WASHINGTON - The current Continuing Resolution (CR) expires at the end of April, leaving Congress little time to enact full year appropriations for America’s Military. A bipartisan majority in the House has already passed Department of Defense Appropriations for 2017. As the Senate considers adopting this desperately needed appropriations bill - or imposing billions in short sighted cuts that a CR would represent - the House Armed Services Committee has called for an assessment of the harm a full year CR would do to our men and women in uniform. The committee will hear in person next week from the chiefs of the military services on the damage of extending the CR.
Here is what the Services have already told the Committee:
We will break faith with service members and their families: Expected pay will be cut and deployments will be announced last minute, which will cause serious disruption to military families.
The Air Force and Navy will be forced to break faith with Airmen, Sailors, and their families-- cutting their income by denying promised bonuses and delaying moves between assignments from the summer to the heart of the school year.
The Armed Forces will get even smaller: America’s military is already at historically low levels and is critically-undermanned. A year-long CR will force the military to get rid of thousands of service members and cancel the induction of thousands more.
- One way or another, the Marine Corps will have to get rid of over 2,000 Marines. The Navy will halt the accession of 1,000 Sailors. The Air Force will halt the accession of 2,000 airmen.
- The Air Force will be unable to retain pilots at a time when the Air Force is already 1,500 pilots short.
Critical training will stop: Even war fighters deploying around the world will be denied the training they need to accomplish their mission safely. It is impossible to make up for deferred training.
- All but one active deploying Army ground unit will cease all meaningful training after July 15th. This includes units slated to deploy to Korea and Europe.
- Navy flight training cuts will result in squadrons having 20-30% fewer qualified pilots than they require.
Squadrons will stop flying and ships will stop sailing: Years of defense cuts have reduced aircraft and ship availability, leaving the military ill-equipped to absorb more cuts without operational impact.
- The Air Force may have to ground all non-deploying squadrons on May 1st, while delaying maintenance on other aircraft -- further eroding readiness at time when the Air Force is already struggling to meet operational demands.
- The Navy will ground four of the nine non-deployed carrier air wings.
- Three ships will not be deployed, creating gaps in Europe and the Middle East.
- The Marine Corps will cease flight operations in the United States in July.
We will do lasting damage to military readiness: The services, already struggling to maintain a ready force with insufficient resources, will be unable to avert lasting damage to the military.
- Today, over half of Navy aircraft cannot fly. In a year-long CR, only one third of all Navy Aircraft will be fully mission-capable.
- Navy will cancel or delay critical repairs on 14 ships, including carriers and submarines.
- The Marine Corps will run the risk of having too few munitions to respond to a crisis.