New voices have entered the fray, calling for Congress to pass a 2011 spending bill instead of a continuing resolution, which would threaten to disrupt the Defense Department’s funding and result in a cut of $23 billion.
Undersecretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics Ashton Carter urged Congress to pass this fiscal year’s long-delayed appropriations bill and warned of what the consequences would be.
“Each and every program manager in the department is having to upset carefully calibrated plans, stop or slow activities only to start them later or deferring the commencement of important new programs,” he said at the Aviation Week Defense Technology and Requirements Conference.
It’s also no secret that continuing resolutions are no picnic for government contractors, either.
“The result is not only delay,” Carter added. “It’s inefficient and uneconomical to proceed in this herky-jerky fashion with our programs and procurements.”
Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates said earlier this week the Pentagon needs at least $540 billion so the “military can “properly carry out its mission, maintain and prepare for the future.”
A continuing resolution through the end of the 2011 fiscal year (Sept. 30) would provide the department with $526 billion.
The other voice urging Congress to pass an appropriations bill may carry even more weight than DoD’s top acquisition chief.
The word from the (very) top — the White House — is that they don’t want to see a fiscal-year-long CR, either.
A Feb. 15 statement said the administration “strongly opposes” such a measure, with the White House even vowing to veto a CR that “undermines critical priorities or national security through funding levels or restrictions … or curtails the drivers of long-term economic growth and job creation while continuing to burden future generations with deficits,” the statement said.