USA — Lack of Supplemental Funding Poses Problems for Pentagon

WASHINGTON, July 14, 2010 — Because Con­gress has yet to pass a sup­ple­men­tal fund­ing bill, the Defense Depart­ment must start tak­ing mea­sures to ensure unin­ter­rupt­ed war oper­a­tions, Pen­ta­gon Press Sec­re­tary Geoff Mor­rell said today.

If Con­gress does­n’t act on the fis­cal 2010 request for sup­ple­men­tal war fund­ing, Defense Depart­ment employ­ees may not get paid, Mor­rell said dur­ing a news con­fer­ence.

Defense Sec­re­tary Robert M. Gates is dis­ap­point­ed that Con­gress did not pass the sup­ple­men­tal spend­ing bill before its Fourth of July break, Mor­rell told reporters.

“He’s very con­cerned about the predica­ment that puts us in,” he said. “And in order to assure that war oper­a­tions are not inter­rupt­ed, the ser­vices will now have to begin cash-flow­ing oper­at­ing costs for war activ­i­ties using their base bud­gets.” This means that the ser­vices will begin bor­row­ing mon­ey from fourth-quar­ter accounts to pay for cur­rent oblig­a­tions, but even that won’t be enough, he added.

“We project that cer­tain Army and Marine Corps accounts will run dry in August,” Mor­rell said. “So we urgent­ly need Con­gress to pass the sup­ple­men­tal before mem­bers leave town for the next break in August.”

In the mean­time, he added, the depart­ment is oblig­at­ed to begin plan­ning what to do if Con­gress does not pass the spend­ing mea­sure. “Need­less to say, all of this is extra­or­di­nar­i­ly dis­rup­tive to the depart­ment,” he said.

This is not the first time this has hap­pened, Mor­rell said. “While we have faced this cir­cum­stance in years past, the sit­u­a­tion we find our­selves in this year is much more dif­fi­cult, because it comes so late in the fis­cal year,” he explained. The fis­cal year ends Sept. 30.

“The depart­ment has a supreme oblig­a­tion to pro­tect this nation and sup­port the hun­dreds of thou­sands of per­son­nel that are deployed in harm’s way,” Mor­rell said. “We will take every step pos­si­ble to ful­fill these oblig­a­tions in the months ahead until this mat­ter is set­tled in Wash­ing­ton.

“It may involve ask­ing a lot of hard-work­ing peo­ple in this depart­ment to report to duty with­out an abil­i­ty to pay them, or oth­er extreme mea­sures we would rather avoid,” he con­tin­ued. “But we will get the job done, includ­ing in Iraq and Afghanistan and wher­ev­er else we oper­ate around the world.”

U.S. Depart­ment of Defense
Office of the Assis­tant Sec­re­tary of Defense (Pub­lic Affairs)