Navy minimizes effects of ongoing resolution, no waivers sent to Capitol Hill
This post has been updated with a statement from Secretary of the Navy Carlos Del Toro.
The Navy has downplayed the effects of the current nine-week interim spending measure that freezes spending levels and the service has not submitted a list of waivers to Congress, USNI News has learned.
The Navy did not send a list of anomalies or waivers to Capitol Hill, defense officials and lawmakers confirmed to USNI News this week. Last year, the Navy had to apply for a waiver for the Columbia-class nuclear submarine launcher program, the top acquisition priority for the service for which it was to be awarded at the start of fiscal 2021. .
Lawmakers have until Dec. 3 to pass the supply bills, otherwise they would have to pass another continuous resolution. If the CR were to extend beyond Dec. 3, the Navy would likely have to seek waivers from Congress, according to USNI News.
“The Navy has no anomalies approved for continued resolution,” Navy spokeswoman Lt. Katie Diener told USNI News.
Under an RC, not only are funding levels limited to the levels of the previous fiscal year, but the Department of Defense cannot spend money on fresh start programs. The T-AGOS (X) ocean surveillance vessel is a new start-up program, but the Navy is not expected to award the contract until August 2022, according to the service’s budget documents for fiscal 2022. The Navy is also keen to purchase an oil tanker John Lewis T-AO-205 class fleet in FY2022, an increase from zero tankers purchased in FY2021. This price is slated for June 2022, according to the department’s budget documents.
Secretary of the Navy Carlos Del Toro told USNI News following an earlier version of this article that a three-month CR is manageable, but any further extension would have “catastrophic results.”
“Continuing resolution for three months is… something we have to be able to manage. We have been living with persistent resolutions for a few years now. So it’s no longer a shock or a surprise like it used to be, ”he said following a speech Tuesday night at the US Naval Academy.
“That said, however, keeping the resolutions has real negative consequences. While we may survive a three month continuous resolution, once you start to envision a six month or one year continuous resolution the results are truly disastrous, because especially when it comes to the readiness of our forces, you see, the capacity of our forces to be able to respond in a real and credible way to the missions they have to accomplish today everywhere in the world.
The Pentagon has been unusually silent this year on the effects of the current resolution, which restricts Defense Department spending to previous fiscal year levels and currently maintains government funding as lawmakers continue to work on the process. allocation of funds.
Over the past few years, department officials have spoken out about the practice of using continuous resolutions to maintain government funding while Congress works out its expense bills. Pentagon officials generally argue that the interim measures have cost them millions and are hampering preparedness.
In 2019, the Navy’s procurement officer at the time said the service had no plans for any major contract awards in the first quarter of fiscal 2020 in case the government was operating under an ongoing resolution. . James Geurts also expressed concern about how an RC affects the Navy’s ability to perform maintenance.
“What frustrates me: one of the things you’ve heard when we talk about vessel maintenance is that we want to do our planning, we want to award the contract earlier; [Bainbridge] was one of them that we all had in place, we supported planning, had 120 days ready in advance, the team was ready to go, we had all the gear ready to go, and then suddenly oh we can’t do it now because we’re in a CR. The real challenge: we don’t know how long the next CR will last, when [the contract] is going to be rewarded, ”Geurts said at the time.
Other parts of the Navy say the RC is not yet causing significant difficulty in operations.
A spokesperson for Naval Sea Systems Command said the CR had not resulted in any closures for the command.
“As part of a CR, just as the CR has not resulted in any shutdowns, it also means that NAVSEA will not be able to start new programs,” Jamie Koehler told USNI News in an email.
A spokesperson for Naval Air Systems Command said the continued resolution had no effect on NAVAIR.
“There was no impact. We are operating as usual, ”Marcia Hart told USNI News.
In a statement to USNI News, a spokesperson for Navy Installations Command pointed to the $ 565 million for Navy operations and maintenance in the interim spending bill.
“Installation operations and support functions are expected to continue as they did before the signing of the RC, with no significant short-term impacts expected,” said Captain Josh Frey, spokesperson for Navy Installations Command. “It is CNIC’s mission to sustain the fleet, enable the fighter and support our navy families and the command stands ready to continue this mission as the leadership works towards an agreement on the FY22 budget.”
“The RC has included $ 565 million in Operations and Maintenance (OMN) funding for the repair of damage associated with natural disasters during the calendar years 2020 and 2021. This funding is welcome as the facilities and infrastructure Navy have sustained significant damage from natural disasters in several locations around the world over the past two years.
In early September, the White House called on lawmakers to pass a continuing resolution for the interim, while Congress continues the appropriation process.