The first ten months of 2017 have posed daunting challenges for the U.S. Navy in the Pacific with the deaths of 17 sailors and multiple serious mishaps. Some lawmakers have pointed to these tragedies as evidence of a “readiness crisis,” resulting in part from insufficient funding from Congress. This paper analyzes the Navy’s readiness funding for maintenance and training within the Navy’s operation and maintenance (O&M) budget relative to historical norms and normalized for the size of the fleet.
The Department of Defense (DOD) faces a strategic choice: whether to focus on modernization for high-tech conflicts with China and Russia or expand forces and improve readiness to meet a superpower’s commitments for ongoing conflicts and crisis response. In their FY 2018 budgets, the services all complain that they are too small for the demands being put on them and hedge toward expanding forces and readiness. In the new DOD strategy being developed for 2019 and beyond, the services hope to pursue all three goals—expand forces, improve readiness, and increase modernization—but the fiscal future is highly uncertain, and they will likely have to make difficult trade-offs.
On September 8, President Trump signed into law H.R. 601, the “Continuing Appropriations Act, 2018 and Supplemental Appropriations for Disaster Relief Requirements Act, 2017.” The bill addresses several timely concerns, providing $15.25 billion in emergency funding for disaster relief, temporarily suspending the federal debt ceiling, and funding the federal government with a continuing resolution (CR) that runs through December 8. Todd Harrison and Seamus Daniels address critical questions about the continuing resolution and what it means for defense spending in the 2018 fiscal year.
As the Trump administration takes office, D360’s Transition45 series provides insights and recommendations from our scholars on what the new administration should change in U.S. defense strategy, forces, operations, and institutions.Learn More
Last Updated October 27, 2017
Last Updated January 18, 2017
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