U.S. Army Chief Of Staff Tells Senator David Perdue “Continuing Resolutions Hurt”

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator David Perdue (R-GA), a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, asked Secretary Robert Speer, Acting Secretary of the Army, and General Mark Milley, Chief of Staff of the Army, about the damaging effect the broken budget process has on U.S. Army readiness.

Click here to watch the exchange or click on the image below.

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Effect of the Broken Budget System on Army Readiness

Senator Perdue: If you were to get a Continuing Resolution (CR) at any point in that four or five-year period you’re talking about, that would tie your hands to divert money from one area to another to address this readiness. How would that impact your ability to do what you’re talking about doing?

General Milley: CRs hurt. I’ll let Secretary Speer—he’s a finance guy and he knows more about how they hurt than I do, but I can tell you they hurt.

Acting Secretary Speer: One of the things about the CR—especially the longer-term they go but any CR—they have a cumulative effect. That’s part of what we’re coming out of from FY13, FY14, FY15 on—not only for a commander to know and sustain predictability for training and what they’re trying to do, but also, they are by nature conservative. So when they see the funding may run out, they react differently. They can be risk averse to that, but also you start making bad purchasing decisions. Those types of things go on.

Senator Perdue: Make shorter-term decisions is what you’re saying?

Acting Secretary Speer: Right. Correct.

Senator Perdue: Less optimal decisions than you would make if you had a steady runway of dependable funding?

Acting Secretary Speer: They’re more expensive, too. They hold things to the very end and you have a whole bunch of purchases at the very end of the year that you don’t get the best bargain for.

General Milley: It’s a crazy way to do it. This CR thing—this is just one man’s opinion I suppose, but it’s a crazy way to do it.

Senator Perdue: Sir, I come from a different world, too. I come from the business world. I’ve never seen this done anywhere else in the world. It’s absolutely absurd that we would do that and tie your hands to move money from one department to another—to even adapt to reduce levels of spending.

U.S. Army Brigade Combat Team (BCTs) Readiness

Senator Perdue: General Allyn just in February before our Subcommittee on Readiness that one-third of your Brigade Combat Teams (BCTs), one-fourth of your Combat Aviation Brigades (CABs), and half of your Division Headquarters—only half—were deemed “ready” at that point. He also went on to say that only three of our 58 BCTs in total, including Guard and Reserve, could be called upon to “fight tonight.” How does the President’s FY18 budget proposal allow you to address that?

General Milley: Our readiness objective for the Regular Army is [to have] 66 percent of the formations at the highest level of combat readiness. And our objective for the reserve component (both National Guard and Army Reserve) is 60 percent of their enabling capabilities…Readiness is cumulative, and I think based on our current projections, assuming we hold constant things like up-tempo, and we get steady, predictable funding, then I think you’ll see significant improvement in readiness at the end of FY 18, for sure. It won’t necessarily be at the objective level, but it will be a significant improvement over what it is today.

Senator Perdue: How much would you need to get to the objective level?

General Milley: Steady, predictable funding for several years in a row. And a growth in the size of the force. We chose in this particular budget to flat-line the end-strength growth. If more money became available, I certainly would like to see that as well.

View Senator Perdue’s full remarks in the Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on the posture of the Department of the Army here.


Senator Perdue is the only Fortune 500 CEO in Congress and is serving his first term in the United States Senate, where he represents Georgia on the Armed Services, Banking, Budget, and Agriculture Committees.