The Army is Gearing Up for a Large-Scale War with Its ‘Big Six’

The 1st Combat Aviation Brigade, 1st Infantry Division providing air support at the 7th Army Training Command’s Grafenwoehr Training Area, Germany. (Photo: U.S. Army/Matthias Fruth)

Military leaders are putting new munitions programs into gear to prepare for a bigger fight. The Army, specifically, is canceling hundreds of weapons programs to free up cash for what it’s calling the “Big Six.”

The Army has cut or canceled 186 different smaller weapons programs to focus on artillery and surface-to-surface weapons and munitions, improving their howitzers and rocket systems, developing their next-generation combat vehicles, replacing their vertical lift aircraft, developing a military-wide communications system, shoring up their surface-to-air defense networks and finally, completing their future soldier programs.

All of these are to prepare for war with a near-peer military, such as Russia or China. By focusing on these six major fronts the Army is moving away from its counter-insurgency role.

The Army is now focused more on research and development, and improving its ability to mobilize in large numbers. Part of that will include strategic placement of munitions and how Army depots are organized in the U.S.

“This means having the right munitions – small-caliber to precision munitions – where we need them at the right time and the right place,” said Gen. Gus Perna. “That means we must first ensure that the capability we have here in [the U.S.] can receive, store and issue munitions in a timely, effective manner.”

“We know where they are going to distribute ammunition when the time comes, and we know what they have to replace in time of war. This is the first time this has been done, and I am very proud of where we are at” said Perna. “With that said, we have a lot of work to do.”

A U.S. Army Paratrooper during a live-fire exercise in Postonja, Slovenia. (Photo: U.S. Army/Paolo Bovo)

Perna credited the National Guard for doing the bulk of the lifting. “They are lined up to support us,” Perna said. “They are executing moves around the country as we relocate ammunition … where it needs to be.”

The Army expects to buy 5,112 Hellfire missiles this year, up from 2,309 last year. The Army is also upping its small- and medium-caliber munitions budget from $382 million last year to $508 million this year.

“The Army has had challenges with major defense acquisition programs in the last 20 or so years, because we don’t lock in threat, operating concept and ultimately material and have it all come together,” said Army under-secretary Ryan McCarthy.

“That’s where you see big weapons systems fail, is if the operators aren’t saying how we’re going to use it to prosecute a target in this type of fight,” said McCarthy. Each of the Big Six programs has a 1- or 2-star combat veteran as the lead.

See Also: Army Wants New Mortar Systems that Launch Missiles and Weaponized Drones, Too

The Army has laid out a five-year plan to heavily invest in those six programs. The long-range precision fire program is their top priority and will receive $5.7 billion over 2020-2024.

The Next-Generation Combat Vehicle program will receive $13.2 billion over the five-year course and the Army has earmarked $4.7 billion for the Future Vertical Lift program.

The network is the biggest expense and will receive $12.5 billion. One important aspect of the network is that the Army is building it in-house using commercial, off-the-shelf hardware and will no longer use government-led IT programs.

The Air and Missile Defense program will get a 90 percent boost and receive $8.8 billion over five years, starting with $1.4 billion in 2020.

The Soldier Lethality program also gets a 90 percent increase to $6.7 billion through 2020-2024.

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About the author: Max Slowik is a writer with over a dozen years of experience and is a lifelong shooter. He has unwavering support for the Second Amendment and the human right to self-defense. Like Thomas Paine, he’s a journalist by profession and a propagandist by inclination.

{ 56 comments… add one }
  • Roberto Martin June 14, 2019, 5:18 pm

    China and Russia are obviously clear enemies of the USA, but the true enemy of the USA are the members of the Democrat Party who no longer disguise their true identity of being Communists. We will never fall because of a foreign power; we will fall from within because of treasonous Democrats, but before we do that; gentleman, fix bayonets!

  • Patrick King March 30, 2019, 9:48 pm

    I have exported high tech, military grade items to Europe and East Europe that required US State Department export approval. Much security, time, and documentation is involved, only to learn the US Export Controled items are made in China. Corporate America has handed far too much of our technology to Communist China.

  • erika colnick March 23, 2019, 8:06 pm

    we have a opressive goverment its not freedom it’s the majority taking from the minority its not freedom its a bunch haterade drinking soup nazi control freaks that hate guns

  • Zhang March 23, 2019, 1:38 pm

    I strongly believe the USA’s greatest enemies, besides China, is actually the western half of the European Union. Remember that prick Macron explicitly stated that the U.S. was an enemy of France and Germany. If anything, the U.S. should be an ally with Russia, an actual Christian country, to contain China.

  • Robert Burns March 23, 2019, 9:01 am

    Well,who are you going to get to fight for this great country? You know these brainwashed little he/she liberals aren’t going to do it.

    • Michael March 31, 2019, 1:50 am

      I’m your Huckleberry…

  • Grantorino March 22, 2019, 9:06 pm

    Wow. The Alex Jones tin foil hat crowd is out in full force today. Some of you make the gun community look as nutty as the liberals portray us all out to be. “Pills are good. Pills are good.”

  • Chas March 22, 2019, 6:15 pm

    No l have not , Look up. Bull Durham And his work on propellant fuel

  • Chas March 22, 2019, 6:11 pm

    Look Bull Durham And his work on propellant

  • Joe March 22, 2019, 4:09 pm

    I’m too old so I will just stock up on popcorn to watch the fireworks.

  • JOHN T. FOX March 22, 2019, 1:59 pm

    TRUMP REALIZES THAT WAR WITH RUSSIA AND CHINA IS NOW INEVITABLE. HE CAN’T REPAIR THE DAMAGE OSOMA OBAMA DID FAST ENOUGH TO GET US READY BEFORE THAT WAR BEGINS!

    • Phil Whitehead March 22, 2019, 9:06 pm

      Unfortunately, you may be correct.

  • realspark21 March 22, 2019, 1:31 pm

    You want to have your head explode: China runs the Panama Canal locks through one of its companies owned by the Chinese People’s Liberarion Army(PLA)…China has a massive overt business presence in most central/south American countries…the PLA has a growing SIGINT and HUMINT presence in those countries…China has a large port and dockside in California that is essentially a giant Diplomatic Zone (Chinese Territory)…Chinese caches and personnel are ubiquitous in a variety of US States…Chinese personnel often confront or influence Chinese Americans or immigrants in the US…China has a massive intel and HUMINT operarion in the US…but but Russia!!!! Haha…ask some current or former intel folks who is the big bad guy….

    • Darrin March 22, 2019, 4:21 pm

      My head nearly exploded several years ago while at a LGS and watched a university student from China purchasing a firearm. I believe the employee said that non-US citizens are able to purchase guns as long as they have permanent residency here, along with the appropriate govt paperwork. It just struck me as wrong when I saw the individuals China passport along with the 4473 form.

  • carsten laubsch March 22, 2019, 12:32 pm

    nuclear powers are never going to go to war because it will escalate to Armageddon. NK has nukes and wouldn’t dare use one. if Iran got them they wouldn’t dare. They won’t even start a conventional war. They might pull some shenanigans like hacking or terror ops but can we say we haven’t done the same for decades? was the korean war worth it? was nam? was helping bin laden against the russians in the stan? The iranian dictator we installed? panama? Grenada? bay of pigs? all the other crap we do around the world? If the entire world became a giant communist dicatorship would they dare set foot on our soil with a triad that has enough nukes in each one to destroy life on earth multiple times over? The military industrial complex is a conspiracy to fleece taxpayers giving golden parachutes to generals that retire and become their CEOs.

    • PupEDog March 22, 2019, 8:03 pm

      Are you for real?
      There are enough people in the world that HATE us, and would not hesitate to use nukes on us!
      You’re dreaming if you think all of our enemies think rationally.
      Geez, your reply could have been written by Bernie himself!

  • Erick March 22, 2019, 11:35 am

    Everything I’ve read suggests “conventional warfare” is outdated, and only a few Western militaries fight and train this way. Did they ignore the lessons of Iraq and Afghanistan: technology and “big guns” didn’t wipe out the Taliban, AQ, ISIS, etc. They are still around and still fighting. These guys had little to no technology, most were illiterate, had little in the way of advanced organization, little training, ill-equipped, etc., yet, they gave Western forces hell and are still doing so. They fight “unconventionally”, which often ignores any advancement in technology or “big gun” weapon systems and their strategy.
    Russia and China are training majority of their forces to fight “unconventionally” (aka, small unit tactics [aka guerrilla warfare] similar to that of AQ, Taliban, ISIS, etc.).

    The US military spends very little on Special Operation Forces (personnel, training, equipment, etc.), but, they have been proven time and again to be the most effective in modern conflicts. Why? B/c SOF train and fight unconventionally, which is what every enemy we’ve fought has also practiced since the end of WWII.

    Today, we’re the equivalent of the British Red Coats standing in open field, lined up perfectly, and getting picked off by a bunch of ill-trained, ill-equipped farmers who hide among trees and fight “unconventionally” (i.e. American Colonial militias). The military leadership of Britain didn’t want to change strategy/tactics back then, and we know how that turned out….

    • Erick March 22, 2019, 2:16 pm

      Meant to add:
      For more info from an actual combat veteran on this issue, research Jim Gant. He wrote a paper describing his efforts in the tribal regions of Iraq/Afghanistan and formulated a strategy. It did not involve massive amounts of money, advanced tech or even a huge number of troops (it was based around ‘small unit tactics’ aka unconventional warefare); regardless, he and his Special Forces team achieved much with very little.

    • Michael March 31, 2019, 1:59 am

      Our military mission was not what you think and the CIA helped create the enemy our brave men and women fought against. the real enemy always attacks from within. Soft tissue is an easier target than hardened armor.
      Forget the lessons of history and at your own risk.

  • Eric Holder March 22, 2019, 11:05 am

    All very interesting. The only thing I can say is no theory should be discounted. Some of the “tin foil and tin hat” comments make me think: who would have believed that commercial aircraft would be piloted and used as missiles to strike skyscrapers? Surely prior to that actually happening people would have laughed about the suggestion of it. There are many events that have happened in recent American history that some may say “impossible, that would never happen”. The stiffest tree is readiest for the axe, unbending soldiers get no victories……..

  • JCitizen March 22, 2019, 10:39 am

    This sounds to me like a very smart move by DOD. Planners always make the mistake of trying to fight the next war like the last one, and it never happens that way. Looks like they are obeying the KISS principle, and that is very cognizant. I don’t see any civilian US takeover in this move – I don’t know what the comments here are talking about.

    Weapons procurement has many times been a budget and tactical disaster – with this plan, I don’t see how they can lose! Especially when they are procuring their own IT infrastructure. Have you ever seen the result of a procurement plan in IT in other parts of our government? Totally a disaster every time!!!! If the Army can skip that scenario, with this plan, I got to hand it to them for being very wise.

  • William Lynn March 22, 2019, 10:16 am

    I smell the price of commercial munitions going up again. I sure am glad I learned how to load my own.

    • JoeUSooner March 22, 2019, 11:16 am

      I agree with the likelihood of increased cost of commercial ammo (luckily, I too reload), but I don’t expect the increase to be astronomical. A guess of 6% to 11% over the next 30 months would probably be much more realistic than a prediction of 40%…

      Even a 9% increase would be bad enough in itself, but I don’t yet see Armageddon-style increases on the near horizon.

  • J Smith March 22, 2019, 10:12 am

    It’s about money and profit plain and simple. The war on terror money is drying up. low density troops with small weapons systems mainly relying on intelligence support doesn’t cost very much, nor does it allow big green to get in the fight on a large scale, generating opportunities for colonels and generals to cut their teeeth on. The former and current counter terror issues should have and should be dealt with with SOF and intelligence. But, since No one can support the lie that we need to rebuild all these “S@#thole places anymore. The new boogeyman to make money for military contract companies needs to be a new specter of large-scale threat. Hence Russia, when our real long term threat is China on so many levels, militarily is only one aspect.

    all of the senior leaders, 3&4 star types are all combat arms branch, they want to spend money on big ticket out-dated weapon systems. Ever see a SOF, Intel, Engineer, etc…general sit on the joint chiefs of staff?, or in HQDA past the 2-star level? Ain’t gonna happen. It’s always mech, infantry, etc…these guys are taught one way, they think one way and they plan to fight wars one way. Nothing changes. Every big program the pentagon gets engaged in is wrought with fraud, waste and abuse. Just read the news, whether it’s the F35 program, the DoD IT program, the Air Force refueler program, it goes on and on the fleecing of American taxpayers. Nothing changes, nor will it ever I don’t care who is sitting in the whitehouse.

  • phil March 22, 2019, 10:05 am

    What are we to think? We the people who love and will defend the nation if the day should come…BUT..we won’t even form a rally of millions in the capitol to demonstrate our strength. The globalists and anarchists think we’re asleep and not motivated to act if it becomes necessary. I believe its high time a group of our super Patriots form a plan to show the nation we are here we are prepared and here’s what we look like. ex members of spec. forces and the Seals would be great Patriots to get this done. Perhaps on the border somewhere.

  • al March 22, 2019, 9:52 am

    Nothing like an article such as this to bring out all the paranoid schizo’s with their foolish ramblings, the same ones we’ve put up with for going on 30 years now.
    I know a certain Major who just returned from exercises in NK, the focus of much of what the Army is now dealing with in terms of a large scale confrontation. He is directly involved in the strategy aspect of a possible conflict in that theatre.
    He would be perplexed and probably just shake his head at the idea of an ‘internal’ conflict and the Army’s ‘role’ in such a thing.
    As he has stated, his oath is to the Country and it’s Constitution, NOT to any Administration.

    • JoeUSooner March 22, 2019, 11:21 am

      Al, you’ve never served in the military, have you?

      • al March 26, 2019, 10:58 am

        Nope, but I know a great many who have and still do.
        Now, are you suggesting something derogatory about those who do?
        Otherwise, your comment is inane.
        And I’m curious as to what it may have to do with my suggestion of those who have espoused this crap for going on OVER 30 years now, the ones who in my estimation are silly paranoids.
        I ran a very large gunshop for 7 years, I got an earful of that nonsense, and it NEVER came to fruition, not even close.
        Makes me wonder about those fellas that bought all that survival food and stocked up on bullets and brass and so on back in the 80’s.
        What a waste of time and money, all for very silly emotions based on foolish thought process and paranoid idealisms.
        And there were those who profited greatly on it, and still do to this day.
        I just wonder what it must be like to live such a paranoid lifestyle. It must be exhausting.

  • Firegoat02 March 22, 2019, 9:33 am

    I have watched news that don’t hit the spotlight sense Obama was in office, and every-now- and then, there is something about Russia and China over -stepping bounds like building islands and maneuvers in the Sea of Japan, and around Alaska.
    There is reason to be concerned, I believe. My biggest concern is the traitors among us siding with Russia and China. You know, the ones who are trying to weaken us, by cutting our military (someone previously) and taking our abilities to fight as citizens and farther-more, the ones who want to divide us instead of unite us ( I’m sure with a little thought, you will know who they are).
    No mistake, war is coming eventually with our Country being weakened within.

  • Bb March 22, 2019, 9:27 am

    We sure wouldn’t need big artillary,and missiles to take over the armed citizen. I agree with Peter, the Liberals don’t even know how to use a gun let alone big ones.
    The threat from China or Russia is an issue and appears we are doing something to at least be in the fight.
    Politicians need to be on the front line, then we could send troops to do the job without political influence.

  • Ron March 22, 2019, 8:50 am

    Get ready it`s coming . lock and load. Then pray.

    • Daniel Braatz March 22, 2019, 1:34 pm

      Hear, hear!

  • Michael B March 22, 2019, 7:56 am

    As a an Army Veteran, I can assure you that, with an exception to the very few who just look to kill, you will see a mutiny of military men & women, when and if, and that’s a very big IF, they are ever ordered to mass against the civilian population. While it is always prudent to be prepared and vigilant; it is not the immediate challenge we as a Nation face.
    Put your tin foil hats away. Go back to your XBox and Cheetos before your Mom finds out you’re cutting school again.

    • Gregg March 22, 2019, 9:20 am

      I agree with you completely (also an Army veteran). Another point to consider – if they were planning on a mission to move against their fellow citizens, why are they moving away from a counter-insurgency role?

  • TJ March 22, 2019, 7:51 am

    Don’t know what the hell you read but i didn’t see anything about hollow point ammo or that their going to invade our homes. Don’t you suppose they are moving some ammo to the borders for our protection, and spending more on missile systems. They won’t be using them to shoot at your house Our military is there to protect us, and am confident that they will. Have 2 sons in the military and Damn proud of both of them. So you should get back on your anti schizophrenia medicine and quit worrying about it.

    • Day March 22, 2019, 9:09 am

      This just sounds like a sound Homeland defense.communication ,ammowhere it’s needed, nothing but useful weapons,dial back on unnecessary programs .

    • Grantorino March 22, 2019, 9:07 pm

      Absolutely right, TJ. There are some nuts posting her who make us all look crazy.

  • Ken March 22, 2019, 7:49 am

    I have to concur with HDD as well. There’s the very real possibility that they’re gearing up for conflict not with a foreign adversary but within against an armed citizenry. They’ve been subverting the Second Amendment since 1934. Perhaps the plan is to finish the job in the near future.

  • Ronald March 22, 2019, 7:09 am

    The American Zio-Fascists are preparing for one last all-out attempt for world domination prior to the inevitable collapse of their worthless dollar. Lets hope this bankrupt regime falls onto the ash-heap of history before it destroys the planet.

  • Dr Manarii Tane March 22, 2019, 7:02 am

    They better learn to fight without the use of satellites because satellites will all be disabled with EMP.

    • phil March 22, 2019, 9:58 am

      Thats the key. We need a hardened grid yesterday. If its not done all the tech in the world won’t save us! Stay alert stock pile and be prepared to defend the nation.

  • Riggs March 22, 2019, 6:41 am

    I think we are in a lot of trouble!

  • AL-G March 22, 2019, 5:55 am

    I agree with HDD regarding “Civil War”, US troops will be used against our own citizens to dis-arm us
    When that is done Russia & China will invade America. It’s almost as if our politicians are on their side!

    • BR549 March 22, 2019, 8:14 am

      They are.

    • Leonard March 22, 2019, 11:24 am

      I don’t think you’ll see many GI’s rushing to kill us in the name of gun control. Ex-military family and friends tell me that this is something many soldiers have discussed among themselves,and they’re not going to kill Americans. They may kill to protect the 2nd Amendment–along with the rest of the Constitution, but it ain’t going to be us they’ll be gunning for…

  • The SGM March 22, 2019, 5:31 am

    “Prosecute ” a target, I thought we wanted to engage and destroy.

  • Billy March 22, 2019, 4:19 am

    What about the death ray? Did they budget for the death ray?

  • HoundDogDave March 22, 2019, 3:49 am

    Makes me wonder if they are not actually preparing for the inevitable 2nd civil war here in the US. They can’t use all that hollow point ammunition they already bought in any international conflict. Are they going to purchase and stockpile more? Maybe they think as long as it is an internal police action against their own citizens they can dodge the ban on the use of HP ammo in war and use those stockpiles of HP ammo on us. I think I will forgo spending any more money on guns and ammo until I have bought myself some decent body armor.

    • Peter March 22, 2019, 7:13 am

      Get real. The US Army would not be gearing up with artty and the other Big Six weapons for a civil war. And don’t depend or think the armed forces would side with the liberals. There may be a limited civil war coming but it will likely be between the Constitutionalists and the Neo-Socialist now trying to take control of our country.

      • BR549 March 22, 2019, 8:26 am

        Great comment, …… but remember, we are still plagued with those treasonous politicians who are only capable of pursuing short term goals for immediate gratification, most likely with themselves and their corrupt cronies being the major benefactors.

        Not unlike the Bible (I’m not a churchgoer), religions at lest at one time had the potential to keep people with sufficient differences focus on a common goal. The Constitution did that for this country, but now, politicians have no loyalty to anything but their own avarice and not even the Constitution appears to be enough motivation for them to get their head out of their ass.

      • JEF III March 22, 2019, 10:20 am

        That’s the war I’m thinking we will start out in, but if the Neo-Con Fascist Left gets their way, and push Trump out of office, whoever they put in will likely order the troops on us, to prevent the extinction of Globalist ideology! they are already doing everything they can, in conjunction with Big Tech to subvert the truth, overwrite history, and program our youth from cradle to grave. They have removed iodine supplementation from our food supply to lower IQ’s, while simultaneously supplementing negative ionic compounds to fool our receptors, such as bromide, chloride, & fluoride! Obama federalized the school system to program the youth, generating the seemingly instantaneous rise in extremism. Those who can’t see it are probably hopelessly trapped in the propaganda and programming. Obama also brought in millions of UN vehicles, and there used to be videos all over the web showing the movement and stowage of them. The internet and social media has been weaponized to shut down conservative and constitutionalist speech, and prevent those who would search for Constitutional ideology from getting it. With or without our president, and perhaps in spite of him, the states are signing “red flag” laws, so all it takes is one person complaining that they feel threatened, and the police will take your firearms. The push to make it possible to catalog and restrict citizens’ right to conduct business, based on their social construct and behavior. This will be the literal “Mark of The Beast”! It is already active in China, and has been in testing against popular conservatives here! Study up, and learn the whole thing! Compartmentalization and ignorance keeps us bound, while full understanding sets us free!

      • JEF III March 22, 2019, 10:30 am

        That\’s the war I\’m thinking we will start out in, but if the Neo-Con Fascist Left gets their way, and push Trump out of office, whoever they put in will likely order the troops on us, to prevent the extinction of Globalist ideology! they are already doing everything they can, in conjunction with Big Tech to subvert the truth, overwrite history, and program our youth from cradle to grave. They have removed iodine supplementation from our food supply to lower IQ\’s, while simultaneously supplementing negative ionic compounds to fool our receptors, such as bromide, chloride, & fluoride! Obama federalized the school system to program the youth, generating the seemingly instantaneous rise in extremism. Those who can\’t see it are probably hopelessly trapped in the propaganda and programming. Obama also brought in millions of UN vehicles, and there used to be videos all over the web showing the movement and stowage of them. The internet and social media has been weaponized to shut down conservative and constitutionalist speech, and prevent those who would search for Constitutional ideology from getting it. With or without our president, and perhaps in spite of him, the states are signing \”red flag\” laws, so all it takes is one person complaining that they feel threatened, and the police will take your firearms. The push to make it possible to catalog and restrict citizens\’ right to conduct business, based on their social construct and behavior. This will be the literal \”Mark of The Beast\”! It is already active in China, and has been in testing against popular conservatives here! Study up, and learn the whole thing! Compartmentalization and ignorance keeps us bound, while full understanding sets us free!

    • srsquidizen March 22, 2019, 8:44 am

      2nd civil war? For that you’d need a Democrat president who’s got the guts of Abe Lincoln. Such a critter hasn’t existed since Andrew Jackson. No Republican will turn the military on our own people again because secession (what really touched off “Mr. Lincoln’s War”) won’t ever happen again. The federal government has now got all 50 states hopelessly addicted to federal money. The prospect of having all that cut off works much better than the threat of military force.

      • Nobody March 22, 2019, 9:35 am

        I don’t know where you live but in my home state we are self supporting enough that we don’t get hardly any fed money to begin with and they keep cutting it and wanting more money off the profits for oil and gas than we get. They might want to think about everything they will lose in the long run if or when that happens. We already have a petition to succeed from the nation if and when they outlaw guns and the governor has already stated he will arrest the federal officers when they cross the state line to confiscate or seize the weapons. God I love living in Wyoming

    • Pale Rider March 22, 2019, 10:34 pm

      The US never signed the article four of the Hague Conventions article four, which is where anything regarding ammo was addressed. The Military has also specifically argued successfully that HP’s do not cause undue suffering in International Court. It is fairly common knowledge that the US military has already stated we will be using HP’s from now on.

      Just because it’s often repeated BS, does not make it true or make you sound any brighter.

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