As we once again find ourselves hurtling towards the expiration of yet another continuing resolution at the end of this week, with no long-term budget deal in sight, it seems an opportune time to review the very real harms to the nation’s safety done by Congress’s inability to perform its most basic Article 1 function — appropriating funds to run the government — on time or with any semblance of predictability.
Democrats and Republicans agree that the 2011 Budget Control Act has been a failure, and that Congress should return to regular order in the budget process. We — a Democrat (and former Pentagon hand) and a Republican (and former Hill staffer) — represent this bipartisan consensus. While we do not necessarily agree on how big the defense budget should be, we both believe that national security requires stability and predictability in defense budgeting.
The Department of Defense has received an average of $23.6 billion less in the base budget per year since the 2011 Budget Control Act caps took effect in fiscal year 2013. In theory, the Budget Control Act should have at least provided stability in exchange for this significant reduction in funding. By creating annual caps on defense discretionary spending, the DOD would at least know how much money it could expect year to year.
Read the full commentary in The Hill.
More from CNAS
CommentaryIt’s Time for the Pentagon To Take Data Principles More Seriously
Defense leaders should create the policies, processes, and programs to turn data into useful information quickly and accurately....
By Robert O. Work & Tara Murphy Dougherty
VideoUpdates on defense appropriations for 2021
Susanna Blume, Senior Fellow and Director of the Defense Program at CNAS, provides updates on the House Appropriation Committee’s Defense spending bill for fiscal 2021 and its...
By Susanna V. Blume
ReportsInvesting in Great-Power Competition
Executive Summary This report asks whether the 2021 U.S. defense budget request is aligned with the 2018 National Defense Strategy (NDS) in selecting priority capability inves...
By Susanna V. Blume & Molly Parrish
VideoThomas Harker performing duties of DoD Comptroller
Bob Hale, Adjunct Senior Fellow at the Center for a New American Security, discusses how Thomas Harker will continue as Navy Comptroller while performing duties of the Under S...
By Robert F. Hale