AUSA Pushes for Defense Budget

AUSA Pushes for Defense Budget

US Capitol
Photo by: Architect of the Capitol

The Association of the U.S. Army, joined by four other military associations, is calling on Congress to pass the fiscal year 2024 defense appropriations bill before the current stopgap funding expires March 22.

“Our nation faces numerous threats, and our service members operate in one of the most complex and challenging security environments in decades. From Chinese aggression and growing North Korean capabilities in the Indo-Pacific, to the crisis in the Middle East, the Russian invasion of Ukraine and the escalating threat of terrorism, our nation’s interests and its security are at risk,” the associations say in the March 15 letter to the top four leaders of the Senate and the House of Representatives.

“Domestic emergencies like wildfires and floods frequently also require service members to execute critical missions in support of civilian authorities. This makes sufficient and timely funding vital to national security and to the well-being of our service members and their families,” the letter states.

The Army and the other services have been operating under stopgap funding measures, known as continuing resolutions, since the Oct. 1 start of fiscal 2024. The current continuing resolution expires March 22.

“A full-year Continuing Resolution (CR) harms national security, the Armed Forces, our service members and military families, and is a wasteful use of taxpayer dollars,” the letter states. “We also ask that you swiftly provide additional funding to the Army and the Department of Defense (DoD) commensurate with the stark threats facing our nation and the responsibilities the Armed Forces are shouldering across the globe.”

In addition to impacts on readiness, training and quality of life programs for troops and their families, a continuing resolution is a “wasteful use of resources,” says the letter signed by retired Gen. Bob Brown, AUSA president and CEO.

“As has been demonstrated by the conflicts in Europe and the Middle East, significant investment in the industrial base is required to ensure that our service members always have what they need to accomplish overmatch in a protracted high-end conflict,” the letter states. “A CR jeopardizes that.”

In the letter, Brown is joined by retired Air Force Master Sgt. Daniel Reilly, president of the Enlisted Association of the National Guard of the United States; Stuart Bradin, president and CEO of the Global Special Operations Forces Foundation; retired Maj. Gen. Francis McGinn, president of the National Guard Association of the United States; and Cara Rinkoff, national executive director of the U.S. Army Warrant Officers Association.

“The image of the United States stumbling from one self-inflicted fiscal crisis to another while failing to provide timely and sufficient funding to its Armed Forces during a period of unprecedented conflict and competition surely reduces our security and global standing,” the letter states. “Our allies and partners are watching and are not reassured. Our adversaries, however, are emboldened by what they see.”

Read the letter here.