WASHINGTON — The Pentagon has sent Congress a list of programs that would itwill require cCongressional approval to fund under a continuing resolution (CR) – programs that would otherwise be blocked if lawmakers use the budget mechanism to fund the government once fiscal year 2015 ends, a scenario that appears increasingly more and more likely.

The 12-page list of "appropriation anomalies" covers various items that would require special dispensation from Congress to be funded under a continuing resolution (CR), including new start programs for weapons, vehicles, advanced sensors and construction. Other provisions would extend authority to fund intelligence programs and support foreign military partnerships.

Also included is the authority to transfer funds from elsewhere in the DoD budget into these programs, as under a continuing resolution, the government would operate at be under at the same funding levels as the prior year.

Major items on the list include the Army's recently-awarded Joint Light Tactical Vehicle program, several key Air Force space programs, as well as certain Navy shipbuilding funds and technological upgrades.

The list was sent by the Defense Department comptroller's office to Congress in early August, according to one source.

The Pentagon has grown accustomed to operating, at least in the short term, under a CR. The budgeting mechanism has been used every year since 2009. Pentagon officials have urged Congress not to rely on the CR, as it creates havoc in the long-term planning of programs and acquisition.

As the Air Force continues to expand into the space domain, for example, a CR would hamper the service’s efforts to consolidate all its major space procurement programs under one umbrella. The Air Force’s fiscal 2016 FY-16 budget submission requests a five-year availability for the new "Space Procurement" account, which would include major satellite acquisition programs.

In the event of a CR, the Air Force would be unable to implement and fund the new appropriation, which could lead to contract award and scheduling delays, the document states.

"This will create cost growth and delays in fielding assets for the warfighter, the opposite of what was intended by creating this account," the document states.

A separate account is needed because space systems are highly complex and require decades to properly design and build, the Air Force argues.

"A new appropriation presents an opportunity to more closely match the obligation schedules of major space procurement programs," according to the Pentagon comptroller’s overview of the fiscal 2016 FY-16 budget request. "Since space systems are highly complex and can take a decade to design and build, the Budget requests 5-year availability for the Space Procurement, Air Force account."

Other programs the Air Force wants to protect in the event of a CR include: a Global Hawk Airborne Signals Intelligence Payload upgrade; cyber command activities; a Joint Space Operations Center mission systems upgrade; the Space Based Space Surveillance follow-on; and the Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle.

Speaking on Aug. 24, Air Force Secretary Deborah Lee James warned that around 50 new start programs could be threatened by a CR.

"A full-year CR would provide for our Air Force, really our military, even less money than the sequestration budget would provide," James said at the time. "So all around that would be a bad deal and we have to get the full-up appropriation and the full-up authorization passed at roughly the president's budget level."

More In Home