The Army has detailed the potential $8.8. billion impact of operating under an extended stopgap funding bill, including halting nearly $2 billion in spending across 79 new programs and delaying $1.6 billion in production rate increases.
Documents provided to reporters on Thursday evening outlining the specific programs affected by the continuing resolution (CR) followed comments from Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy earlier in the day highlighting the “catastrophic effect” of Congress further delaying the approval of a defense appropriations bill.
“We’re concerned from a readiness and modernization standpoint. When we see how the CR ultimately falls out over the length of time, we’ll try to make the adjustment. But any further than Christmas and the numbers will start going up,” McCarthy said during a discussion at the American Enterprise Institute. He also said program schedules will begin to slip.
“Then you’ll have to day-for-day slips. You’ll have time you won’t get back for training events. You will lose training events. It has a catastrophic effect over time,” he added.
President Donald Trump late Thursday signed a measure to extend the current continuing resolution and fund the government through Dec. 20. A CR, however, locks in defense spending at last year’s funding levels effectively stopping the Army from starting new programs and initiating contracts to increase production lines.
McCarthy said the Army leadership has already informed its commands to reduce investments and expenditures by 2 percent in order to conserve funds in the case of an extended CR, adding that officials will have to increase that percentage if a budget is not passed before the end of December.
The Army’s documents detailing the CR impact note the effects will be spread across the service’s 31 specific modernization programs, to include $262.1 million in delaying procurement of the Maneuver Short Range Air Defense (MSHORAD) system, $228 million from preventing work on Land-Based Hypersonic Missiles and $378.4 million toward Next Generation Combat Vehicle efforts.
Under a six-month CR, the Army would see 22 new start programs delayed and $1.2 billion in production increases halted across 31 programs.
The production rate increases include $247 million held up for 15 more UH-60M Black Hawk helicopters and $285 million in Stryker upgrades. A CR through March would also postpone prototyping efforts for the Army’s future augmented reality headset, the Integrated Visual Augmentation System, by six months to a year.
A year-long CR increases the overall impact to cover 79 new start programs, 37 total production increases and 46 military construction projects.
Officials wrote in the document that the impact would include “upsetting current acquisition strategies for Extended Range Cannon Artillery and Precision Strike Missile, denying contract awards for the Optionally Manned Fighting Vehicle, increases risk to contracting Future Attack Reconnaissance Aircraft, and delays the Army from successfully integrating the spectrum of network operations necessary for defensive cyber operations.”
McCarthy noted an extended stopgap funding bill will place a hitch in the Army’s plan to move many of the programs across its six modernization priorities from prototyping periods into low-rate initial production orders over the next few years.
“When you have six, seven, eights years of continuing resolutions in a row, you end up breeding a generation of officers that don’t know what an appropriations bill looks like. So you’re breeding mediocrity in the system. Why would we do that?” McCarthy said.