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Defense Secretary Warns Stopgap Funding Will Hurt US Military

By    |   Monday, 28 November 2022 11:22 AM EST

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin wrote to House and Senate leaders to urge the passing of a full-year funding bill by year's end, Politico reported.

Austin's letters, to be sent Monday, address the threat of an extending a continuing resolution (CR) to fund the Defense Department into the new year. The current CR expires Dec. 16.

"It is essential that Congress act now to complete a full-year, whole of government funding bill before the end of 2022,” Austin wrote to Democrat leaders, with Republican leaders being copied on the letters.

"Failure to do so will result in significant harm to our people and our programs and would cause harm to our national security and our competitiveness."

Austin wrote that the CR "costs us time as well as money, and money can't buy back time, especially for lost training events."

"Under the CR, Congress prohibits the military from commencing new initiatives, such as those requested by our theater commanders in the Indo-Pacific and around the world or in support of service members and their families at home," Austin said.

Austin implored lawmakers to "break this pattern of extensive inaction."

"We can't outcompete China with our hands tied behind our back three, four, five or six months of every fiscal year," he wrote.

Politico reported that Austin's letters were sent to Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y.; House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif.; Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., chairman of the Senate appropriations committee; and Rep. Rosa DeLauro, D-Conn., chair of the House appropriations committee.

While thanking Congress for responding to help DOD assist Ukraine and U.S. and NATO interests, Austin wrote that the country's "broader national security needs … deserve and require prompt action by Congress, as well."

The Pentagon in October released its latest National Defense Strategy, outlining a policy that calls for more deterrence and focuses largely on the growing threats posed by Russia and China.

However, the strategy also call for the the elimination of two nuclear programs: the B83-1 gravity bomb, which is delivered by nuclear aircraft and does not contain a guidance system, as well as the nuclear-armed Sea-Launched Cruise Missile (SLCM-N) program.

In March, President Joe Biden proposed $5.8 trillion in federal spending during fiscal 2023, with $795 billion for defense.

Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., rejected Biden's budget plans as a proposal heavy on "far-left" spending priorities but unacceptably light on defense spending at a time of heightened international tensions over Ukraine.

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Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin wrote to House and Senate leaders to urge the passing of a full-year funding bill by year's end, Politico reported.
pentagon, secretary, austin, letter, capitol, leaders
409
2022-22-28
Monday, 28 November 2022 11:22 AM
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