Joint Chiefs Chairman Urges Congress to Avoid a Full-Year Continuing Resolution

A military general stands on stage
Then-Air Force Chief of Staff General Charles Q. Brown addresses the audience during General David Allvin’s promotion ceremony at Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling, Washington, D.C. Nov 12, 2020.

The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff has warned Congress of the damage a full-year continuing resolution would have on the U.S. military. The military has been operating at FY23 funding levels since the 2024 fiscal year began on October 1st. The current stopgap spending bill runs through February 2.

In a letter to Senate Appropriations Committee Chair Patty Murray, Gen. Charles Q. Brown said a full-year CR would be “historically costly to the Joint Force.” The administration’s latest national defense strategy labels China as the “pacing challenge,” but “we cannot outpace our pacing challenge under a CR,” Brown cautioned.

“A year-long CR would prevent the DoD from executing numerous multi-year procurement contracts that are critical to meeting our requirements in the lndo-Pacific; delay or deny investments in important modernization projects; and create a significant shortfall in personnel funding, ” he said.

While thousands of programs would be impacted, the biggest hits would be to personnel, nuclear modernization, shipbuilding and maintenance, munitions production, and other priorities for U.S. Indo-Pacific Command, according to Brown.

The Pentagon would face a $5.8 billion shortfall for military personnel, which would hinder exacerbate existing recruiting and retention challenges

Procurement of the B-21 bomber would be delayed, and a long-term CR could impact Columbia class ballistic missile submarine construction.

The Navy would only be able to buy one of two Virginia class submarines included in the FY24 budget request, and the service would be unable to spend 30 percent ($9.7 billion) of its shipbuilding budget under a full-year CR.

Multiyear munitions contracts would be placed in jeopardy, including deals for long-range anti-ship missiles, guided multiple launch rockets, Patriot air defense missiles, Naval Strike Missiles, and the extended-range Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff weapon.

Brown also cited another $1.3 billion in INDOPACOM investments that could be derailed if Congress fails to pass an FY24 budget, including funding for forward basing, sensor-to-shooter capabilities, long-range radars, new hypersonic defense capabilities, and various classified programs.

The letter urged Congress to pass a full-year defense appropriations bill, and to also address the administration’s recent $106 billion supplemental request for Ukraine, Israel, Taiwan, and other needs.

Forecast International’s free FY24 Defense Budget Spotlight outlines the impact of a full-year CR on the Pentagon’s procurement and research, development, test & evaluation accounts. The Spotlight will be updated with funding from pending FY24 conference authorization and appropriations bills, providing critical insight into the congressional impact on the FY24 defense budget request.

About Shaun McDougall

As editor of International Military Markets, North America, Shaun has cultivated a deep understanding of the vast defense markets in the United States and Canada. Shaun's perspective on defense procurement and budget issues has been cited in a variety of defense periodicals, including Defense News and National Defense Magazine. Further, Shaun played an integral role in the development of Forecast International's U.S. Defense Budget Forecast product, which offers an unprecedented level of insight into the Pentagon's acquisition budget. In addition to providing original analytical content for the U.S. Defense Budget Forecast, Shaun oversees an internal defense budget forecasting process involving Forecast International's team of skilled systems analysts following release of the DoD's annual budget request. Shaun is also in charge of managing Forecast International's Weapons Inventory database.

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