Following a summer in which 42 service members died in accidents connected to a military readiness crisis, Congress voted to impose yet another continuing resolution on America’s men and women in uniform. This is the ninth time in a row that the US Military will start the year with a CR. As Chairman Thornberry pointed out in the Washington Post , “CRs… present a stark risk. Continuing to govern from fiscal cliff to fiscal cliff — as we have done for years now — forces the military to limp along on stopgap funding and would shortchange it over $60 billion through fiscal year 2018 compared with the bipartisan House position.”
In a letter to Congress, Secretary of Defense Mattis outlined the damage the current CR will do to the US Military. Instead of rebuilding the whole force after nearly $500 billion in cuts, the Department of Defense will, once again, prioritize warfighters directly in harm’s way at the expense of troops here at home. That means cutting critical training and maintenance programs. The damage includes:
- ARMY: At a time when only 5 of 58 brigade combat teams are ready to "fight tonight," the CR will force training for troops at home to focus only on mission essential elements.Important training for other contingencies and needed combat skills will not occur. Maintenance will be cut and the Army will defer buying spare parts.
- AIR FORCE: The Air Force is short over 1,000 pilots. Under a CR they will not be able to stand up F-16 training squadrons essential to getting new pilots in the air, further reducing pilot production.
- NAVY / MARINE CORPS: Eleven ships will remain at sea without needed repairs, because the CR prevents critical maintenance. This will force others to deploy with insufficient training, and slow the Navy’s ability to repair other ships in 2018. At a time when half of all Naval aircraft cannot fly, the Navy will be forced to exacerbate their readiness crisis by cutting flight training time for pilots.