Bob Hale, former Department of Defense comptroller and senior executive advisor at Booz Allen Hamilton, discusses the possibility that DoD will be fully funded by the budget deadline, and what the department’s spending priorities will be in 2019.
If Congress can pass military appropriations by September 30th, it will be the first time in several years that the Department of Defense will have budgeted funding. Bob Hale, former DoD comptroller and senior executive advisor at Booz Allen Hamilton says that while things are progressing very well, Congress isn’t quite out of the woods. “It wastes time and it wastes money to do continuing resolutions, so not having to do one would certainly be helpful… before we break out the champagne, it’s important to remember we’re not there yet and there’s the possibility that there will be controversy in the amendments, there could be some this week that could stall it. And then there’s the unpredictability of the president. He has said twice to shut down the government if he doesn’t get the border wall funding… it could break the momentum” Once they have the funding, they need to decide what to do with it. Hale says that the president’s Space Force plan will be a priority for next year and that it will compete for funding with the business reforms that Secretary Mattis wants. “If the department and the nation chose to go to a Space Force, it will surely add to overhead. How they do it matters… we are talking tens, hundreds of millions, no matter how we do it,” said Hale. “We have an administration that placed, rightly, a good deal of priority, as have past administrations, on trying to cut back on overhead and potentially move in the opposite direction with not a lot of major proposals… that are going to get them substantial overhead reduction.”