Issue Briefs

Army Warns Congress Its Budget Behavior Will Get Soldiers Killed

Army Warns Congress Its Budget Behavior Will Get Soldiers Killed (From Forbes)

Loren Thompson

February 16, 2017

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

Loren B. Thompson is Senior Adviser of GPI , Chief Operating Officer of the non-profit Lexington Institute and Chief Executive Officer of Source Associates, a for-profit consultancy. Prior to holding his present positions, he was Deputy Director of the Security Studies Program at Georgetown University and taught graduate-level courses in strategy, technology and media affairs at Georgetown. He has also taught at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government. Mr. Thompson holds doctoral and masters degrees in government from Georgetown University and a bachelor of science degree in political science from Northeastern University.


The views and opinions expressed in this issue brief are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the policy of GPI.