The Army is being forced to sacrifice modernization in favor of readiness even as America’s enemies become increasingly capable, senior leaders testified Tuesday on Capitol Hill.

“Our competitive advantage we’ve continually banked on is decreasing, [and] the Army risks losing its qualitative overmatch in future conflicts,” said Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster, director of the Army Capabilities Integration Center. “With the 74 percent decrease in Army modernization total obligation authority since 2008, the risk to mission and soldiers is increasing.”

This risk is compounded by the growing demand for land forces around the world, McMaster told the Senate Armed Services Committee’s Airland subcommittee.

“We’re having a harder and harder time for the small force to keep pace with the demand,” he said.

He added that the Army is “behind in modernization against current and future threats,” and “we have no current major ground combat vehicle in development,” which is why the Army’s Abrams tanks and Bradley Fighting Vehicles likely will remain in the Army’s inventory for the next 50 to 70 years, even after they’re obsolete.

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Image courtesy of U.S. Army