Political squabbling over the defense budget may screw you out of your hard-earned benefits

Military Benefits

VIDEO: Meet one of contenders for the Army's Next Generation Squad Weapon

Nothing sends chills down the spines of senior military leaders quite like the words "continuing resolution."

While Congress and the White House continue battling over a seemingly-endless stream of drama, Washington is watching the clock tick down to Nov. 21 when government funding from the current continuing resolution signed in late September runs out.

And for the Army, a continued delay in funding doesn't just throw a wrench in the wheel — it knocks the wheel completely off and sets it on fire.

A breakdown put together by the Army, which was provided to Task & Purpose and first reported by Defense News says that all six of the service's modernization priorities would see "severe impacts" in the event of a year-long continuing resolution.

Also on the line: Nearly $600 million in military personnel funding.

If there is a yearlong CR, the Army's breakdown says, there could be a $597 million reduction in active-duty and reserve entitlements — meaning salaries, housing allowances, bonuses, and more.

"The impact slows accessions and hampers recruiting and retention incentives," the Army document says. "Maintaining a competitive overall compensation package ensures the long term viability of the all-volunteer force."

A yearlong CR would also prevent a $132 million award of 4,400 new living quarters, both for families and single soldiers; delay maintenance of up to 269 Army family housing units; and more.

This directly targets what Army leaders have said is their priority: People.

The start of 79 new programs would also be delayed, and 37 other programs wouldn't see the planned increase in production. Readiness would take a hit, the Army's breakdown says, while training exercises would be disrupted, and hiring and recruitment plans would be derailed.

As Breaking Defense put it, the impeachment drama engulfing Washington "is sucking the oxygen out of the room, leaving regular order gasping for air." But the disagreements over military funding being used for Trump's wall at the southern border, along with an array of other things, certainly don't help.

On Wednesday, Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.), the chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, blamed the House impeachment inquiry for putting the defense spending bill in a "partisan gridlock," Politico reported.

"If the House sends [the Senate] articles of impeachment, that would eat up all the time in December, and it could spill into January," Inhofe said, per Politico. "That would mean that we go beyond the deadline that our troops needed to be funded, and that is a reality that we've never had to face before."

A C-17 Globemaster III assigned to the 911th Airlift Wing is towed across the flightline at March Air Reserve Base, California, Jan. 7, 2020. (Air Force photo by Joshua J. Seybert)

March Air Reserve Base in California will host nearly 200 U.S. citizens who were flown out of Wuhan, China due to the rapidly-spreading coronavirus, a Defense Department spokeswoman announced on Wednesday.

"March Air Reserve Base and the Department of Defense (DoD) stand ready to provide housing support to Health and Human Services (HHS) as they work to handle the arrival of nearly 200 people, including Department of State employees, dependents and U.S. citizens evacuated from Wuhan, China," said Pentagon press secretary Alyssa Farah in a statement on Wednesday.

Wuhan is the epicenter of the coronavirus, which is a mild to severe respiratory illness that's associated with symptoms of fever, cough and shortness of breath, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The virus has so far killed 132 people and infected nearly 6,000 others in China, according to news reports.

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