The failure of the last Congress to pass a budget is having some pretty serious consequences for the Army.
There are two ways the CR hinders Army budgeting. For its operation and maintenance accounts, the Army simply doesn’t have enough money to cover its bills. In its investment accounts, which include procurement, the service lacks the authority to shift money to the programs that need it.
To keep funding high-priority programs, such as the various efforts to help families cope with the emotional and physical effects of war, the Army will have to shift base-operations funding.
If the Army has to operate under a Continuing Resolution (CR), there’s the obvious problem that funding won’t go up, but continue at previous levels. At a time when the federal budget has expanded at explosive rates, the DoD is being told it will be the first department to suffer. That’s the usual pattern.
And there are two flavors of CR, the 30 day variant, and the 12 month. The Army has had to operate under a series of 30 day CRs for a while now. So basically they have no idea if they’ll have any money for more than a month. It’s hard to plan when you have no idea if you’ll have any money next month…
But the real problem isn’t the total dollar amount. The problem is the way the money is structured. The Army has separate accounts for various purposes. And under the terms of the CRs, they can’t shift money from one account to another. The article mentions funding for buying Humvees versus rebuilding some. The Army would prefer to rebuild vehicles in the fleet rather than buy new. But because the money is in different accounts, it can’t without further Congressional authority. And the problems with contracting for new equipment aren’t just limited to the Army. When the Army can’t sign contracts for upgrades and new equipment, they also cause the contractors problems. Boeing doesn’t know when or if it will get contracts for helicopters, so it either has to pay its subcontractors with its own money, or not pay them at all. That increases costs and makes the acquisition process more expensive.
The failure of the last Congress is causing direct harm to readiness. And there likely isn’t much the new Congress can do to reverse that harm. But it can fulfill its fiduciary duty and pass a reasonable budget this year.
Via War News Updates