U.S. Military Warns Defense Projects Will Be Affected By Continuing Resolution Funding Measures
As Congressional gridlock threatens to prevent the passage of a budget for the fiscal year 2016, Pentagon officials warn that hundreds of acquisition projects contained within defense spending may be affected.
If a budget fails to pass, all branches of the military state that they will lose the ability to finish current projects or begin new ones. The U.S. government is currently funding operations through December 2015 using a continuing resolution.
Defense spending would remain at 2015 levels under a continuing resolution if it continued into next year. Among the 51 Air Force projects that would have to be cancelled is the nearly $6 billion purchase of 79 C-130 cargo planes.
Air Force acquisition chief, William LaPlante stated, “If we go to a year-long [continuing resolution], without any ways to change it, we’ll break that multiyear.”
Representing a larger share of defense spending, there are 400 Army projects that would similarly be affected, according to Assistant Secretary of the Army Heidi Shyu. Shyu stated that the planned purchase of 64 new Apache helicopters would need to be halved.
That all may not matter if the National Defense Authorization Act that the Senate passed yesterday is enacted. The NDAA would cover the defense appropriations for the upcoming year, but President Obama has threatened to veto the measure because it includes $38 billion in excess of what he would prefer to spend as part of a controversial Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO) fund.
The OCO allows for spending in excess of the government sequestration limits that have been in effect since the government shutdown of 2013.
Senate Republicans charged Obama with holding the country’s security in jeopardy for political reasons in light of his veto threat. Senator John McCain argued that passage of the NDAA was critical, “We as a nation are on a course to cut nearly $1 trillion of defense spending over 10 years with no strategic or military rationale whatsoever.”
Even if Obama does proceed with a veto, the Senate passed the NDAA with 71 votes, which would provide Congress with the two-thirds override requirement.