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DEFENSE COMMUNITIES 360

Shutdown or no Shutdown, CR is Harming Readiness

  • March 1, 2011
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The Defense Department would be forced to furlough up to half of its civilian workforce in the event of a government-wide shutdown, Deputy Defense Secretary William Lynn III told the Senate Defense Appropriations Subcommittee Tuesday.

But even if lawmakers avert a shutdown but still fail to pass a full-year fiscal 2011 spending bill for the Pentagon, the military’s readiness will suffer, and its modernization and efficiency initiatives will be put at risk, Lynn said, according to the American Forces Press Service.

The federal government has been operating under a continuing resolution for the first five months of FY 2011, providing DOD $23 billion less than the $549 billion the department requested. The military has been forced to cut flying hours, defer equipment maintenance and stop acquisition programs.

“The services have delayed 75 projects that affect our capabilities and quality of life for our service men and women,” he said. As a result, DOD officials have to shift funds from training, maintenance and acquisition accounts to pay “must-pay” bills such as salaries and healthcare coverage.

The deputy defense secretary’s comments come as lawmakers are on the verge of approving one more short-term continuing resolution, with the latest most likely permitting the government to stay open through March 18.

“In our view, this is not a workable situation,” he said.

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