Admiral: Budget Uncertainty Slowing Down Navy Programs
By DANIEL P. TAYLOR, Seapower Special Correspondent
NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. — A top Navy admiral promised a slew of new initiatives to streamline acquisition and speed capabilities to the fleet during an April 3 address at the Sea-Air-Space Exposition, but he acknowledged that the uncertain budget environment continues to hamstring the sea service.
The Navy currently operating is under a continuing resolution (CR) that caps spending at prior-year levels and blocks new starts. It is a process the sea service has gone through virtually every year this century. Rear Adm. Michael Moran, program executive officer for tactical aircraft programs, said that dealing with 30 to 40 months of CRs in the last eight years has taken a toll on getting capabilities to the fleet.
“Absolutely, there’s no question,” Moran said when asked if the late budgets are impacting the speed of acquisition. “It’s very hard to go ahead and plan and execute programs, not just for us but if you look at our industry partners, how does industry invest if we don’t have a stable budget and long-term outlooks on what we’re going to procure?”
Moran has asked Congress for some flexibility in the form of an “anomalies list” in the future to enable the Navy to fund critical programs under a CR.
“When you’re stuck to a previous year’s budget, and you have new starts, you can’t start them, and that means you delay programs,” he said. “So one of the things I asked Congress when I testified: if you’re going to continue with the CR, I’d really like to see an anomalies list created. We need funding in place outside of last year’s budget to support them. We are starting to have that conversation.”
However, Moran emphasized that his department will do all it can to improve the speed of acquisition, and that there will be a marked difference in the coming months.
“Rapid will become the new norm,” he said. “And it will become the norm soon. ... We’re changing the game of looking for those capabilities to go faster. Now is the time. I’m committed to it, I’m really optimistic we can make it happen, and you will see examples in the coming year.”