[Defense in Brief] Inability of Congress to pass budgets is harming research and development

A panel of experts at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) responded recently to a report noting that defense spending cuts, enacted by the Budget Control Act of 2011, along with continuing resolutions instead of actual budgets is driving defense industry contractors out of the market.

That is severely impacting R&D of future weapons systems — which in turn means this is all having a severe impact on the future deployment of advanced systems.

Which puts us behind our peer competitors and, thus, endangers national security.

Notes U.S. Naval Institute News: “The cyclical nature of department budgeting, including delays in getting new spending approved, is a problem for all but the largest vendors, said Eric Chewning, deputy assistant secretary of Defense for manufacturing and industrial base policy, as a member of the panel discussion.”

“The reality is that the Defense Department does not exist for the purpose of taking care of the industrial base. it’s the other way around, said Frank Kendall, former undersecretary of Defense. “So, what the Department of Defense has to do is to ensure, to the extent that it can while doing its mission, that there is a healthy industrial base to support it.” [source]

(Analyst comment: Congress hasn’t passed a real budget in nearly a decade and things have not gotten better under the Trump administration — at least, not yet. The most recent ‘budget’ action, if you can call it that, involved another three-week stop-gap extension of spending following a three-day partial shutdown. All the service chiefs have been screaming (figuratively) for long-term budgets so they can better plan things like research and development. As bad as things are, they’re about to get worse.)

Jon E. Dougherty is a political, foreign policy and national security analyst and reporter with nearly 30 years of experience in both fields. A U.S. Army veteran of Operation Enduring Freedom, he holds BA in Political Science from Ashford University and an MA in National Security Studies/Intelligence Analysis from American Military University.

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