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Leaders say stop-gap funding bills harm US military readiness

New weapons systems development, ship construction and maintenance, ability to compete with China all at risk, admirals and generals tell lawmakers.

WASHINGTON — For 12 out of the past 13 Fiscal Years -- including the current one -- the Pentagon has had to manage under a stop-gap Continuing Resolution (CR), where funding is frozen at the prior year's levels.

This never-ending budget gridlock sabotages the U.S. military's efforts to compete with China, stalls critical new weapons systems and harms overall military readiness.

That's what top officers for the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps and Space Force said Wednesday, in testimony before the House Appropriations Committee.

And now, there is talk, hypothetically, of possibly going to a year-long CR.

The Navy's top admiral said such a move would "misalign" billions of dollars, delay plans for 24 new acquisition program starts, slow construction and maintenance of submarines, and development of hypersonic missiles.

"A year-long CR will cost us time that can't be recovered," said Admiral Mike Gilday, Chief of Naval Operations.

The Pentagon's comptroller told lawmakers, under a full-year CR, the Pentagon would lose an estimated $24 billion in purchasing power overall.

"And it also incurs a lot of additional costs for the DOD, the Navy, when the government isn't funded on time," said Rep. Elaine Luria (D-Virginia, 2nd District), who serves as Vice-Chair of the House Armed Services Committee. 

She added: "So, I think that needs to be our number one priority going into the new year here in Washington. And we're already behind."

The Continuing Resolution that the federal government is currently using to fund operations, is set to expire on February 18.