US military leaders warn Congress on budget

April 6, 2017 11:03 am

President
Donald Trump (L), Army General Mark Milley (C), Vice President Mike
Pence (R) salute during the presidential inaugural parade in Washington,
DC, January 20, 2017. (Photo by AFP)

Senior US commanders
have expressed frustration over the uncertainty that surrounds the
Pentagon’s budget, warning that the current situation would impair
readiness of the troops. 

US Army Chief of Staff General
Mark Milley told the House Armed Services Committee on Wednesday that
Congress’ failure to pass President Donald Trump’s budget would amount
to “professional malpractice.”
Milley was one of the four
commanders that warned the panel about the consequences of not passing
the 2017 budget bill by the end of April and opting instead for a
stopgap funding measure.
Trump’s proposed budget includes a $30
billion increase in the military spending that would push the base
Pentagon budget for fiscal 2017 to $541 billion.
The raise comes at the expense of cuts to vital public funding, an issue that has drew warnings from both sides of the aisle.
Milley
told lawmakers on Wednesday that continuing the stopgap funding would
bring to a halt the Army’s basic training by summer.
Also present
at the session was the Air Force’s General David Goldfein, who said
without the new budget units not actively preparing to go into conflicts
could be grounded by the same deadline.
A full-year continuation
meant that the US Navy would not have the money needed to complete
delivery of several ships and avoid buying numerous new one, warned
Chief of Naval Operations Admiral John Richardson.
General Robert
Neller, the commandant of the Marine Corps, told lawmakers that the lack
of a budget would delay construction of specialized amphibious warships
that Marines use during operations.
Shortly before the testimony
began, an Air Force F-16 fighter jet crashed during a training mission
southwest of Washington’s Joint Base Andrews.
Referring to the
attack, Goldfein reminded the lawmakers that it takes a lot of time and
money to maintain the Air Force’s fleet of aircraft, which are on
average 27 years old.
Trump has pledged a “massive” increase in
the pentagon’s budget spending to implement “the greatest military
build-up in American history.”
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