source:UPDATE BEGINS: “This is the fastest de facto budget amendment I can recall, at least for the Navy programs that I cover,” said
“As I understand it, the Navy is now requesting two LCSs for FY18, even though the Navy’s FY18 budget as submitted funds one LCS,” O’Rourke said. But, he said, whether the required funding, some $541 million, will have to come out of other Navy programs is still unclear.UPDATE ENDS
“I’ve never seen anything like this in the eight-nine budgets I’ve been involved in,” agreed one Pentagon official.
“Late in the
There were persistent rumors that OMB would add a second LCS, but Navy officials I spoke to yesterday denied them. Just this morning, the Chief of Naval Operations,
“It was unclear to what degree Stackley and Richardson knew about the switch,” the Pentagon official told me. “Sometime between the CNO’s testimony (in the morning) and Ms. Stiller and Vice Adm. Lescher’s testimony (in the afternoon), OMB told the Navy to articulate the new position.”
Results vs. Process
On the one hand, in a defense world where it can take years of legislative and bureaucratic wrangling to change an established program, it’s refreshing to see an administration respond to criticism and change course literally overnight. On the other hand, it’s alarming to see such poor communication between the White House and the Navy. And it’s confusing to see such vague, ad hoc pronouncements where taxpayer dollars and national security are involved.
If OMB really wants to add a ship to the budget request, there’s a well-established process for submitting a budget amendment. This isn’t it. If OMB just wants to encourage Congress to
UPDATE BEGINS But even the Hill needs help, argued the source familiar with administration discussions. “If one (LCS) is in the budget and you’re trying to get three total, the Hill would struggle to find the money to add two. That’s a huge lift for the appropriators, the authorizers,” the source argued. “If two are in the request and they just have to find one…they can bridge that gap.” The Hill’s successfully added single ships in past years on many occasions, both LCS and other classes.
So, the source concluded, “the Hill is now in a position to ensure that we have the minimum sustainment rate of three, and there will be no layoffs, and we can move on to
“All I can say is, the process may not have been ideal, but the end result is far, far better than if we had had a simple process and we had layoffs in Wisconsin and Alabama,” the source said. “So I would trade a little bit of a haphazard process for
Feb 11, 2017
indeed... (and I of course know at the same time it's a job program!) ...