The Army Brief: Cyber worries, End-strength dreams, Arlington limits, and more...
Welcome to the inaugural issue of The Army Brief, a weekly look at the news and ideas shaping the service’s future.
Cyber concerns. Thursday’s confirmation hearing for Army secretary nominee Christine Wormuth became a venue for senators to air their cybersecurity worries. Wormuth seemed to agree. “I am greatly concerned, frankly, by the threats that we face in the cyber domain. All you have to do is look at the long gas lines that are probably happening in your neighborhood right now,” she said, in the wake of a ransomware attack that closed a major pipeline. Read our coverage of the confirmation hearing, here.
Army leaders drop end-strength dreams. Last week, Chief of Staff Gen. James McConville told House lawmakers that he’d like to add up to 70,000 soldiers, which would grow the force to some 550,000 troops. But on Monday, the Army’s top general appeared to surrender to the limited defense spending expected in President Joe Biden’s first Pentagon budget request. “Right now what we’ve done—at least, the secretary and I have agreed to—is we’re not going to grow the Army above 485,000-ish with the resources that we’re anticipating now,” McConville said during a virtual discussion Monday with the Atlantic Council. More, here.
Longer lines at Arlington. The pandemic has lengthened the time it takes for people to be buried at Arlington National Cemetery, from up to nine months to about a year, Executive Director Karen Durham-Aguilera told the House Appropriations Committee last Wednesday. About 5,500 families are currently waiting to bury loved ones, including many whose burials were cancelled over the past year. The cemetery conducts 30 burials every day, five days a week, which is the most they can do with the resources and capabilities they have, Durham-Aguilera said. The cemetery also expects to have the new eligibility requirements for burials signed by the Army secretary — whoever he or she is — by fall.
Sign up to get The Army Brief every Friday morning from Caitlin M. Kenney, Defense One’s military services reporter. On this day in 1942, Congress approved the creation of the Women’s Auxiliary Army Corps, which dropped “auxiliary” from its name a year later. The women served as airplane mechanics, cryptographers, and medical technicians at home and abroad during World War II.
From Defense One
Army Leaders Have Agreed to Cap Troop Size, Top General Says // Caitlin Kenney: Gen. McConville and the acting secretary have agreed the force will not grow past 485,000 active-duty soldiers next year. But can they keep it from shrinking?
Army Reorganizes Investigations Office After Fort Hood Review; Austin, Milley Signal More Changes // Caitlin Kenney and Tara Copp: The service will remove harassment investigations from units, but keep them within the military ranks. Is that enough?
‘A Lot of Risk’ in Army’s Proposed 2022 Budget, Service Leaders Say // Caitlin Kenney: As details remain under wraps, lawmakers fret about possible cuts.
What's In Biden’s First Budget? And How Late Will It Be? // Marcus Weisgerber: The White House could submit its defense budget request later than any administration in at least a century.