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Navy Secretary spews fire: $4 billion wasted because Congress can’t pass budgets

Then-Navy Secretary Richard Spencer (DoD photo by Army Sgt. Amber I. Smith/Released)
December 06, 2017

The U.S. Navy has wasted $4 billion over the past six years, as Congress has made a habit of passing continuing resolutions (CRs) rather than full-year appropriations bills, the Navy Secretary said this week.

“We have put $4 billion in a trash can, poured lighter fluid on it, and burned it,” Navy Secretary Richard Spencer said at a forum at the U.S. Naval Institute this week, it was reported. “Four billion is enough to buy a squadron of F-35s, two Arleigh Burke-class destroyers, 3,000 Harpoon missiles. It’s enough money to buy us additional capacity that we need. Instead, it’s lost, because of inefficacy in the ways of the continuing resolution.”

Spencer’s comments came just days before President Donald Trump was slated to meet with Congress to discuss end-of-year funding in order to avoid a government shutdown – as the current CR that is providing funding is set to expire.

It remains unclear how or when the government is going to fund the remainder of fiscal year 2018. Officials have been testifying before Congressional subcommittees for several weeks now.

Branch leaders have argued that it is not only a matter of having funding, but also additional funding in order to properly – and consistently – carry out training and missions, which ultimately affects readiness.

Vice Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Bill Moran said CRs are “painful.”

“For the past several years, too many of our ships, submarines and aircraft have been parked due to maintenance delays and throughput capacity. We were not resourced to make whole what we already owned; we were not giving our warfighters the time and tools to build capability through their own experiences,” he said, according to a report. “We were making tough choices — often bad choices — between operations, readiness and growing the force. These issues and others contributed to the [deadly] collisions [of the USS Fitzgerald and USS John S. McCain] because we took our eye off the ball. We were executing a full-court press when we didn’t have a sufficient bench to play the entire game.”