AUSA Pushes for Defense Budget ‘As Soon as Possible’

AUSA Pushes for Defense Budget ‘As Soon as Possible’

US Capitol
Photo by: Architect of the Capitol

The Association of the U.S. Army has joined with 26 other military and veterans’ groups to urge Congress to pass an adequate defense budget “as soon as possible” to avoid disruptions to service members, veterans and their families and the military’s critical modernization and readiness programs.

“Our nation faces many threats, and our uniformed services operate in a very challenging environment,” the groups, known as The Military Coalition, write in a Sept. 26 letter to Senate and House leaders.

“From responding to Russia’s unprovoked invasion of Ukraine, China’s aggression in the Indo-Pacific, as well as countering the malign activities of Iran and North Korea—the uniformed services continue to answer our nation’s call around the globe,” the letter says. “Domestically, without fail or delay, the uniformed services have executed essential support to civilian authorities during natural disasters of historical scales, and residual effects from the pandemic. The numerous fiscal demands are already exacerbated by inflation but would be even more so if appropriations are delayed.”

The Military Coalition represents more than 5.5 million current and former service members, veterans, their families, caregivers and survivors. It includes organizations such as AUSA, the Military Officers Association of America, the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, the Marine Corps League, the Association of the U.S. Navy, the Air and Space Forces Association, the National Military Family Association, the Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors and the Veterans of Foreign Wars.

If a stopgap funding measure, known as a continuing resolution, is needed, it should be a short one, the letter says. “Funding the government at last year’s rate diminishes national security and the capabilities of the uniformed services (both Regular and Reserve Components) by hurting readiness, modernization, and quality of life programs,” it says.

It also hurts quality of life programs, hurting those who are already serving and painting a negative picture for any recruiting efforts in an already tough environment, the letter says. Other impacts of short-term funding include delays for new programs and uncertainty for the defense industrial base.

“[Continuing resolutions] damage the joint force’s ability to prepare to fight and win in the future and impedes readiness to counter threats today,” the letter says.

The coalition urged lawmakers to “swiftly pass” all the fiscal 2024 appropriations bills. “This would provide the predictability and resources commensurate with the demonstrated need and the urgency that our national security challenges require, and our veterans have earned,” the letter says.

Read the full letter here.