For the Pentagon, stability and predictability are critical. Yet for years now, our military has been subject to stopgap funding and a string of continuing resolutions. This budget uncertainty exacerbated a staggering readiness crisis.
- Last year, Secretary Mattis said that making the Pentagon operate under continuing resolutions is “about as unwise as could be”: “It just creates unpredictability. It makes us rigid. We cannot deal with new and revealing threats. We know our enemies are not standing still.” (Defense News)
- General Dunford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said earlier this year, “That lack of predictability and that lack of stability in the budget has not allowed us to most efficiently plan and use the resources available to us.” He added, “The force … is very much aware of the budget debates, and it would be a very powerful signal for our elected leaders to pass a budget.” (Department of Defense)
It is good news, then, that Congress is nearing action on a full-year defense funding bill. It provides the resources to continue the rebuilding of our military—a $17 billion increase that is consistent with the National Defense Authorization Act. And if enacted, this would be the first time in 10 years that the Defense Department won’t operate under a continuing resolution.
Armed Services Committee Chairman Mac Thornberry (R-TX) has endorsed the measure, saying in a statement: “That decade of continuing resolutions and thoughtless cuts has sapped our strength and emboldened our enemies. This agreement breaks that cycle, shows Congress doing its job, and keeps faith with the men and women in uniform.”
Biggest Troop Pay Raise in Nine Years
Here are more things this bill does to rebuild our armed forces and support our service members:
- Fully funds a 2.6 percent pay raise for our troops—the largest in nine years—and increases total troop end strength.
- Funds the procurement of new equipment, including 13 Navy ships, 93 F-35 aircraft, 18 C-130J aircraft, 58 UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters, 13 V-22 aircraft, and the upgrade of 135 Abrams tanks.
- Funds research and development into new defense systems and technologies, including the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, nuclear force modernization, and the Ohio-class submarine replacement.
- Cares for service members and military forces with funding above the president’s request for cancer research, traumatic brain injury research, and sexual assault prevention.