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How start-and-stop funding affects the Pentagon

U.S. Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis.
U.S. Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis. Photo: Brendan Smialowski / AFP / Getty Images

The Defense Department has had its spending disrupted by temporary spending bills for several years, and the continuing resolution lawmakers passed in late December leaves it stuck with the same problem. Now, about three months behind when Congress needed to pass a federal budget, it needs to determine how much funding the Pentagon will receive when the most recent CR expires this Friday.

Why it matters: Stopgap funding squeezes offices’ operations in the Pentagon across the board — it slows new acquisitions programs, it prevents new starts to programs, damages readiness, disrupts planned growth for programs, and disrupts implementing orders from the top of the DoD to change focus. But at this point Congress may be barreling towards another CR.