The Senate failed to muster enough support to end debate and vote on a continuing resolution to fund the federal government Tuesday, raising the possibility of a government shutdown by the end of this week. Only 45 of the necessary 60 senators voted to consider passage of the CR before the full Senate, according to Reuters. Air Force leaders have been warning that even a successful CR could create a dangerous lack of stability for the nation’s armed services. At ASC16 last week, Secretary of the Air Force Deborah Lee James said, “if it is a short-term continuing resolution, let’s say three months or so, we can manage our way through that.” She continued, “But I also want to tell you that a long-term CR would be very, very damaging for the Air Force.” James said the Air Force would lose $1.3 billion in requested Fiscal 2017 funding under a long-term continuing resolution. James also said a long-term CR “would cap the production of the KC-46, … would prevent us from devoting the right amount of funds to the B-21 next year, and delay about 50 or so military construction projects, some of which would impact the F-35.” In the end, James insisted “we need our [authorization and appropriations] bills as soon as possible, and we need them certainly by the December time-frame.” The government last shutdown in 2013. The partial-shutdown lasted 17 days. (See also: Shutdown Could Put US at Risk of Cyber Attack.)
More than 100 B-21s will be needed if the nation is to avoid creating a high demand/low capacity capability, panelists said on a Hudson Institute webinar. The B-21's flexibility, stealth, range and payload will be in high demand for a wide range of missions, both traditional and new.