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US Generals Decry Continuing Resolutions
Aviation Week's DTI | Paul McLeary | March 01, 2011
This article first appeared in Aerospace Daily & Defense Report.

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. -- Congress's inability to pass new budget appropriations for fiscal 2011 has been detrimental to the U.S. Army's force modernization plans, according to several three-star generals.

At the Association of the U.S. Army symposium on Feb. 24, Lt. Gen. William Phillips of the Army Acquisition Corps said continuing resolutions are "one of the most inefficient ways of doing business" and that being forced to move money out of some programs and into others is "going to cause [modernization and equipment reset] schedules to move to the right."

Lt. Gen. Robert Lennox, the Army's deputy chief of staff, says "almost every program has been affected" but that tradeoffs have been made to move money to programs critical to operations in Afghanistan, such as intelligence and surveillance assets.

The overall defense budget requested by President Barack Obama for fiscal 2011 was $548 billion, and Defense Secretary Robert Gates said during the budget rollout earlier this month that the Pentagon needs at least $540 billion in order to meet its needs before the fiscal 2012 budget cycle begins. The current continuing resolution expires March 4, after which the government will have to shut down if lawmakers can't agree on new budget legislation.

One program that has been seriously affected is the planned modernization of the Stryker fleet of armored fighting vehicles, which calls for giving them new suspension systems and more powerful engines to deal better with the increased weight of new armor kits. The official Stryker modernization program is currently on a partial stop-work order because of the continuing resolutions, forcing the Army and General Dynamics to shift money from modernization to testing and evaluation of the double V-hull program. The first 150 double V-hulled Strykers will be shipped to Afghanistan in June, while the modernization of the fleet will have to wait, probably until next year, according to company representatives.

Photo: Architect of the Capitol

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