Sixty-four UH-60M Black Hawk helicopters for the Army National Guard highlight President Donald Trump’s $718 billion request for the Pentagon.
The topline for defense jumps to $750 billion after adding $32 billion for nuclear weapons programs under the Energy Department.
Documents released by the Defense Department this week outline specifics of the 2020 budget request, which was released last week. Congress must still provide input and approve the request, which includes a $33 billion increase from the current fiscal year.
The budget calls for a modest increase in Guard personnel – adding 500 soldiers and 600 airmen to current end strength. That would bring the total number of Army Guardsmen to 336,000 and Air Guardsmen to 107,700.
In addition to a DoD-wide 3.1 percent pay raise, the Army budget also includes an increase of $26.2 million to support Guard incentive programs aimed at recruiting and retention.
Military construction projects outlined in the budget proposal include $175.3 million worth of Army Guard projects in 12 states and $117.5 million worth of Air Guard projects in three states and Puerto Rico.
The Army projects include:
• $12 million for a National Guard Readiness Center in Foley, Alabama;
• $12 million for an automated multipurpose machine gun range at Camp Roberts, California;
• $29 million for railroad tracks at Orchard Combat Training Center, Idaho;
• $12 million for a combined support maintenance shop in Havre De Grace, Maryland;
• $9.7 million for an automated multipurpose machine gun range at Camp Edwards, Massachusetts;
• $11.2 million for a vehicle maintenance shop in New Ulm, Minnesota;
• $8.1 million for an automated multipurpose machine gun range in Camp Shelby, Mississippi;
• $12 million for a National Guard Readiness Center in Springfield, Missouri;
• $29 million for a National Guard Readiness Center in Bellevue, Nebraska;
• $5.9 million for a National Guard Readiness Center in Concord, New Hampshire;
• $23 million for a combined support maintenance shop in Moon Township, Pennsylvania; and
• $11.4 million for a National Guard Readiness Center in Richland, Washington.
The Air Force projects include:
• $24 million for a consolidated joint air-dominance hangar/shops at Savannah/Hilton Head International Airport in Georgia;
• $9.5 million for a C-130 flight simulator facility at Rosecrans Memorial Airport in Missouri;
• $14 million for a F-35 simulator facility and $20 million for fighter alert shelters at Truax Field in Wisconsin; and
• $12.5 million for a communications facility and $37.5 million for a maintenance hangar at Luis Munoz-Marin International Airport in Puerto Rico, replacing facilities destroyed by Hurricane Maria in 2017.
If approved, the budget would also provide a new wave of tactical vehicles and aircraft to the Guard.
In addition to $1.2 billion for the new Black Hawks, the proposal includes nearly $200 million for 512 Joint Light Tactical Vehicles, with future plans to provide more than 3,000 JLTVs to the Guard in the next five years. The 512 JLTV would be enough to outfit one brigade combat team.
And $155 million would go towards converting 23 L-models Black Hawks to the V-model, with additional aircraft planned for future years.
The budget proposal, however, also lacks funding for some Guard projects.
The Air Force wants to shed the RC-26B, a surveillance aircraft flown exclusively by the Air Guard. And Army funding provides no immediate dollars to buy new AH-64E Apache helicopters, although future plans show the service plans to buy 39 new Apaches for the Guard in 2024.