The US Army has unveiled its $178bn budget proposal for fiscal year 2021, which is slightly less than the $180bn received for 2020.

Modernisation remains among the army’s highest priorities with a 3% increase in pay for troops and a 2.9% rise in basic allowance for housing.

The proposal is part of a $740.5bn national security budget request, with $705.4bn of the total allocated for the US Defense Department.

Acting undersecretary of defence Elaine McCusker said that the budget includes $106.6bn for research, development, test and evaluation, with $3.2bn for hypersonics and $1.7bn for autonomy.

For 2021, the army will continue to concentrate on its six modernisation priorities.

By the end of 2021, it plans to grow by just 1,000 soldiers for an active end strength of 486,000. About 100 of them will be transferred to the newly created US Space Force.

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Additionally, the army national guard is expected to grow by about 500 soldiers and the army reserve will add about 300 soldiers bringing the national guard’s total to 336,500 and the reserve’s to 189,800.

In its budget proposal, the army is seeking $67.9bn in terms of operations and maintenance, which represents a $2.3bn decrease from 2020.

As part of these plans, 24 brigade combat team rotations at the combat training centres, including four for US Army National Guard Brigade Combat Teams (BCTs) will be funded.

The budget for fiscal year 2021 will pay for increased home-station training, extended one-station unit training for MOSs such as armour, cavalry scout and engineer, and the Defender-Pacific exercise.

The army also plans to pay for 16,000 guard soldiers and to prepare more than 50,000 reserve soldiers for deployment.

Research, development and acquisition will be some of the highest priorities in 2021 with $12.6bn of a total $34.3bn base budget request.

Director for Army budget Paul Chamberlain said: “The army remains committed to the six modernisation priorities it started two years ago.”

Priorities included in the budget are modernising the Stryker, Abrams and Paladin, and accelerating the modernisation of the Integrated Tactical Network and soldier lethality efforts.

Additional priorities include the development of the long-range hypersonic missile, manned ground vehicle, Future Attack Reconnaissance Aircraft and mobile protected firepower, among other programmes.

The army also plans to procure Hellfire missiles and rockets for the Guided Multiple Launch Rocket System and more than 40,200 Integrated Visual Augmentation Systems to enhance training and readiness of soldiers.