Congress hasn’t managed to complete a federal budget in time for the beginning of the new fiscal year since 1997. The partisan dysfunction that has discredited Capitol Hill in the eyes of many voters is so serious that it threatens to get soldiers killed. That’s what the vice-chief of staff of the Army told congressional armed-services committees last week, warning that his own service may be forced to send soldiers into combat that are under-trained and poorly equipped for lack of money. His main complaint was budget caps mandated by Congress in 2011 that undercut readiness and starve technology accounts, but failure to pass annual budgets in a timely fashion is interfering with the military’s ability to use what money it has efficiently. All the military services are voicing similar concerns, however Congress seems too absorbed in political squabbles to grasp the potential human consequences of its budget behavior. I have written a commentary for Forbes here.
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