The Pentagon has run under a continuing resolution (C.R.) for defense funding for 13 of the past 14 years, but officials are warning operating under another one for the next year is a dangerous proposition under the current global circumstances.
Not only does the Defense Department need to support Ukraine with lethal aid, but it also needs to bolster defense amid rising tensions with other rivals with the United States, including Iran and China.
An internal Pentagon document warns the funding for the DoD under a C.R. would be cut by $29 billion from what President Joe Biden has ticketed for defense under his 2023 budget plan, Politico reported.
"I still have trouble believing that a full-year C.R. would be doable for us," DoD Comptroller Michael McCord told Politico from the Reagan National Defense Forum on Saturday. "It's a great threat, great threat.
"It would be a bad reality."
Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin already warned Congress about funding defense through a C.R. under the global climate of the Russian war in Ukraine and potential threats of China exerting force over Taiwan, or Iran saber rattling amid its burgeoning nuclear power ambitions.
"We can't outcompete China with our hands tied behind our back three, four, five or six months of every fiscal year," Austin's letter read, according to the report.
The government faces a Dec. 16 deadline to avert a government shutdown amid desires to pass an omnibus spending package.
A group of bipartisan members of the divided Congress say they support increased defense spending, but Democrats' domestic items are a sticking point to get Republicans on board amid the narrow margins in the House and Senate.
If a C.R. becomes a reality, DoD would be on the hook to file a list of must-have spending items that could be exempted from a C.R.
The items most in need are the new B-21 Stealth bombers, hypersonic weapon programs, and nuclear-stocked naval destroyers — air, land, and sea nuclear weaponry — according to McCord.
And Ukraine and the world cannot afford to be cut off from U.S. defense spending increases, he added.
"Ukraine is in a kinetic fight, and we are their No. 1 helper," he said. "If they run out of ammo, they're in a bad place."
All told, there are 192 new defense spending measures and 49 procurement rate increases, according to documents obtained by Politico.
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