As the Pentagon works to maintain its competitive advantage over Russia and China, partisan gridlock on Capitol Hill could jeopardize its modernization efforts.
When Congress returns to work after Veterans' Day, they will only have 10 days to pass a spending bill before the U.S. military and the rest of the federal government runs out of funding.
To avert a shutdown, President Donald Trump's director of legislative affairs signaled that the White House is inclined to support another stopgap spending bill, called a continuing resolution, or CR.
"So long as the continuing resolution does not impede the President's ability to pursue his policies, the administration is willing to support passage of a continuing resolution with a December date," Eric Ueland, Trump’s director of legislative affairs, said in a statement.
But the Pentagon is sounding the alarm for how dangerous that temporary spending bill would be for military readiness.
Continuing resolutions provide funding to the government at the previous year's budgeted level. But that's problematic for the Pentagon, which plans its next-year purchases and training based on the higher level of funding it expects to receive in the coming fiscal year.
"The DOD needs sufficient, predictable & timely funding. Under a continuing resolution, the Department cannot continue the modernization progress made under the previous budget deal … The Department urges our Congressional partners to pass a budget at this time."-@ChiefPentSpox pic.twitter.com/H1yxGlubEg— Department of Defense