Pentagon begins another fiscal year under continuing resolution

DOD photograph by Air Force Tech. Sgt. Brigitte N. Brantley

Chief Pentagon spokesperson Dana W. White and Marine Corps Lt. Gen. Kenneth F. McKenzie, the director of the Joint Staff, brief the media at the Pentagon, Oct. 5, 2017.

Pentagon officials bemoaned the fact that the Defense Department is starting another fiscal year under a continuing resolution.

A CR, as it is called, is designed to be short-term legislation that allows the government to remain open as legislators deal with authorizations and appropriations.

DOD needs ‘sufficient, predictable budget’
“The department needs a sufficient and predictable budget,” chief Pentagon spokesperson Dana W. White said during a Pentagon news conference today. “This week marked the ninth consecutive fiscal year the department has operated under … a continuing resolution.”

White stressed that in the past 10 years, DOD has operated under a CR for more than 1,000 days — nearly three full years.

The current CR funds the government through Dec. 8. “Continuing resolutions hurt the readiness of our forces and their equipment,” White said. “The longer the CR lasts, the more damage they do.”

White said it is imperative for Congress to pass the budget for fiscal year 2018 quickly and eliminate the threat of sequestration.

White said Defense Secretary Jim Mattis asked for this in his testimony earlier this week, and made the same point in his confirmation hearings in January.

Mattis has been consistent in saying,   “‘No enemy in the field has done more to harm the combat readiness of our military than sequestration,’” White said.

The fiscal 2018 budget request begins the process of strengthening the armed forces and improving their lethality, she said.

CRs affect programs
A major problem with the CR is the department cannot fund new programs, White said. The Army, Navy and Air Force had all planned to grow, but that cannot happen under a CR, she said.

A continuing resolution wastes millions of dollars in administrative costs “because you can’t plan,” she said. “So again, we want the Congress to be good stewards of the American people’s dollars and ensure we get a full fiscal year 2018 budget by Dec. 8.”