Continuing Resolutions Cost the Military Billions

Continuing Resolutions Cost the Military Billions

iStockphoto/The Fiscal Times

Defense hawks have warned that operating under continuing resolutions hampers the military.

“Continuing resolutions lock the department into the previous year’s budget for their duration,” Susanna V. Blume and Lauren Fish of the Center for a New American Security write in an op-ed for The Hill. “Planned budget increases cannot begin until the end of the continuing resolution(s).  Under these circumstances, the department can’t even plan to the end of the fiscal year, much less into the future.”

The Defense Department has spent about 40 percent of the past six fiscal years under continuing resolution, they note.

The uncertainty that creates is costly. Navy Secretary Richard Spencer this week outlined the costs to his branch of the military in comments at a U.S. Naval Institute forum in Washington:

“We have put $4 billion in a trash can, poured lighter fluid on it, and burned it,” he said, according to Federal News Radio. “Four billion is enough to buy a squadron of F-35s, two Arleigh Burke-class destroyers, 3,000 Harpoon missiles. It’s enough money to buy us additional capacity that we need.  Instead, it’s lost, because of inefficacy in the ways of the continuing resolution.”