FORT BELVOIR, VA, Sept. 14 - Secretary of Defense James Mattis expressed his concerns with the use Continuing Resolutions (CRs), short-term government funding bills, in a candid letter to the chair of the Senate Armed Services Committee, John McCain.
Chief among his trepidation is the effect such measures have on training and maintenance. In the letter, Mattis wrote, “Long Term CRs impact the readiness of our forces and their equipment at a time when security threats are extraordinarily high. The longer the CR, the greater the consequences for our force," reiterating thoughts he expressed last month.
In his letter to McCain, he expressed concerns that the use of stopgap funding could impact training. Mattis wrote, “Impacts begin immediately, within the first 30-days of a CR. By 90 days, the lost training is unrecoverable due to subsequent scheduled training events. These training losses reduce the effectiveness of subsequent training events in FY18 and in subsequent years.”
With regard to training, the secretary cited specific and relevant Service-related examples, including reductions in the scope of live-fire field training exercises for the U.S. Marine Corps and the capacity of the U.S. Air Force to train new pilots -- both of which, he wrote, have long-term effects on the Department's personnel to perform critical functions in-theater.
He also wrote that impacts caused by a Continuing Resolution will compound maintenance problems, noting that the delay in the induction of 11 U.S. Navy ships would further delay ship repairs and limit the availability of naval vessels around the globe.
Mattis also called attention to the fact that the U.S. Army will pay more for replacement parts and will have $400 million less per month in its operating accounts.
The full text of Mattis' letter may be found on McCain’s official webpage.