Stiller: Navy Working Three Budgets Amid Topline, BCA Uncertainty
By RICHARD R. BURGESS, Managing Editor
ARLNGTON, Va. — The Navy currently is working on budgets for three fiscal years but is still awaiting a topline and hoping for relief from the caps of the Budget Control Act of 2011, the senior Navy acquisition official said.
“The current continuing resolution, which has unfortunately become the norm, will expire at the end of April,” Allison Stiller, principal civilian deputy to the assistant secretary of the Navy for Research Development & Acquisition (ASN(RDA)) and currently performing the duties of the ASN(RDA), said Feb. 23 to an audience at a Navy League Special Topic Breakfast about acquisition and research issues. “We are working an amended budget submission for the amended [fiscal] ‘17 budget, which should be delivered to [Capitol] Hill in a matter of days.
“This amended budget is intended to address readiness challenges that all the services have been facing,” Stiller said. “Our [fiscal] ’18 budget is being shaped to address fleet priorities and the priorities of the new administration and will be submitted to Congress in early May. The [fiscal] ’19 budget is also in development.
“Our Force Structure Assessment has been updated and indicates we need 355 ships,” she said. “Our prior budgets were focused on getting to a 308-ship Navy. One would naturally conclude that, in order to get to a higher fleet inventory, our budget needs to be increased. But, as all three budgets are being worked, we cannot lose sight that the Budget Control Act is still the law of the land. This puts tremendous pressure on budget development, and while we hear rumblings of relief, we cannot let up on our focus on program affordability and cost control.”
Stiller said the Navy already was working on the 2018 budget as President Barack Obama’s administration departed, but is “looking at different alternative budgets for ’18 depending on what the topline will be. We expect we will get that guidance when from OMB [the Office of Management and Budget].”
The OMB director, Mick Mulvaney, was confirmed Feb. 16 by the Senate.
If no Budget Control Act relief is forthcoming, Stiller said, “we will build the force we can. It’s not the force we need and we’ve said that. Even if we do get topline relief, we can’t walk away from all the work we’ve been doing on affordably buying what we buy and on cost control. We’ve got to keep that up or we will never get there.”
Stiller said any new strategy set by President Donald Trump’s administration “will influence the [2019 budget] greatly as we go through the Force Structure Assessment in ’19. I’m not sure that would change our ship count too much in ’19, but overall it might.”