As concern mounts within the Army about the impact of yet another congressional continuing resolution, AUSA President Gen. Gordon R. Sullivan, USA, Ret., is again calling on Congress to immediately pass Fiscal Year 2011 defense appropriations legislation that will fund the Department of Defense at levels higher than continuing resolutions allow.
In a letter last month to leaders in both houses of Congress, Sullivan said, “In a time of war, expeditious completion of defense funding legislation is absolutely essential. Our Army in the field needs timely access to appropriate funding. I ask that you focus your considerable energies solely on completing a bill that will provide an uninterrupted stream of funds.”
Further, in an opinion piece titled, “Get off the dime and provide the dollars,” Sullivan said, “I am very concerned that operating the Department of Defense by means of a continuing resolution rather than appropriations legislation will spell disaster for our military personnel.”
Sullivan notes that funding cuts caused by the continuing resolution are directly affecting the Army’s readiness; requiring fewer flying hours, cuts in training for home-stationed ground forces, contract cancellations (which translates into lost civilian jobs), multi-year contract deferrals including the Black Hawk and Chinook helicopters, and requests to Congress for urgent reprogramming to fund equipment needs for troops in Afghanistan.
He said, “This is not theoretical, this is real-world. It has immediate impact on our troops.”
Also, under continuing resolutions, new starts are not allowed and procurement accounts are frozen at 2010 levels.
Some of the services have frozen civilian hiring while others have delayed the issuance of permanent change-of-station orders to preserve greater funding flexibility.
In addition, the services have ordered bases to issue only short-term contracts. These factors will drive up costs at a time when the Pentagon is working to trim billions of dollars from its budget.
Sullivan said March 16, “We are a nation at war. Our Army must be given the financial tools that will allow it to operate efficiently and protect the men and women who are on the front lines fighting for our freedom.”