The military’s active-duty end strength would rise by only 7,000, or less than half of the number the Trump administration requested, under the fiscal 2019 defense authorization bill the Senate Armed Services Committee advanced Wednesday night. The committee released a summary of the measure late Thursday.
The Pentagon’s request, which the House matched in the authorization bill it approved Thursday, called for adding 15,600 active personnel in FY 2019. Here is a breakdown by service of the end strength increases recommended under the two bills:
- Army — 2,241 (Senate), 4,000 (House)
- Navy — 4,000 (Senate), 7,500 (House)
- Marine Corps — 100 (Senate), 100 (House)
- Air Force — 620 (Senate), 4,000 (House).
The Senate Armed Services Committee offset the smaller end strength increases with an initiative to “modernize the 38-year-old officer personnel system to provide career flexibility and better serve the demands of today’s force,” with a goal of helping to better retain mid-career officers, reported Military Times.
The bill includes a number of organizational and management reforms for DOD, but none matching the effort in the House version to reduce spending on overhead by defense support agencies, according to the summary. One provision would redesignate the undersecretary of defense for personnel and readiness as the undersecretary for personnel and clarify the position’s role as the department’s chief human capital officer.
Photo by Sgt. 1st Class Russell Klika