modernization. 

"If we fail to modernize our equipment and force design adequately, we increase 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 said in written testimony. 

Last year, the National Guard conducted peacekeeping missions, homeland defense operations and training exercises. Guardsmen also responded to disasters, saving 476 lives, he said in the statement.  

Army Lt. Gen. Jody J. Daniels, chief of the Army Reserve, said in prepared testimony that the Army Reserve comprises 175,424 Soldiers and 12,200 civilians, with units in all 50 states, five U.S. territories, Germany, South Korea and Japan. 

The Army Reserve is "fiscally efficient," supporting the total force with just 16% of reservists serving as full-time support, she said in her statement. 

Making up nearly 20% of the Army's total personnel, the Army Reserve provides critical skill sets and capabilities at a cost of just 6% of the total Army budget, Daniels said in prepared testimony. 

"The joint force cannot deploy, fight and win without the Army Reserve," she said. 

The Army Reserve requires consistent, adequate and predictable funding to maintain critical operational capabilities, the general said in her statement. 

In prepared testimony, Navy Vice Adm. John Mustin, chief of the Navy Reserve, said the Navy Reserve has about 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. Of the 60,000, 15,000 are on active duty, Mustin said in his statement. 

Timely, predictable and relevant funding from Congress enables the Navy Reserve to deliver this strategic depth and meet operational mission requirements, Mustin said in his prepared testimony. 

Marine Corps Lt. Gen. Leonard F. Anderson IV, commander of the Marine Corps Reserve, said in prepared testimony that with the rise of new threats and the evolving nature of warfare, the Marine Corps Reserve is ready and able to adapt and compete in this environment. 

"Our commitment to readiness is unwavering," he said in his statement. 

Anderson noted the Marine Corps Reserve has 158 Reserve Training Centers in 47 states, Washington, D.C. and Puerto Rico. 

Air Force Lt. Gen. John P. Healy, chief of the Air Force Reserve, said in his statement there are 69,600 people in the Air Force Reserve, with 74% serving part-time. He said the Air Force Reserve budget request is crafted to ensure interoperability with the joint force and continuation of weapon systems modernization. 

All five leaders spoke at length about the importance of innovation, taking care of their people and families and improving talent management.



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