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Army braces for ‘severe impacts’ as Congress struggles to pass budget

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  • The US Army, like the other service branches, faces the possibility of an extended continuing resolution due to Congress’ inability to pass a budget.
  • The Army anticipates “severe impacts in all six of modernization priorities,” Army documents obtained by Business Insider revealed.
  • The service says $8.8 billion could be affected by a year-long CR, affecting 79 new start investments valued at $1.9 billion, 37 production rate increases valued at $1.6 billion, 46 military construction projects valued at $1.9 billion, a planned increase of $2.8 billion for operations and maintenance, and an added $600 million for military personnel expenses.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Congress is running out of time to reach a budget deal, and the US Army is bracing for “severe impacts” to its modernization and readiness plans as the threat of an extended continuing resolution looms large on the horizon.

“We all know that we are currently under a CR, and it’s possible that the CR gets extended — we don’t know for how long,” Army Vice Chief of Staff Gen. Joseph Martin told reporters Wednesday, adding that “our adversaries that exist around the world probably are not operating under the same constraints.”

The Army is undergoing its largest modernization in more than four decades as it shifts its focus to great-power competition, but these efforts are at risk with Congress at impasse and the deadline for passing the annual National Defense Authorization Act only weeks away.

The Army would “experience severe impacts in all six modernization priorities,” Army documents obtained by Business Insider revealed, referencing the Army’s plans to achieve advancements in long-range precision fires, next-generation combat vehicles, future vertical lift, network capabilities, air and missile defense, and soldier lethality.

In the event of a six-month CR, the Army anticipates delays to 31 planned production rate increases, putting programs like the Black Hawk helicopter and Stryker armored vehicle upgrades at risk.

The service would also likely see delays in the procurement of new Assured-Navigation, Positioning, and Timing capabilities, as well as postponed development of the Individual Visual Augmentation System, a next-generation heads up display for soldiers.

“If you get to a year-long CR, it’ll probably be easier to lay out the things that won’t be impacted than it would be to lay out the things that will,” Gen. John Murray, head of Army Futures Command, told Business Insider earlier this week. “It’s going to impact across the board.”

If the Army is forced to continue operating at fiscal year 2019 spending levels throughout fiscal year 2020, 79 new start investments valued at $1.9 billion, 37 production rate increases valued at $1.6 billion, 46 military construction projects valued at $1.9 billion, an increase of $2.8 billion for operations and maintenance, and an additional $600 million in military personnel funding will all be affected, documents listing endangered Army programs revealed.

The Army expects delayed procurement of the Maneuver Short Ranger Air Defense system, as well as impacts on the development of land-based hypersonic missiles and next-generation combat vehicles.

In the documents obtained by Business Insider, the Army noted that programs like the Extended Range Cannon Artillery, Precision Strike Missile, and even the conceptual Strategic Long Range Cannon, key projects for the Army’s top long-range precision fires priority, will be put at risk, along with plans for the Future Attack Reconnaissance Aircraft, the Optionally Manned Fighting Vehicle, and Army network operations.

Beyond the disruption of the Army’s modernization efforts, a year-long CR will “hamper recruiting and retention incentives” by reducing active-duty and reserve component entitlements by $597 million, assuming Congress does not allow for bonuses and special pay in CR legislation.

If lawmakers fail to pass a budget, it will also result in the Army being unable to award 4,400 new family and single-soldier dwellings and delay maintenance and repair of more than 250 Army family housing units.

The Army reports that $8.8 billion in its fiscal year 2020 budget request will be impacted.

The CR, service documents explained, “disrupts major training exercises and events, slows the growth of readiness and execution of maintenance, curtails hiring and recruitment actions, and adversely impacts contracting negotiations.”

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