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1,000 days of continuing resolutions in 10 years




Continuing resolutions are no way to fund the military. Mackenzie Eaglen highlights just one of the ways that the routine use of CRs had disrupted military planning:

[B]y injecting uncertainty into every process, these spending freezes create significant sums of financial and personnel waste through duplication of work, higher prices, and contracting delays. The military awards hundreds of thousands of contracts every year. Missed deadlines for contract awards cause negotiations to reopen and contractors to add in a premium for the cost of doing business with such a fickle customer. In 2017, Secretary of the Navy Richard Spencer likened the inefficiencies of CRs to putting billions of dollars of taxpayer money in trash cans and setting it on fire.

Before 2019, the Pentagon started every fiscal year on at least at 3-month CR. The military has adapted to this reality by essentially delaying all of its contracts scheduled for October, November, and December. Look no further than the flurry of major weapons contracts awarded in late winter and spring. However, this means that the Pentagon only has 9 months (or less) in which to do 12 months’ worth of work. That creates significant waste at year’s end, when the Pentagon rushes to finish its work and awards a disproportionate amount of contracts […].

Testifying in February 2018 on the effects of a six-month CR in 2018 and the potential for continued adherence to the Budget Control Act cap levels, former Secretary Mattis concluded, “No enemy in the field has done as much to harm the readiness of the U.S. military than the combined impact of the Budget Control Act’s defense spending caps, worsened by operating for 10 of the last 11 years under continuing resolutions of varied and unpredictable duration.”

[Mackenzie Eaglen, “1,000 Days of Continuing Resolutions in 10 years,” American Enterprise Institute, June 10]


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