Military Already Feels The Consequences Of Delayed Funding

One of the points in dispute about the Iraq war supplemental bill about to get vetoed by the President is whether the delay has affected military operations. Harry Reid said that the current funding will cover operations until mid-July, while the White House insists that it has already begun degrading operations and readiness. A Congressional Research Service analysis supports the Democrats — but only by saying that robbing Peter to pay Paul will still have impact on a broad range of activities (emphases mine):

If the Army temporarily tapped all this transfer authority, it could have a total of $60.1 billion available rather than $52.6 billion. Based on projections of monthly obligations rates, the Army could finance the O&M costs of both its baseline and war program for almost two additional months or through most of July 2007, if it tapped all of this transfer authority (see Table 2). It would be $1.4 billion short of meeting total July obligations. If DOD used only some of its transfer authority, the Army could last through the end of June 2007.
The Army has suggested that these actions would disrupt its programs including facilities repair, depot maintenance, and training. In order to ensure that funding is available for the later months of the year, the Army may very well decide that it must slow down its non-war-related operations before money would run out by, for example, limiting facility maintenance and repairs, delaying equipment overhauls, restricting travel and meetings, and, perhaps, slowing down training. Although it is true that a delay in passage of the FY2007 supplemental could require additional management actions, Congress has given DOD flexibility by providing transfer authority so that funds can be moved to meet more urgent requirements. In this case, because the transfers would presumably be temporary, the disruptions might also be less onerous.

In other words, not passing a serious supplemental and getting the money to the Army by May 1 will cause some disruptions — depending on where the Army wants to have them. This differs from Harry Reid’s assertion that there is no haste in approving the supplemental.
The Senate Republican Policy Committee put out its own analysis today, relying on military officials to state clearly the impact the delay in funding has had:

“At the current moment, because of this lack of funding, MNSTC-I [Multi-National Security Transition Command-Iraq] is unable to continue at the pace [it had in developing] . . . Iraqi security forces. . . . [This lack of funding] is starting to have some impact today, and will only have more of an impact over time.” — Maj. Gen. William Caldwell, MNF-Iraq
The President requested $1.83 billion for procurement and outfitting of Mine Resistant Ambush Protected vehicles (MRAP), which the Senate Appropriations Committee fully funded. Senator Biden then took to the floor to provide an additional $1.5 billion to the Procurement chapter of the supplemental bill for the procurement of MRAPs, because, citing military commanders, “MRAP could reduce the casualties in vehicles due to IED [Improvised Explosive Device] attack by as much as 80 percent.” The Amendment was approved by a vote of 98-0.
Now, the failure to provide a war supplemental in a timely manner means that neither funds in the President’s request, nor the plus-up provided by amendment, is currently available for a vehicle pointed out to be “the best available vehicle for force protection.”

The Army has already responded to the notion of reprogramming funding for the war effort, which the SRPC notes:

First and foremost, reprogramming requests are generally inefficient and certainly much less optimal than actually receiving the funds up-front. In a letter signed by the Chief of Staff of each of the Services, the Generals noted that “reprogramming is a short-term, cost-inefficient solution that wastes our limited resources.”
Next, reprogramming is itself not without cost. Since reprogramming is essentially robbing Peter to pay Paul, when the Department takes funds to support one program over another, that action must come at the expense of the program from which the funds are taken. As General Schoomaker notes, “These [reprogramming] actions can disrupt and desynchronize our next-todeploy units as they prepare for war, possibly compromising future readiness and strategic depth.

It should be fairly obvious to anyone who has worked in a large organization — and especially in government and the DoD — that money can’t just be shifted around overnight. It takes a great deal of accounting and oversight to manage the funds, and moving it around requires freezing spening until the money gets transferred to where it is needed. It will cost a fortune to accomplish this, degrading our readiness and halting projects all across the board.
It’s a Mickey Mouse solution to a problem that Congress created, and all the Democrats can do is to tell the Army to blow millions of dollars while it plays politics with the war.
UPDATE: Bush has made his speech, and it wasn’t bad. I wish he had spent more time talking about the pork projects — pick a few to show the ridiculous nature of the way they sold this bill to the one-vote majorities in both chambers. He also kept giving that annoying half-smile of his, a tic that undercuts his credibility. However, other than that, he sounded firm and clear on the reasons for rejecting the timetables, including the way the bill hamstrings commanders in the field.

27 thoughts on “Military Already Feels The Consequences Of Delayed Funding”

  1. What President’s speech on the Veto of the War Supplemental Bill?
    Oh, hold on….finally found it!
    I live in the Twin Cities of Mpls-St. Paul and as the President is speaking right now on the basis of his Veto of this hugely critical bill….The ABC affiliate has opted for local news (they’re covering the importance to insure jewelry while the President speaks)…the NBC affiliate also does not have the President on, but has a feature on their local news about the foggy morning here this a.m. …..the CBS affiliate also opted to not show the POTUS and is covering how Yoga can relieve stress….Only the local Fox affiliate put the President on live.
    I realize this crap shouldn’t ever surprise me anymore but at what point in time, does this bias and doctoring of the news of this land come into a brighter spotlight with some serious magnification of this?

  2. Since the Administration plans to maintain the current force in Iraq and Afghanistan thoughout the current fiscal year and well into the next one, why is there a Supplemental? Why wasn’t this part of the budget? After 50 months, this is hardly a shot-term campaign. Am I missing something?

  3. How any American could agree with this group of Democrats is beyond my comprehension. This behavior by a political party at any time, let alone while our country is at war, has got to be historical by it’s nature.
    Democrats are using every tool in their vast tool box, to undermine our troops and bring about an American defeat in this war. Agree with the war or not, is one issue; agreeing with undermining our troops and bringing harm to your country; well, that is a completely different type of human decision.

  4. In addition to the Ed’s argument about the President highlighting the tens of billions in pork bribes the Dems needed to pass this bill, the President DID make the best single argument to date on why we must finish the job in Iraq:
    “Withdrawal would have increased the probability that coalition troops would be forced to return to Iraq one day and confront an enemy that is even more dangerous.”
    Think about why we had to invade in the first place: we left the job unfinished in 1991.
    If we do not finish this second Gulf War, there will be a third. And a fourth…and so on.

  5. I liked the 1999 version of George W Bush better:
    “Victory means exit strategy, and it’s important for the president to explain to us what the exit strategy is.”
    4/9/99
    “I think it’s also important for the president to lay out a timetable as to how long they will be involved and when they will be withdrawn.”
    6/5/99

  6. Bush Vetos Bill, Biden Chokes On Pen

    Bush veto video at Hot Air. Vowing to continue to undermine American efforts in Iraq by placing a time line on the US deployment, Maryland Democrat Senator Joe Biden pledged to continue to fight, immediately after having President Bush’s veto

  7. *Responding to this report on the Senate floor this morning, Senator John Cornyn, Vice-Chair of the Senate Republican Conference, said, “Today is a sad day for our nation because it represents the 85th day that our fighting men and women in uniform have been waiting for emergency aid from the Congress, yet they have been left waiting because of political gamesmanship and political theater here in Washington D.C. The latest is reported in “Congressional Quarterly” today…the report is that Congresswoman Pelosi wanted to personally read the emergency supplemental bill and to sign it before sending it to Pennsylvania Avenue. I would have thought that Congresswoman Pelosi and that Members of the Congress would have read this legislation before they voted on it – not afterwards.”
    A sad day for a once proud nation…

  8. President Bush Vetoes Surrender Bill While Democrats Celebrate Failure

    This is the most shameful Congress we have seen in decades. American’s should hang their heads in shame for electing such pathetic losers to power.

  9. I train soldiers at Fort Hood. The Army is reorganizing to be more efficient, more effective and more responsive. The new organizations need to train as units, as teams. Reserve and National Guard units are hurrying up their deployment schedules, and they need to train as units, as teams. All these units are scheduled to deploy to Iraq, to help finish what we started, and are succeeding at to this point.
    Tell me again, please, how a reallocating of training dollars won’t affect the main war effort for a long time?
    Although I work with Army organizations, I have budgetary recommendations for the Air Force brass, who are in much the same boat. I recommend that a significant cost savings could be realized by immediately halting flights in support of Congressional trips back home to stroke lobbyists. Every drop of fuel and “U.S. Air Force” cocktail napkin counts!

  10. Bush could have his money, all he needs to do is sign the damn bill. Were not staying in that quagmire for eternity. Maliki is doing NOTHING to reach a political accord. Why aren’t you people mad as hell about that! Selective outrage, thats why. The American people are sick of Bush and sick of that ill conceived war. If you don’t like the Democrats actions you can vote them out. Its called a democracy, otherwise quit whining.

  11. I’m in a rifle company in the USMCR. We have virtually no ammo for training. We can’t even get blanks. We are getting ready for an 08 deployment to Iraq. Hope this gets fixed soon.
    Semper Fidelis.

  12. Keemo, thanks for posting Sen. Cornyn’s remarks; by chance I turned on C-Span this morning and heard them. Of course the average viewer of broadcast news won’t see any of it. As Fight4the RightWay points out, they’re not even carrying the President’s speech. For shame!
    BTW, Howie Carr on WRKO, Boston, interviewed Richard Miniter today. He was just back from Iraq, and reports remarkable progress at pacifying Anbar, and good results in Baghdad, despite the suicide bombers. But how do the bearers of good news break through the drumbeat of defeatism in the major media?
    /Mr Lynn

  13. dwightkschrute parlez:
    I liked the 1999 version of George W Bush better:
    “Victory means exit strategy, and it’s important for the president to explain to us what the exit strategy is.”
    4/9/99
    “I think it’s also important for the president to lay out a timetable as to how long they will be involved and when they will be withdrawn.”
    6/5/99
    Sorry, but you have to post the link to the text of his entire speech. Otherwise, people will think you cherry-picked the speech (like Al Gore tired to do with votes in Florida.)
    I hate to tell you this, but the simple fact of life is that people elect a President, and then put up with them, good or bad, no matter what.
    You can bitch all you want about Clinton being impeached, but in the end he did admit to offenses that included his false testimony under oath to a Federal Grand Jury. That is a Felony offense.

  14. I was simply pointing out that Bush surely had a different view of how to respect the armed forces, not to mention nation building back in 1999.

  15. I wish the troops in Iraq were allowed to wage a letter writing campaign…..meh
    Have I mentioned lately that I hate the frigging pop up ads here? Yeah I know how a pop up blocker works but it interferes with the function of some of the other sites I visit and I just don’t go to those that have pop ups so much. I used to visit this site several times a day but now it’s once every couple of days…..

  16. So how long will it take for our Democrat’s to seek President Bush’s removal ‘…from office on impeachment for… other high crimes and misdemeanors,’ where ‘other high crimes and misdemeanors’ – at minimum – are sought to be defined as negligence and/or dereliction of Presidential duties by imperiling the lives and safety of US forces through this Presidential veto? One week, two? A month. Longer?
    Never would I have thought the Democrat’s treachery would go so far. Not only have they embarked on a path which is an unparalleled danger to our national security – especially in times of war – the political division of a Constitutional crisis combined with external threats is a formula for disaster. This already reads like a story with a horribly tragic ending – we’d better hope Pelosi and Co. start taking their smart-pills.

  17. Just what have you been smoking, “conservative” democrat? If you were being honest, then hat has to be the single most ignorant statement I’ve heard. (And given I work in tech support, that’s saying something…) Bush could have funding for the war if he’d only agree to have our troops begin to be pulled out of the theater of operations in two months? What the hell kind of sense does that make? Do you ever think about the talking points you keep regurgitating?

  18. Posted by dwightkschrute at May 2, 2007 03:08 AM
    ”I was simply pointing out that Bush surely had a different view of how to respect the armed forces, not to mention nation building back in 1999.”
    1999? Wasn’t that before 9/11?
    The world changed on 9/11/2001. If your view didn’t change then, you were a fool.

  19. “Bush has made his speech, and it wasn’t bad. I wish he had spent more time talking about the pork projects — pick a few to show the ridiculous nature of the way they sold this bill to the one-vote majorities in both chambers.”
    despite my support for bush’s war effort, i would support anyone who wants to wage war on terrorists and the STATES THAT SPONSOR IT, but he loses me when it comes to spending. was this his first veto? the reason he did not mention any of the pork is because he will sign all that pork when it’s connected to a compromise or other bills. bush and his fellow repubs have been seriously negligent these last six years. painfully so. basically authors of the “bridge to nowhere” that moniker–no pun intended–will forever be hanging from their necks……….

  20. There are two possibilities: First, Reid and Pelosi could be purposefully minimizing the stakes in Iraq. Or, second, they don’t know what they’re talking about. My guess is some combination of the two. Political maneuvering certainly contributes to the everyday pollution of Iraq discourse. But a lot of the pollution derives from legislators being functionally illiterate about the war over which Congress now intends to preside. In this, of course, they’re hardly alone. The Bush administration’s wretched Iraq literacy has been well-chronicled. But, with Congress demanding a louder say in the management of the war, the same knowledge gap that plagued our arrival in Iraq looks like it will be revived just in time for our departure.
    Whatever explains the literacy gap, this much at least is obvious: Having been called into being by politicians on both sides of the aisle, the war in Iraq no longer bears a relation to anything they say. You don’t need to cherry-pick quotes to prove the point: Nearly every time a senator’s mouth opens, something wrong comes out. . . . Most of all, illiteracy makes for good politics. There is the conviction, to paraphrase McCain, that winning a war takes precedence over winning an election. But it isn’t so clear that this conviction guides a partisan brawl in which the Senate majority leader can gush, “We’re going to pick up Senate seats as a result of this war.” In such an environment, the subordination of facts to politics inform matters small and large, from the relatively trivial question of whether U.S. troops still operate in Tal Afar to enormous questions regarding the future of the U.S. enterprise in Iraq. (Instapundit)
    Patrick,
    Agreed. Spending like a drunken Liberal & taking a weak stance on illegal immigration are the two fronts where Bush has failed us.

  21. The filthy dems’ attitude on this is summed up by quisling democrat (May 1, 2007 08:31 PM):
    Bush could have his money, all he needs to do is sign the damn bill.
    It’s similar to the line taken by kidnappers in many crime dramas:
    “You can have your daughter back when you pay me the money. If you don’t pay me, I won’t be killing her; you will be killing her.”
    But that’s the democrats for you: the “support the troops” by using them as hostages.
    Hey, it’s no wonder SanFran Nan gets on so well with thugs like Assad and Ahmadinejad!

  22. Cap’n
    You missed the key angle on what MNSTC-I does:
    http://billroggio.com/archives/2007/04/training_the_iraqi_a.php
    Currently, the Iraqi Army has about 13,000 support personnel to sustain a 138,000 man force. The expansion of support personnel by 33,000 troops by the end of 2007 would provide the bare minimum support necessary for independent operations. The money to train the support units cannot be legally reappropriated from U.S. budgets to fund a foreign military equipment/training program, so the programs has stopped. This weakness in current Iraqi Security Forces structure is the focus of U.S. training in the “Year of Logistics.”
    The delay by congress is delaying the standing up of the IA which delays the eventual reduction of US forces. The exact opposite of what they claim their goal is…
    DJ Elliott (Full disclosure: I helped Bill write that article. McClatchy’s BS propaganda realy spun me up.)

  23. If Bush had any Ba*ls, he could rearrange things to get the money he needs in Iraq. He could start by laying off all the civil employees at military bases doing jobs that military people could do. Then he could start closing down all the overseas bases. Germany would really like that. Korea would be thrilled.
    Them he could start brining home warships. Park them in the harbors. If not steaming and flying airplanes etcetera, could save a lot on fuel.
    Then when the moans and groans from all the laid off civilians starts, he could simply say, talk to your congressperson. To Forgien governments who depend on our protection, he could say sorry, talk to congress. To all those in forgien countries who loose their jobs, its like oh well, guess we can’t afford to help you keep your job anylonger.
    To the navy, and air force, its I can’t do anything about this, I have a war to fight and congress won’t give me enough money. To all the businessmen who are suppliers to the navy and airforce who would not be selling fuel or other suppies, tell them to talk to their congressperson.
    But alas, he’s a wimp, so he will play pussy foot with the Dem’s, again.

  24. Broder, Eric Hoffer, inauthenticity and other thoughts

    Reading this piece about how the Democrats in the Senate banded together to throw their skirts over their faces and weep and wag fingers at David Broder (for the crime of daring to criticize one of them), I am reminded of Eric Hoffer’s remark in …

  25. Bruce
    Parts of that are already in works.
    (E.G. DoD Civ lay-off was mentioned last month.)
    It will not help in standing up Iraqi Security Forces.
    That is under a seperate law governing aid to foreign military.
    To reappropriate money to that from DoD budget would be illegal.
    Legitimate grounds for Impeachment…

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