Pentagon Asks Congress to Shift $4.7 Billion for a More Lethal Army
The Pentagon is asking Congress to shift $4.7 billion in previously approved spending for this year, with some of the funds going to provide more lethal gear for the Army, including night-vision goggles and long-range cannons.
In a reprogramming request submitted to Congress, the Pentagon’s comptroller also asks for funds for developing and fielding the U.S.’s first hypersonic offensive weapons and for projects in South Korea, including $81 million for the training of U.S. units rotating there and the transportation of equipment.
The annual “omnibus reprogramming request,” intended to transfer funds from projects considered a lower priority, must be approved by all four congressional defense panels to take effect.
One of the biggest requests is for $70 million as a first payment toward a $1.7 billion project to set up a Joint Artificial Intelligence Center, which would support both combat operations and business management functions for all of the military services.
Among the items for which funds would be shifted:
- $46 million to start a Deep Strike Cannon Artillery System technology demonstration program. It’s part of the Army’s Long-Range Precision Strike initiative, the service’s No. 1 modernization priority.
- $104.5 million to buy 3,609 pairs of new enhanced night-vision goggles that soldiers also use for aiming weapons in the dark. Army Secretary Mark Esper, a former foot soldier, wants to spend an eventual $278 million for the devices.
- $20 million so the Air Force can accelerate development and deployment of a prototype for a “Hypersonic Conventional Strike” air-launched glide munition, with a first test flight in late fiscal 2020. An additional $65 million is requested to accelerate demonstration of a land-launched version. Hypersonic weapons can travel five times the speed of sound, or Mach 5.