Defense

September 25, 2012

Comptroller outlines continuing resolution, sequestration

Karen Parrish
American Forces Press Service

The continuing resolution the Senate approved Sept. 22 and the president is expected to sign this week will affect short- and long-term Defense Department spending in coming months, a senior defense official said Sept. 25.

Pentagon Comptroller Robert F. Hale spoke on ìFinancing Defense: Strategies for Leaner Timesî at a Government Executive defense briefing series event here this morning.

The departmentís financial managers are accomplishing their mission of meeting war fightersí needs and can continue to do so under the six-month continuing resolution, Hale said.

The resolution will keep most DOD spending at fiscal 2012 levels, which are slightly higher than in the fiscal 2013 defense budget request, he noted. Overseas contingency operations funding, the ìwar fightingî dollars, will be at the fiscal 2013 level requested, he added.

But because itís not a full fiscal-year budget, the stop-gap measure causes ìserious problems,î Hale said; for example, it doesnít authorize the assistance mission in Iraq or allow for needed aircraft carrier overhaul.

ìWeíre looking at workarounds, but theyíre challenging,î the comptroller added.

The resolution also hinders contracting and production processes, he said. Bottom line, itís hard to manage under a [continuing resolution], he said. It puts another stress on the defense financial workforce and all of DOD. Itís inefficient and unfortunate. We need the Congress to return to an orderly budget process.
DODís strategy facing the resolution is to ìlook at workarounds until December,î the Pentagonís chief financial officer said. ìThen we need an authorization bill to give us legal authority, [or] the workarounds will fail.

While the continuing resolution will challenge department financial managers, Hale said, he has far more serious concerns about DODís health if sequestrationís automatic budget cuts take effect beginning Jan. 2.

A provision of the Budget Control Act, sequestration would trigger an additional $500 billion in across-the-board defense spending cuts over the next decade, on top of $487 billion in cuts already programmed, unless Congress identifies equivalent savings by January.

ìI definitely hope sequestration wonít happen, and I still believe thereís a reasonable chance it will not, Hale said.

ìItís clear what sequester does to defense in dollar terms,î he added. ìIt would cut around $52 billion [in fiscal 2013], and the cuts continue.

Equivalent cuts would recur every year through fiscal 2021, Hale said. He noted President Barack Obama has said he would exempt service member pay and benefits from sequestration cuts. But the rest of the defense budget would take about a 9.5-percent cut, Hale said, which would lead to ìserious adverse consequences.

We would see cuts in our wartime, or [overseas contingency operations] budget,î he said, noting that protecting warfightersí operating budgets is a high priority, so department managers would seek to offset such cuts.

But protecting wartime budgets will lead to cuts in training budgets, he said, and could, in the event of a future contingency, delay the militaryís ability to respond.

Civilian personnel spending also would face cuts, which likely would involve a hiring freeze, unpaid furloughs ìand probably more,î the comptroller said. ìIt would leave us with fewer civilians to do important jobs, he said.

Military families and retirees also will be affected if sequestration takes effect, Hale said: funding would drop for services from family housing and maintenance to TRICARE, the health care program for service members, retirees and their eligible family members.

Sequestration would also force officials to reconsider the defense strategy that had taken into account the $487 billion in spending cuts over the next decade already programmed.

ìWe believe the strategy is the right one for the times, Hale said. The strategy and the Pentagonís fiscal 2013 spending request are consistent with the national security challenges the United States faces, he added, listing Iran, Syria, North Korea and ìlonger-term threats in the Pacificî as significant concerns.

Hale noted that both the president and Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta have said sequestration would have ìdevastating effectsî not just on DOD, but across government agencies. And it never was meant to be implemented, Hale told the audience.

It was meant as a prod to the Congress to enact deficit reduction, he said. ìAnd we need Congress to do just that: enact a balanced plan of deficit reduction Ö that halts sequestration.




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 

Headlines July 23, 2014

News: Israel’s Iron Dome defense in line for tripled U.S. spending - Israel’s iron Dome missile defense system may end up getting triple the U.S. funding that the Defense Department sought for it in March. Ukraine asked U.S. for systems to counter Russian missiles - A month before the United States says a Russian missile likely brought...
 
 

News Briefs July 23, 2014

U.S. military deaths in Afghanistan at 2,194 As of July 22, 2014, at least 2,194 members of the U.S. military had died in Afghanistan as a result of the U.S.-led invasion of Afghanistan in late 2001, according to an Associated Press count. The AP count is three less than the Defense Department’s tally. At least...
 
 
Raytheon photograph

Raytheon completes key Air, Missile Defense Radar reviews

Raytheon photograph Partially-populated, full-sized Air and Missile Defense Radar array. Raytheon has completed two critical program reviews for the new Air and Missile Defense Radar, the U.S. Navy’s next generation integ...
 

 
Insitu photograph

Insitu demonstrates long endurance capabilities of Integrator unmanned aircraft

Insitu photograph Insitu’s Integrator unmanned aircraft recovers via SkyHook; the aircraft recently completed a 24-hour endurance flight. Insitu announced July 22 the successful 24-hour flight of its Integrator unmanned a...
 
 

NASA partners punctuate summer with spacecraft development advances

Spacecraft and rocket development is on pace this summer for NASA’s aerospace industry partners for the agency’s Commercial Crew Program as they progress through systems testing, review boards and quarterly sessions under their† Space Act Agreements with the agency. NASA engineers and specialists continue their review of the progress as the agency and partners move...
 
 

U.S. Navy selects Northrop Grumman for ship self-defense system

The U.S. Navy has awarded Northrop Grumman a $12 million task order for a full range of engineering services to continue modernizing the Ship Self-Defense System Mark 2. The contract has a potential value of $61 million over five years, if all options are exercised. SSDS MK2 is a combat system designed for anti-air defense...
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>