Much has been made of the fact that the new spending bill passed by Congress this past month has given the Defense Department both $10 billion additional dollars to help alleviate the shortfalls in its operations and maintenance accounts and greater flexibility than the previous Continuing Resolution in terms of where it can spend its appropriated dollars. More money and more flexibility to make sounder investment decisions … who could argue against that?
Obviously, it is a plus. But as yesterday’s press conferencewith Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Martin Dempsey made clear, it’s essentially a Band-Aid for what amounts to a bleeding artery. The Pentagon must still cut $41 billion this year from its budget; it remains over $20 billion short on readiness and operational funds; it is facing a shortfall of some $7 billion in monies needed for the drawdown in Afghanistan; and it has already used up 80% of its operating funds for the year with six months still to go.
Whole thing here.