ARLINGTON, Va., — Speaking at an Air Force Association breakfast here today, the vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff expressed his desire for Congress to approve the proposed Defense Department budget and to not require the department to be funded through a continuing resolution.
Air Force Gen. Paul J. Selva told breakfast attendees this is the ninth year that the department has operated under a continuing resolution. The current continuing resolution runs out on April 28.
“This is the longest period in American history where the Congress has been unable to deliver a budget on schedule,” Selva said. “We’ve had the longest period in American history where we have not complied with constitutional budget order and we have the first administration in the history of the United States that has transitioned under a continuing resolution.”
He said the congressional authorizing committees have done their jobs — they have passed legislation giving the Defense Department the authorizations to recruit more members, buy more equipment, fund more operations or build more capacity. But the appropriations committees — the committees that actually put dollars to capabilities — have been deadlocked.
“If the appropriators do not fund the aspirational statements in the Authorization Act, they cannot become reality,” Selva said. Extending the current continuing resolution does not help much, he added, because it funds the department at last year’s levels.
Continuing resolutions are “destructive to the way we do business” at DoD, the general said.
Operating under continuing resolutions, he added, compels DoD to spend money on things it doesn’t need and prevents it from spending money on things it does need.