WASHINGTON, DC - A recent CRS report found that “DOD has started the fiscal year under a CR for 13 of the past 18 years and every year since FY2010 excluding FY2019. The amount of time DOD has operated under CR authorities during the fiscal year has tended to increase in the past 10 years and equates to a total of more than 39 months since 2010.” That means that cumulatively, DOD has spent more than three of the past nine years operating under wasteful stopgap spending measures.
This week, the Department of Defense highlighted three programs that will suffer when the Pentagon is forced to work under wasteful stopgap spending measures. As Defense News's Aaron Mehta reports:
These three weapon systems will face delays under a short CR
By Aaron Metha, Defense News
As Congress heads toward the start of fiscal 2020, potentially under a continuing resolution, the Pentagon has identified three key modernization programs that will suffer under the restrictions of such an approach.
At a press briefing Thursday, Jonathan Hoffman, the department’s top spokesman, said Defense Secretary Mark Esper met with congressional leaders this week to urge them to avoid a CR. However, that path appears unlikely, with the House passing legislation to keep the government open under a CR through Nov. 21.
Under a CR, budgets will be locked at FY19 levels. More importantly for a department which made modernization a key focus of its FY20 request, no new programs can be launched under the budget mechanism....
On Friday, the department stated that a one to three month CR would “disrupt major exercises and training events, affect readiness and maintenance, curtail hiring and recruitment actions, and adversely impact contracting negotiations.” But more specifically, it called out three modernization priorities that would be hurt:
Long-range hypersonic weapon: Hypersonic systems have been identified by Pentagon officials as a top priority for investment, with the various services looking at options. A CR “delays critical long lead purchases, putting planned delivery at risk; adversely impacting the ability to deter and defeat near-peer adversaries,” according to the department.
Advanced helicopter training system: A contract to buy 32 training helicopters (24 for the Navy and eight for the Marine Corps) is scheduled to be awarded in November; that contract award, and hence getting the program underway, would face delays.
B-52 GPS interface unit replacement: The venerable B-52 bomber needs a number of upgrades, with this particular system serving as the kind of under-the-radar impact that a CR would cause over the long term. A short-term CR, the Pentagon said, would delay procurement of “critical processing chips/circuit cards” and cause an 18-month slip in the program, which could impact mission-capable rates for the B-52.