Navy: Continuing Resolutions Caused $4 Billion Waste

As Congress faces the prospect of passing another short-term continuing resolution, rather than a full-year budget, Navy Secretary Richard Spencer told a U.S. Naval Institute forum that the practice has been costly to the agency over the past six years.

“We have put $4 billion in a trash can, poured lighter fluid on it, and burned it,” Spencer said. “Four billion is enough to buy a squadron of F-35s, two Arleigh Burke-class destroyers, 3,000 Harpoon missiles. It’s enough money to buy us additional capacity that we need. Instead, it’s lost, because of inefficacy in the ways of the continuing resolution.”

Navy officials’ statements have also indicated that the frustration extends beyond the significant budgetary waste and has actually played a role in situations that resulted in a loss of sailors’ lives, including this year’s separate collisions involving both the USS John S. McCain, the USS Lake Champlain, and the USS Antietam.

According to Vice Chief of Naval Operations Admiral Bill Moran, “For the past several years, too many of our ships, submarines, and aircraft have been parked due to maintenance delays and throughput capacity. We were not resourced to make whole what we already owned; we were not giving our warfighters the time and tools to build capability through their own experiences. We were making tough choices – often bad choices – between operations, readiness and growing the force. These issues and others contributed to the collisions because we took our eye off the ball. We were executing a full-court press when we didn’t have a sufficient bench to play the whole game.”

The frustration was not relegated only to the Navy. Air Force chief of staff General David Goldfein said, “Let’s be clear-eyes about how it affects me as a service chief when I have to go to Northrop Grumman and say, ‘I don’t know how many munitions I’m going to buy next year or the next year, but would you please keep your very sophisticated workforce with all of their security clearances engaged? And oh, by the way, I’m not going to be able to bring you the money until the last half of every year.’ That’s a real concern for me.”

Posted in From the Hill

Tags: continuing resolution, government shutdown, Navy

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