Home » Budget Industry » Another Continuing Resolution Extension Adds BMD Spending But Risks Planned Ship Buys

Another Continuing Resolution Extension Adds BMD Spending But Risks Planned Ship Buys

USS John S. McCain (DDG 56) departs Singapore on the heavy lift transport MV Treasure, Oct. 11, 2017. US Navy Photo

Congress passed another continuing resolution to keep the government open until Jan. 19, inserting into the bill an additional $4.7 billion in missile defense-related spending but putting in peril a flurry of planned ship buys in January.

This year, Fiscal Year 2018, began with a continuing resolution, which was extended just before it expired on Dec. 8. Lawmakers then punted the decision two weeks, and last night Congress again pushed their tough budget decisions down the road by four more weeks.

In addition to extending the CR, the bill passed by lawmakers Thursday night and signed by President Donald Trump this morning adds $673.5 million in emergency funding to the Navy’s operations and maintenance account “for necessary costs to repair damage to the U.S.S. John S. McCain and the U.S.S. Fitzgerald,” both of which were damaged in fatal collisions earlier this year.

The bill adds nearly $4.7 billion for missile defense-related expenditures, including the McCain and Fitzgerald repair funds – both ships were equipped with ballistic missile defense capabilities and conducted BMD patrols in the Pacific – $1.24 billion for various Defense Department-wide procurement efforts “to detect, defeat, and defend against the use of ballistic missiles,” $1 billion for defense-wide BMD research efforts, $884 million for Army missile procurement, $288 million for Air Force “other” procurement to support BMD, $12 million for Air Force missile procurement, $255 million for Air Force BMD research activities, $60 million for Navy BMD research, $20 million for Army BMD research, $18.8 million for Air Force BMD operations and maintenance activities, $23.7 million for Defense Department-wide BMD O&M activities, and $200 million for construction of a missile field in Alaska.

Aside from those BMD spending lines, under the CR the Defense Department will continue to be limited to 2017 spending levels – meaning no new programs can start and spending levels for individual programs cannot increase – which is bad news for Navy shipbuilding and ship maintenance.

USNI News reported on Dec. 8 that “the Navy plans to award a $466-million contract in January for the second John Lewis-class T-AO(X) fleet oiler; a $76-million contract in January for a T-ATS towing and salvage ship; a $32-million contract in January for the LCU-1700 amphibious surface connector; and a contract in January for DDG-51 advance procurement on the Vertical Launch System. In June, the Navy would award a five-year multiyear contract award for the DDG-51s.”

Similarly, the Navy told USNI News on Dec. 8, in the short term, “the Navy believes it can manage the ship maintenance program without canceling any availabilities. If the CR were extended beyond late January 2018, the Navy may delay the induction of 10 ships, which will exacerbate the planned ship maintenance in FY18, and will slip ship availabilities into FY19, further impacting that plan.”

“Using tools such as split-funding contract line items and minimally funding Navy Working Capital Fund activities, the Navy has managed not to defer any availabilities during the current CR period. However, the following FY18 ship availabilities will be considered for schedule slip if the CR were to be extended through six months,” the Navy statement continued, listing at-risk availabilities for: USS Coronado (LCS-4), set to begin maintenance on Dec. 15 in San Diego; USS Port Royal (CG-73), set to begin maintenance on Dec. 22 in Hawaii; USS Princeton (CG-59), set to begin maintenance on Dec. 25 in San Diego; USS San Diego (LPD-22), set to begin maintenance on Dec. 31 in San Diego; USS Carter Hall (LSD-50), set to begin maintenance on Jan. 22 in Norfolk, Va.; USS Oscar Austin (DDG-79), set to begin maintenance on Feb. 2 in Norfolk; USS Vella Gulf (CG-72), set to begin maintenance on Feb. 19 in Norfolk; USS James E. Williams (DDG-95), set to begin maintenance on Feb. 19 in Norfolk; USS Mahan (DDG-72), set to begin maintenance on Feb. 19 in Norfolk; and USS Chafee (DDG-90), set to begin maintenance on Feb. 26 in Hawaii.

Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) released a statement Thursday night criticizing Congress for failing to pass a proper 2018 budget for the military, noting that “as we wait another four weeks in hopes that Congressional leaders negotiate a compromise, the military will work overtime to keep an already dire situation from getting worse. Readiness will continue to decline. Service members will not receive scheduled training. Ship maintenance backlogs will grow. All of this in the face of a world that only gets more dangerous and where threats continue to rise. As competitors like China, Russia, and North Korea continue to rapidly advance their military and modernize their weapons, the U.S. military will wait.

“The additional four week Continuing Resolution will have real consequences for the Department of Defense. It will prevent 48 new starts and 24 production increases. One particularly troublesome example of this is munitions. Earlier this year, military leaders all stressed the need to repair the munitions shortfall. … The extended Continuing Resolution will cause delays to critical weapon systems, as DOD will be unable to award contracts to systems such as the Guided Multiple Launch Rocket System or the Long Range Anti-Ship Missile,” McCain’s statement continues.
“In a time when more service members are dying in routine accidents than in combat, and our sailors are working 100-hour weeks, asking the military to wait another four weeks for adequate funding is unacceptable—and it is a dereliction of the first and foremost duty of Congress to provide for the common defense.”

  • leroy

    For all this talk about improving the capabilities of the Surface Navy my guess is much is still the same. Cut back on operations or watch the next accident take more sailor’s lives. If we can’t put up the manpower and ships, training, we have no business operating flank-speed around the world. That photo above of the McCain looks pitiful – and sends our enemies a serious wrong message!

    • DaSaint

      Agreed. Something has to give.
      Either we fund properly, or we make the hard choices and reduce somewhere so that we have the resources to properly maintain and train what we can deploy.

      It may mean less of this quantity DDG or SSN, or LCS upgrade, but something has to give. If someone we’re to tell me that if we could reallocate $1.7 billion from 1 less DDG to solve the maintenance backlog, then I’d probably endorse it. Or 1 less SSN for the same purpose, I’d have to think about it.

      • D. Jones

        Kill the LCS boondoggle and use those funds for training.

        Btw, why is the Navy still hiding the names of the OOD’s and watch parties on Fitz & McCain?

        • Duane

          Ridiculous. The LCS is the cheapest warship that we produce, and it is the most cost effective warship we produce and operate.

          Do you guys have anything else on your brain but “LCS bad”? Really, that’s just not a rational way to think.

          • Curtis Conway

            Your definition of ‘cost effective’ disturbs me. With the current size, and even force levels projected for the future, with the given environments in which these Surface Combatants will be required to represent US Foreign Policy, and back it up with capabiility . . . the LCS will come up short in far too many areas (mission sets, and geopgraphic locations). So I will agree with your descriptive statement in the first sentence (“The LCS is the cheapest warship that we produce…”), and finish my analysis with “We never want to send our forces into a fair fight!

        • Secundius

          LCSs aren’t going anywhere within your lifetime! In fact a Flight I version of the LCS, was Authorized and Funded in 2014…

    • Curtis Conway

      Finally . . . a righteous attitude beginning to review the situation through clear eyes.

      However, we still have Worldwide responsibilities via treaties, agreements, and security arrangements. We still have Unified Combatant Commanders that have Global Responsibilities, and they have been laying out the model given them, and the resources with which to meet those responsibilities, to Congress for DECADES with little affect and NO Appreciation. Those resources to meet existing and growing threats have not met the need since early 2000’s to date even with the current growth given the past draconian force reductions. That pitiful ‘lack of resources in the face of a growing threat’ argument and picture was made methodically over decades in the face of greater COCOM threat environments, while administrations and legislators just ignored reality (because of, or due to redefinition), and continued drawing down forces in spite of testimony by the Unified Combatant Commanders before Congress . . . as the slack was taken up with our well trained and motivated all volunteer force.

      Now we cannot meet our recruiting goals with forces of the mindset and dedication as existed with previous generations, and training and maintenance/logistical support accounts have been raided to meet operational necessities, and required ‘growth/replacements’ force-wide.

      The DDG-51 Destroyers (all models) are still the premiere Surface Combatants around the planet for any mission. That is why it is the most copied combat system on the planet, but can only be in “ONE PLACE AT A TIME” with that high employment/daily operational cost. Our Jack of All Trades (53 OHP FFG-7s with lower employment costs) have been withdrawn from service, and the replacement has cost too much, taken too long to come on line, and is destined to operate in different environments in which it was designed to operate (shinny Corvette in a Tractor Pull contest), and is not up to the task in far too many AORs (e.g., FFG(X)). Any vessel independently steaming into any situation will never have the whole picture. The Intelligence arencies wish they were “The Shadow”, but many times fall short, particularly after being raided by the last administration. This Regional Analysis Capabilty must be reconstituted, and appropriately lead in the various intelligence agencies.

      A more complete analysis is: America must be READY, and with the most expensive, intrusive, capable and precise intelligence network on the planet, must be employed in the security of ‘This Nation’, NOT the agrandizement of those who gather, receive and act upon that intelligence. THEN, this nation, and those Allies that line up with a Righteous attitude and point of view, will be safer. The recent US vote of ‘where WE should put OUR Embassy’, is a case in point. Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. It is ‘Time to take THIS NATION’s security seriously’, and give it the appropriate priority. THEN we will be better able to assist others. Today, most folks don’t even deal with their problems at home, and just medicate the problem into a stupor. The inner (Blue) cities are rife with this example! Going to rebuild our country with THAT Group? It is time to ‘grow up’, take on the mantel of leadership, and with clear sight move forward.

      Just my 2ȼ.

      • leroy

        Bravo! You are spot on and in your post you wax poetic. You really should be writing for either USNI or some other defense publication. I’ve never known you to submit a bad comment. Yours is clarity of thought with an extreme talent for persuasion. Besides that – you know your stuff!

        • Curtis Conway

          OH, I make plenty of mistakes. No longer start my day with a stack of traffic on my console/desk, but run with GENSER UNCLAS on the news. Only FOX or OAN can one get something close to the truth. When you watch the others you can make one of those spots where everyone in line, at the same time, say EXACTLY the same words and phrases, as if a bunch of trained parrots. It’s actually scary to experience THAT in the Land of the Free, and Home of the Brave . . . and it be called JOURNALISM.

  • Leatherstocking

    No one is publishing what is happening at the second and third tier supplier level. These years of continuing resolutions and sequestration have driven many companies out of business. We are seeing dozens of reverse engineering projects for items where the manufacturer has left the marketplace. Building a product is more than just drawings – jigs, processes, test equipment, and procedural knowledge have to be recreated. The contractor IP is not Navy-owned. Many other vendors are on the edge of bankruptcy. Congress and the Navy sprinkle fairy dust over a ship to extend its service life by 10-20 years, yet I’m getting 1970s/1980s technology to refurbish without parts on the worldwide market. Of course, the Navy has no money to requalify an item built with different parts or upgraded elements – it’s just best engineering judgment. I lived through the hollowed out Navy of the Carter years. I can’t believe we’re repeating history.

  • DefTactics

    Merry Christmas to you all especially all of our Military personnel active and retired!This nonsense about these CR’s is nothing but the rise of politics to a seriously dangerous level.As we have watch our military struggle this past year with the loss of life due to accidents,it is time to wake the American people out of their slumber.This not about dicing up the procurement for the Navy or the other services to continue operate around the world.We must hold the Congress of the United States to due their only Sacred Mission.To Defend the United States for all enemies foreign and domestic!That is the priority period.Leroy,I know you hate to hear this but Chuck Schmure and Nancy Pelosi are trying to stop “at all costs” this Presidents agenda.To demand equal amounts of domestic spending and now DACA in return for a budget agreement in this time of serious threats from major adversaries and poor Military readiness is disgusting a best.Weather you agree with that philosophy or not it does not embrace the US Military.They have threatened to shut down the Government over this ! This sends the absolute worse message to our enemies.They have the unmitigated gall to say they are now worried about the budget deficit ?? The last administration rang up 21 Trillion dollars in debt !Now they are worried because we are talking about finally raising the Defense Budget.This is intellectual dishonesty in prime time!We must come together to fix our problems now in order to protect our country and our wonderful men and women who serve with honesty and distinction.Happy New Year!!

  • vincedc

    Somehow the Navy is going to make things work, because that is what they do. Congress knows this and depends on them to make Congress look good because that is what they do. Everyone except USNI has figured out that McCain’s monthly doom and gloom tirades are just so much noise.

  • Chesapeakeguy

    Geezz, this country went YEARS without a formal ‘budget’. The Obama admin was notorious for their open defiance of the actual LAW that mandates WHEN budget proposals are to be submitted by. If and when he or anyone else (like the House and/or Senate) presented such items, they were often ignored, or flat out voted down. In 2013 the (Democrat controlled) Senate finally, after FOUR years, adopted a budget resolution, and only to prevent that from being an issue in the 2014 elections. The country got through all that. Spare us the doom and gloom predictions. Nothing that happened on the McCain or Fitzgerald had anything to do with budgets or funding. There is considerable pork spread throughout the Defense budget just like there is in other aspects of government. Life will still go on…

    • Secundius

      Ahhh, it’s NOT that Barrack Obama “Didn’t” have a Defense Appropriations Budget from 2009 to 2017! It’s the FACT that the GOP US Congress “Wouldn’t” give him a Defense Appropriations Budget. The Entire Obama Presidency was “Piggy-Backed” on the 2009 Defense Appropriations Budget submitted by George W. Bush before leaving Office in January 2009…

      • Chesapeakeguy

        Look up who was in control of the Congress during his tenure in office. His first two years the Dems were in complete control. In fact, they had historic majorities in both chambers, including what should have been a veto proof Senate (does the name ‘Jumping Jim Jeffords’ ring a bell?). But there is no argument that Congress didn’t act at times, and when they did, they absolutely TROUNCED what was presented by the Obama admin (if memory serves both the House and the Senate UNANIMOUSLY rejected hos budget proposals, and again, that with his party in control. They were truly bi-partisan bashings). But my point is that these budget considerations are often overblown. Obama DID NOT adhere to the law as to WHEN he would submit his proposals. That is fact. Him knowing that the Congress wasn’t in any hurry to do anything, and again, that Congress was led by his own party for some time (and after they lost the House they still held the Senate for all but the last 2 years of Obama’s presidency) no doubt contributed to all that. Consider the vaunted, hated ‘Sequester’. That proved beyond any doubts that the Fed Government employs the better part of a million people who are truly not needed. There is more than enough money to take care of the Defense of this country. How some of that money is being spent is the problem, and that is Congress’s fault, and YES, the GOP is in charge of the Congress at present.

        • Secundius

          It take BOTH Chambers to Approve a Budget! And while the US.Hse.of Rep. were Democratically Controlled, the US Senate “Wasn’t”. And all it Takes is One Chamber with a Supermajority Vote to “Overturn the Apple Cart” and Obama’s power to Veto the Bill…

          • Chesapeakeguy

            During Obama’s first two years, his party had BOTH the House and the Senate. It was in all the papers. The Dems lost the House in Nov. 2010 but held the Senate until Nov. 2014. And while it does indeed take both chambers to pass a budget, the Dem controlled Senate DID NOT for over 4 years, well into 2013, and they only did so to remove that lack of action on their part as an election issue. I’m not inventing this or exaggerating any aspect of it. It is what it is, or was.

          • Secundius

            I stand corrected, Thank you…