Stop-gap funding boosts maintenance, keeps cuts

Stop-gap funding boosts maintenance, keeps cuts

The U.S. military will have more money for training flights and field exercises under a stop-gap funding measure that does little to address the bigger challenge of automatic spending cuts, analysts said.

The Republican-controlled House on March 21 followed the Democrat-controlled Senate in approving legislation to fund the government for the rest of the fiscal year, which ends Sept. 30. The move came a week before the March 27 expiration of the current stop-gap measure, known as a continuing resolution, and helped to avoid the possibility of a government shutdown next week.

Without a full-year budget, the Defense Department was forced to operate the first half of fiscal 2013 at funding levels similar to last year, causing a shortfall in some accounts, including operation and maintenance. Now, it will be able to replenish and balance those accounts, though it still must grapple with the automatic cuts known as sequestration, according to Todd Harrison, a senior fellow at the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments in Washington.

“It’s better, but it doesn’t fully resolve the problem,” he said in a telephone interview. The military is “still going to see deferred maintenance, canceled training activities, civilian furloughs — most of the effects we were expecting from sequestration.”

The automatic spending cuts, mandated under deficit-reduction legislation passed in 2011, total about $1.2 trillion over the next decade, with about half coming from national-security programs.

The reductions, which began March 1, were to slice about $46 billion from the Defense Department budget in the remaining months of the fiscal year. With the passage of another continuing resolution, that figure is now probably closer to about $40 billion, according to Kevin Brancato, a defense analyst at Bloomberg Government in Washington.

“It’s softening sequestration for the military,” he said in a telephone interview. “It’s not softening sequestration for the contractors.”

The legislation gives the Defense Department more latitude in which areas of the budget to cut, though it’s unclear which lines will be affected. The White House has excluded military personnel pay from reductions and the Pentagon plans to limit the amount of savings that come from forcing civilian personnel to take unpaid leaves of absence known as furloughs.

“The only amount left is the cut from contractors,” Brancato said. “That’s the only pot of money left.”

Army and Marine Corps training activities, Air Force flying hours and Navy sailing days were curtailed because of the fiscal challenges in Washington, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said earlier this month, according to a Defense Department press release.

“If sequester continues and the continuing resolution is extended in its current form, other damaging effects will become apparent,” Hagel said, according to the release. “Our number one concern is our people — military and civilian.”

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Why do we see & hear nothing about the multi-BAZILLION$$$ salaries of Defense Contractor CEO’s…???…
There is PLENTY of waste, fraud, and abuse in the DOD contract process…
DOD needs a TOP-DOWN fiscal housecleaning…
Sequestration is just the start…
I don’t serve my Country for the high pay.…

Because Civilian Contractor Executive salary has absolutely nothing to do with government budget cuts. Maybe we should ask for a audit of McDonalds’ salaries for additional funds for the Marines. What planet do you live on that these items have some type of correlation?

>Because Civilian Contractor Executive salary has absolutely nothing to do with government budget cuts.

LOL where do you think the money comes from ?

Because 9 out of 10 of them have “Retired General” on their business cards…

In regards to our cut in Defense Spending, it is time for those who orchestrated this mess to “SHARE OUR PAIN”. 1– Cancel the public tax payer supported federal retirement program for all elected officials. 2– Cancel the public tax payer supported federal health care for all elected officials. 3– Mandate a 25% salary reduction for all federal elected officials. 4– Cancel all travel on government aircraft for any elected official except the president and the vice president. 5– Mandate a 2013 compliance of conversion of all federal and federally funded on road, non-emergency vehicles to CNG/ LNG fuels. God Bless the USA.

Nailed it Larry. The general officer corps should have a 3 or 5 year ban on employment with DoD contractors in order to slow down the revolving door. They hire on and offer their knowledge of the key players such as procurement & purchasing officers for going after things like base services & building contracts, as well as the medium and long range plan’s for future equipment purchasing proposals and operational requirements.

They have no right to complain when funding for JSF just gets bigger… amoung other troubled programs.

I agree the top DOD contractors are making millions but the low level contractors are being paid pennies. It seems that those with oversight do not care to make the necessary changes in policy to STOP the ABUSE of the system that’s in place!

There was a time when a red hot engineer could come out of school as a salary grade 1 or 2 and work their way up to a grade 20 and make the same as a senior vice president of the company. Often the CEO didn’t make more than some of the higher paid technical specialists. Now days we (the US taxpayers) pay the CEO’s around $25 million a year. They earn more taking a crap than most engineers working for them make in 2 weeks. Look at how your government pays them, though. If the engineer does a good job and keeps everything on-budget and on-schedule the company loses money. They can make 10 to 20 times more money by dragging things out and screwing them up. It is the CEO’s responsibility to make sure the engineers don’t f up a good thing. They put every impediment they can in the way of the good engineer. They make sure the ignorant and slothful are promoted, they encourage processes and procedures that waste time and energy, and they make sure the political wheels are greased so no one calls them on their fraud. So who is more valuable, the good, conscientious engineer, or the CEO that puts up every possible road block to keep that engineer from doing his job? The answer is obvious, it’s the CEO that makes the company profitable, not the engineer. Pay these companies more to f you over, and they’ll get that job done. Pay them more to deliver a good product on time and on budget and they’ll do that, and the salaries of the CEO’s will come down out of necessity, not goodwill.

Aerospace industry=Atlas Shrugged’s Twentieth Century Motor Company
//“From each according to his ability, to each according to his need“
//replace with
“From each according to his ability, to each according to his options”

The main similarity that strikes me between the defense industry and Atlas Shrugged is how everything you’d think would be good is bad, and everything you’d think is bad is somehow good. I weep for the brilliant young kids we get in this industry. They either have their career dreams shattered and leave within a couple of years or they become mindless zombies a few years after that. Truly our nation’s most valuable resource and we treat them like they were extruded from the stinkier end of a dog, but with descent starting salary.

John Galt=Kelly Johnson?

I’m a little concerned that STEM is going the way of the dodo. That has serious consequences in the next few decades.

I agree, but in the past most of our engineers were the children of engineers. When an engineer goes home from work every day broken and defeated from working in an industry that has absolutely ceased to make any sort of sense to him, his kids are going to pick that up. That doesn’t say to them, “grow up and be an engineer and have a great life.” Plus, these smart kids talk to other smart kids and tell them how unhappy their engineer parent is with their job, and it’s not like we’re landing men on the Moon or Mars or anyplace other than just being happy if we can get them back home without them looking like a piece of well burned toast. Then we outsource every private sector engineering job to China or India, or if they can’t do that they import engineers from those countries on H1B visas. Engineering salaries have been flat to declining for 20 years.

Honestly, how can you say that with a straight face? The government pays these contractors BILLIONS. Of course the tax payers money are going to the CEO’s. It’s not like the contractors top military sector CEO’s are getting paid from profits made in the civlian sector.

Pennies? I don’t think so. I’ve worked for many defense contractors and I never got paid “pennies.” Typically, I always made more than the federal employees. And these were not manager positions, just simple wrench turner type jobs.

I dare you to list the 10 largest Defense companies and show that 9 of them are retired Generals/Admirals. Go ahead… I am waiting

The smaller defense contractors are in a much more difficult position. They never get the big, politically broad based contracts that the big contractors get. They don’t have the clout the big contractors have, but they still have to meet all the rules and regulations that have been heaped on the industry to reign in the big contractors. That often puts a huge overhead burden on the small contractors.

What I don’t get is why the small contractors continue to play the game by the rules dictated by the big contractors? Why don’t the small contractors come out and say, “this is a bunch of crap”? After all, the game is wildly skewed in favor of the big programs like F-35, so why aren’t the small contractors banding together to expose the inherent waste of these big contracts. A lot of small contractors start out based on weapon concepts that they develop on their own. General Atomics designed the Predator on their own. Barrett came up with their whole line of sniper guns including the .50 cal semi-auto on their own. These have been big game changing weapons, but then they watch as these big companies bleed the DoD dry on these huge, wasteful programs like F-35 and they never say anything about how to fix the problem. Where are they? Why won’t they stand up?

This is a farce! It’s nothing more than bait and switch. It’s avoiding the real problem by throwing teasers out there to make people feel good. It’s not working and only makes matters worse. The irony of this charade is business, they’ll keep going at the expense while the military is unable to cover their defense responsibilities. Will there ever be an end to this travesty?

There needs to be congressional hearings on furloughs. It is interesting that DOD can refuse to spend congressionally appropriated money for labor and frulough folks in those covered budgets. Congress needs to see what is going on. Those parts of DOD that do not have the labor funds need to be cut, that is what the hearings should cover too. Investigations need to be done on why DOD does not follow the cuts that the law says.

DoD civilians will have to take 14 furlough days over the next several months, The Associated Press reports, down from the 22 originally planned. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel made the decision yesterday in response to the spending bill recently passed by Congress, which provides some additional flexibility to DoD as it deals with sequestration.

Some of the services considered doing away with furloughs altogether, according to the AP, but the idea was scrapped in an effort to treat all civilian employees equally across the department. The furloughs will begin in mid-June. Interesting that some one in DOD can refuse to spend labor money with some agencies when congress a[roprited he funds.

Depends on the company. Yes a very few companies are essentially defense only, but many more have large civilian components as well. The big defense contractors are so few, that even extradinarily high salaries of their upper management is still a drop in the bucket compared to the overall budget. Mostly though, their salaries are comparable to similarly placed non-defense executives.


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