A failure by Congress to pass a full-year spending bill for the Pentagon would significantly harm military readiness, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis warned lawmakers Tuesday. If the department is forced to operate under a continuing resolution (CR) for all of fiscal 2018, DOD would not be able to pay for troops by the end of the fiscal year, recruit 15,000 soldiers and 4,000 airmen needed to fill critical shortfalls, or maintain ships at sea with the proper balance between operations and time in port for maintenance, Mattis told the House Armed Services Committee. The military also would ground aircraft due to a lack of maintenance and spare parts, deplete ammunition, training and manpower, and delay contracts for acquisition programs necessary to modernize the force, reported the Hill.
Mattis told Chairman Mac Thornberry (R-Texas) that the full-year, $659.2 billion defense spending bill the House attached to the CR for a floor vote later in the day would be “sufficient” to fund the administration’s new national defense strategy. But without that level of funding, “the strategy would have to be changed,” he said.
Photo by Sgt. James McCann