Dear American Legion Family members and friends,
Once again, the Department of Defense (DoD) may be faced with another continuing resolution (CR), which would compromise national defense strategy and undermine improving quality of life issues for servicemembers.
In essence, a CR would cap funding at the previous year's levels, providing none of the approved increases and preventing any new programs from beginning that were authorized in the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2024.
This comes at a time when America is facing multiple national security threats such as China’s aggression, Russian provocation and the possibility of the Israel-Hamas war spreading.
It is not the time to be reducing our military capability. But that is exactly what the CR would do.
Consider this: Under a CR, our nation’s defense programs would receive $26.6 billion (3%) less than the $886.3 billion authorized by the NDAA.
This stop-start-stop-start game also disrupts the hard-working employees of DoD, as well as the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). They are the backbone to the services provided to our veterans and the defense of our nation. Their ability to carry out their critical work should not be subjected to the whims of a polarized Congress.
Speaking of Congress, I am scheduled to provide testimony on behalf of our great organization on March 13. If Congress does not sufficiently pass funding to support our military and VA, you better believe I will make our feelings known loud and clear.
After all, resolution after resolution opposes such inaction by Congress. Among them:
· Our steadfast support for improving quality of life for servicemembers and their families, Resolution 85, approved by the National Executive Committee (NEC) in August 2016.
· Our call for a DoD budget, based on the 2022 National Defense Strategy, Resolution 11, approved by the NEC last May.
· Our military commitments in the Indo-Pacific region, Resolution 118, approved by the NEC in August 2018.
Last but not least, the CR would present a devastating setback for operations by the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA). In order to fulfill ongoing missions, DPAA received a $40 million increase in budgeting for FY24. But that would be wiped out due to the CR. Another CR will only continue to hurt our national security.
There is no better time than right now to do the right thing for America, its military members and their families. Congress must pass an actual spending bill to ensure our military is properly funded throughout this year.
Daniel J. Seehafer
American Legion National Commander