Hill edges closer to FY22 budget deal as Navy warns of other CRs

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SAN DIEGO, Calif., — The owners of Congress are close to reaching an agreement that would finalize the late fiscal year 2022 defense budget, three legislative sources confirmed to USNI News on Wednesday.

The sources said the agreement for the Defense Department’s fiscal year 2022 appropriations bill would be consistent with the $768 billion fiscal year 2022 authorization bill signed by President Joe Biden. end December. The spending bill for fiscal year 2022 would be about $25 billion to $30 billion more than the White House’s initial request for funds, the sources told USNI News.

Passing the bill that lingered at the conference hinged on balancing defense spending at a year-to-date low with a marked increase in domestic spending. A small group of lawmakers had blocked negotiations on the DoD spending bill, prompting three disparate resolutions, according to legislative sources. The most recent CR, passed last week, extends federal government spending until March 11.

The compromise comes as relations between Russia, China and the United States continue to deteriorate due to the reinforcement of Russian troops on the border with Ukraine and the mounting of Chinese air and naval operations in the Western Pacific in the over the past few weeks.

In recent weeks, service officials have expressed concern about the possibility of a continuing one-year resolution as lawmakers struggle to reach an agreement on spending.

Chief of Naval Operations Mike Gilday speaking January 11, 2022 from his office at the Pentagon. US Navy Photo

“Budgets are on my mind every day,” Chief of Naval Operations Mike Gilday told reporters during a press call on Wednesday.
“I still believe that we are in a critical decade and that the Navy depends on stable and predictable funding, funding that supports military strategy and our Navy’s navigational plan.”

During a panel Wednesday at the WEST 2022 conference, Maritime Services budget officials reiterated concerns about CRs and the effect interim bills are having on readiness and the industrial base.

Rear Admiral John Gumbleton, the Navy’s deputy assistant secretary for budget, said it’s ‘tactically a very difficult time’ right now for the service as it takes questions from conference bills of the 2022 financial year, while trying to conclude the 2023 financial year. budget submission.

“A one-year CR would be — catastrophic isn’t too strong a term to use. It really would be in our personnel accounts and — it would be a challenge to do the payroll,” Gumbleton said.

“We’re in the fifth month, so we’ve learned to be good at bad behavior, haven’t we?” We’ve spent the last decade deferring contracts to Q2, and now we’re actually – we’re adjusting and evolving to say, “actually, let’s move them to Q3 now,” he added.

As part of the CR, Gumbleton said the service is currently trying to find dollars in its arms purchase account to award one of several arms contracts the Navy has planned for the second quarter of the year. fiscal year 2022.

When asked if the potential for conflict with China in the Indo-Pacific helped them convince the Pentagon to change the balance of the budget – which is usually evenly split between the army, navy and military. Marine Corps – Gumbleton and his Marine Corps counterpart said the thinking is slowly changing.

“You know, if you can read a map and read a newspaper, military decisions in high-level combat will be decided, both above and below the ocean, heavily influenced by the coastlines. So a build 30 -30-30-10 by budgeting tradition just doesn’t fit into what I consider an army now,” said Marine Corps Lt. Gen. Christopher Mahoney, deputy commander of programs and resources. “Now, is there a change? I think there’s, not just across the river and an understanding that we want it to be an away game. We don’t want it to be a home game and this away game will be conducted by the naval force.

Gumbleton described the change as “glacial displacement”.

USS Fort Worth (LCS-3) pier side at Naval Base San Diego, Calif., Feb. 15, 2022. USNI News Photo

“This is inherently a political issue both internal to the Pentagon and external to the Pentagon. So I think we’re starting to see a slight movement, but measured in millions… not billions,” he said. “So I would say we’re moving glacially.”

Meanwhile, the Pentagon is crafting a last-minute budget proposal for fiscal year 2023 that will top $770 billion — a significant jump from fiscal year 2022, USNI News has learned.

A source close to the White House budget deliberations told USNI News that the Defense Department’s total revenue will be $773 billion. Reuters reported for the first time that revenue would exceed $770 billion.

Pentagon spokesman Capt. Mike Kafka would not comment on the preliminary budget work and referred USNI News to the Office of Management and Budget. The OMB did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

For the Navy, the additional funds could affect service proposals to pursue a campaign to retire ships before the end of their expected lifespan. The service abandoned the first two Littoral gunships and offered to decommission a significant portion of its fleet of guided-missile cruisers. Several defense officials told USNI News that the Navy has considered suspending some, if not all, of the Freedom-class LCS and older Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyers to maintain fleet readiness. and invest in new capabilities such as hypersonic weapons and unmanned systems. However, increasing the Pentagon’s topline gives the Navy more resources to preserve the force structure while pursuing new capabilities.

“You have to be realistic with respect, when it comes to budgets,” Gilday said.
“We are in a toe-to-toe race with China and we need to move quickly, we need to build capabilities quickly, we need to build capabilities, mature capabilities quickly.”

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