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Thornberry, Military Service Chiefs warn of serious consequences without proper military funding

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Washington, April 6, 2017 | Jon Corley (202-740-2528) | comments
U.S. Congressman Mac Thornberry (R-Clarendon), chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, held a hearing with the Service Chiefs of all branches of the military to hear their assessments of the consequences of the failure to pass the 2017 Department of Defense Appropriations bill with supplemental funding. The appropriations bill passed the House earlier this year with strong bipartisan support, but it has stalled in the Senate.

“There is widespread agreement that funding cuts under the Budget Control Act, plus a series of continuing resolutions, coupled with the pace of required deployments have damaged the U.S. military.  I believe that the damage has gone far deeper than most of us realize, requiring more time and more money to repair than is generally expected,” Thornberry said in his opening statement.

He continued, “The immediate issue before us is the expiration of the current continuing resolution on April 28. The House passed a full appropriations bill for fiscal year 2017 on March 8 by a vote of 371 to 48. The Senate has not yet acted on it. As I have said before, I will not vote for a defense continuing resolution for the rest of 2017. It would simply do too much harm.”

As the Senate considers adopting the 2017 appropriations bill - or imposing billions in cuts that a Continuing Resolution (CR) would represent - Thornberry requested an assessment of the harm a full-year CR or failure to include the added funding requested by the President would do to our men and women in uniform. 

According to the Department of Defense the military would face the following consequences:

• Expected pay will be cut for service members, including promised bonuses.
• The Marine Corps will reduce its force size by more than 2,000 Marines. 
• The Navy will halt the recruitment of 1,000 sailors.  
• The Air Force will halt the recruitment of 2,000 airmen.
• The Air Force will be unable to retain pilots when it is already 1,500 pilots short.
• Only one deploying Army unit will be able to conduct critical training after July 15.
• Navy training cuts will result in 20-30 percent fewer qualified pilots than required.
• The Air Force may have to ground all non-deploying squadrons on May 1.
• The Navy will ground four of the nine non-deployed carrier air wings.
• Three ships will not be deployed, creating gaps in Europe and the Middle East.
• The Marine Corps will cease flight operations in the United States in July.
• Only one third of all Navy Aircraft will be fully mission capable.
• The Navy will cancel or delay critical repairs on 14 ships. 

You can download video of Thornberry’s full statement here.
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