James Mattis: Budget Key to National Defense Strategy Execution

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James Mattis

Defense Secretary James Mattis has urged Congress to authorize funds for the Defense Department to sustain military readiness efforts and carry out the National Defense Strategy in the field, DoD News reported Tuesday.

Mattis, a 2018 Wash100 recipient, told House Armed Services Committee members at a hearing Tuesday that the Budget Control Act and continuing resolutions have done more harm to military readiness than adversaries.

He called on legislators to eliminate defense spending caps as well as provide $700 billion in defense funds for fiscal year 2018 and authorize a $716 billion defense budget for FY 2019.

The House approved a continuing resolution that would allocate $659 billion in FY 2018 defense funds and maintain funding for civilian agencies at current levels through March 23.

Mattis added that a yearlong continuing resolution would prevent DoD from paying service members by the end of FY 2018; recruiting 15,000 soldiers and 4,000 airmen needed to fill manpower shortfalls; and conducting ship maintenance in a timely manner.

Continued budget uncertainty will also ground aircraft due to insufficient maintenance and spare parts; diminish ammunition, training and manpower required for combat operations; and postpone contract awards for modernization programs, Mattis noted.

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