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Lynn Tells Senate Subcommittee Continuing Resolution ‘Detrimental’ to Readiness

Deputy Secretary of Defense William J. Lynn III, Photo: defense.gov

As Congress mulls passing another extension of a stopgap spending measure to avoid a government shutdown, Deputy Defense Secretary William J. Lynn III said the Defense Department would likely face a number of unknown challenges by operating under a continuing resolution.

“Since we’ve never had a year-long continuing resolution for defense, and certainly never operated under one during a time of war, it’s the effects we haven’t thought of that I’m more worried about,” he told a Senate appropriation subcommittee Tuesday.

The department has already weathered five months under a continuing resolution, which holds funding constant at the previous year’s level. But the CR has disrupted projects and puts the military’s readiness and its planned round of cost savings, known as efficiencies, in jeopardy, Lynn explained.

Before the subcommittee, he reiterated statements made by Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates that the lack of a proper spending bill for the current fiscal year is the “crisis at our doorstep.”

A continuation of the CR would mean a net cut of about $23 billion to the department, Lynn explained.

“It’s detrimental to readiness, to modernization and to efficient business practices,” he said.

Already, the services have cut flying hours, deferred maintenance and halted acquisitions programs, including for a Navy destroyer, a submarine and a Humvee vehicle, he said.

“The services have delayed 75 projects that affect our capabilities and quality of life for our service men and women,” he said.

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