Military Life Active Duty Housing

Army 2025 budget focuses on fixing barracks, recruiting

Army 2025 request funds more barracks but current projects are hamstrung by Congresses inability to pass 2024 budget
Patty Nieberg Avatar
The Army is planning to go big on barracks, TV ads for recruiting and more money for child care as part of its $185.9 billion budget request for Fiscal Year 2025. Photo by Spc. Vincent Levelev

The Army is planning to go big on barracks, TV ads for recruiting and more money for child care as part of its $185.9 billion budget request for Fiscal Year 2025 as it waits for Congress to approve this year’s defense spending plan.

The Army is requesting a budget of $185.9 billion for Fiscal Year 2025, even as the 2024 budget is hung up in Congress. Congress passed its fourth Continuing Resolution on Friday to avoid a government shutdown and keep the government open, including paychecks and operating funds for the entire military.

According to the Army, five barracks projects and four family housing projects that were fully funded in the 2024 budget cannot begin under the continuing resolution.

With the latest budget, the Army will begin investing an average of $2.1 billion per year in barracks, Gabe Camarillo, Under Secretary of the Army, said at a briefing with reporters ahead of the budget request release. 

The Fiscal Year 2024 budget “featured only a limited number of projects that at the time were ready in terms of fully funding the planning and design,” Camarillo said. “This year we had more because we had invested previously to make sure that those were ready.”

The Army’s Fiscal Year 2025 request includes $935 million to build nice barracks projects including seven for active duty and two Army reserves, $750 million for restoration and modernization and $680 million for barracks sustainment. Army officials noted that this is the first year that the service is planning to fund barracks sustainment at 100%.


Subscribe to Task & Purpose today. Get the latest military news and culture in your inbox daily.

The request comes after a damning Government Accountability Office report from September which found dire conditions for junior enlisted troops living in barracks with “serious health and safety risks.” 

The Fiscal Year 2025 budget request also adds civilian barracks management and oversight staff and leverages the Army’s engineers as experts in the planning and design process to “stabilize project cost growth” for housing plans. 

Recruiting

The 2025 budget request also invests billions of dollars into the service’s trouble with recruiting new soldiers as the service attempts to reach an end strength of 442,300 active duty – around 10,000 less than the service planned for last year.

Instead of focusing on recent high school graduates, the Army wants to include “young people who have some college experience or have not recently graduated from high school, but maybe two or three years out of high school,” Camarillo said.

Due to the Army’s recruitment woes, the service stood up its Future Soldier Prep Course in August 2022 and plans to expand it in 2025. Since its inception, the program has created more than 16,600 new soldiers at a 95% graduation rate, according to budget documents.

The Army is also asking for $640 million for advertising, a key for the service’s ability to get the message out to potential recruits. Camarillo called it a “significant investment” not only in the Army’s national advertising campaign, but also in local and regional marketing campaigns to ensure “that we drive up interest in joining the Army from different population centers, different cross-sections of the country.”

“We do recognize across all three components of the Army, active, guard, and reserve, that there is a need to make sure that we are funding marketing and advertising to be able to penetrate the market and to help convince not only America’s youth, but influencers that the Army is an employer of choice,” Camarillo said. 

Camarillo also noted that Congress’s inability to pass a budget makes it harder for the service to plan media buys for recruitment content early in the year. 

“Anybody who’s done marketing and advertising knows that the earlier you can place your buy, the more inexpensive it will be,” he said. “I think just having to cash flow a lot of those operations has been a real challenge.”

Other Army budget highlights

  • Increases Army fee assistance for childcare to $1,800 per child every month
  • More than $460 million for Army Pacific’s Operation Pathways exercises with allies and partners in the Indo Pacific 
  • Funds for 11 exercises in the Pacific – two more than last year
  • Increases funding for training and equipping partner forces in counter-ISIS missions by more than $130 million from Fiscal Year 2024
  • Implements unit level wellness checks as a form of non-medical counseling
  • Leverages tele-behavioral health at locations with clinician shortages in Alaska and Korea
  • Fielding the “Holistic Health and Fitness system” H2F to 15 active duty brigades
    • Includes a pilot program using human performance software, CoachMePlus, and wearable watches for data collection, tracking

The latest on Task & Purpose