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May 30, 2006

Heh. Rome burns, the Congressional Nero fiddles...

Here's one way the services play politics when their Masters fiddle - like going home on break with no budget supplemental. Below are the actions the Army will take in order to stretch it's funds if Congress keeps dilly-dallying on the issue.

The interesting thing is - absent a train wreck as happened early in the first Clinton Administration when the Republicans forced a governmental shut-down, what the delay really does is make it harder to actually debate the budget, as the pressure to get the supplemental in place becomes overwhelming. Of course, depending on how they go about it - it's also then easier to lard it up with pork... because the time crunch makes it harder to knock that stuff out of there. Sausage-making, from slaughter to finished product...

VCSA Sends:

As you are already aware, the Congress did not complete the FY06 Emergency Supplemental prior to leaving for the Memorial Day recess. Although we anticipate that Congress will finish the bill in June, we need to take action now to control spending in the Operation and Maintenance, Army (OMA) appropriation and stay within the law. In addition to an approved reprogramming action that will move $1.4 billion into OMA, we must progressively restrict spending over the next month. This will enable us to maintain the solvency of Army accounts pending receipt of the supplemental and will ensure that available resources are spent on the highest priority missions.

I expect all holders of OMA, to include GWOT funds, to reduce spending while ensuring that life, health and safety issues are covered. The priority is to continue critical support to ongoing operations and to readiness activities for units and personnel identified for the OIF/OEF 06-08 rotation. Exceptions may be made for those actions commands must take now to posture the Army for OIF/OEF 07-09. The following provides time-phased guidance for the minimum action that holders of OMA funds must take.

1. Beginning 26 May:

a. Do not order non-critical spare parts or supplies, unless the organization or unit is deployed or has a published deployment date. Only requisition spare parts to bring equipment to Fully Mission Capable (FMC), not to 10/20, level. For supplies, requisition only what is necessary to accomplish assigned theater missions. All units should draw down on-hand inventories first.

b. CG, Army Materiel Command, must advise of above actions' impacts to the Single Stock Fund and the Army Working Capital Fund. Deliver this assessment to me no later than 6 June.

c. Postpone or cancel all non-essential travel, training and conferences.

Use discretion if cancellation or postponement requires payment of cancellation fees.

d. Stop shipments of goods unless necessary to support deployed forces or units with identified deployment dates. If movement is necessary, restrict the shipment to the least costly method that will not create unacceptable operational risk.

2. Beginning 6 June:

a. Hold all civilian hiring actions. You may continue recruiting efforts but cease all final offers of employment.

b. Postpone summer hires until receipt of the supplemental.

3. Beginning 15 June:

a. Release all temporary civilian employees funded with OMA or performing OMA-funded work. This includes depot operations.

b. Freeze all contract awards and new task orders on existing contracts.

Process solicitation of new contracts only up to the point of award.

c. Suspend the use of government purchase cards.

4. Beginning 26 June:

a. Release service contract employees, to include recruiters, if doing so will not carry penalties or termination costs equal to or in excess of the cost of continuing the contract. You may retain a minimum number of personnel performing mission-essential services.

b. Consult your legal adviser as you implement these actions.

c. TRADOC, M&RA and G-1 must detail no later than this date the series of actions the Army will take beginning in July to trim MILPERS expenditures.

They should include: a cessation in recruiting; deferment of reenlistments; cancellation of all PCS moves; and a promotion freeze.

These are painful actions but they are absolutely necessary in order to continue operations during the month of June. This measured response will provide appropriate controls on our spending of OMA resources and will minimize the impact to our mission. Through your leadership, we will sustain the Global War on Terrorism during this period of constrained spending. We expect the Supplemental eventually will provide the Army more than $36 billion in additional resources to continue the GWOT. Please direct any questions you may have to the Assistant Secretary of the Army (Financial Management and Comptroller).

I will review weekly our accounts and keep each MACOM commander apprised.

GEN Cody

Oh, full disclosure - yeah, *my* tasks will be at risk here, too. Fortunately, I work for a firm that won't just tell me to go home for no pay or burn vacation. The downside to the government is (all snarks aside about whether I'm a bargain or not - "I *am*" he said smugly) is that *if* it comes to that (I'm betting it doesn't) they may not get some of those people back, they having been put to new tasks - which will have downstream ripple and cost effects.