• Compromise Defense Policy Bill Would Boost Force Levels

    Compromise Defense Policy Bill Would Boost Force Levels0

    The House and Senate Armed Services committees have settled on a compromise fiscal 2017 defense authorization bill that would halt planned cuts in the end strength of the Army, Air Force and Marines in the coming year, while jettisoning several provisions that were likely to draw a presidential veto. The conference report likely will be filed today. The House is expected to vote on the agreement Friday, and the Senate is expected to take it up next week, reported Military Times. Perhaps the most far-reaching impact of the legislation for defense communities is its rejection of the Pentagon’s plans to reduce the size of the Army and Marine Corps …

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  • Expanding Goals of BRAC Could Improve Its Political Prospects, O’Hanlon Says

    Expanding Goals of BRAC Could Improve Its Political Prospects, O’Hanlon Says0

    BRAC has always been a hard sell, a point borne out by the Obama administration’s failure to persuade lawmakers to authorize one or more base closure rounds over the past five years. Maybe if the Pentagon were to broaden the aims of the BRAC process from simply winnowing unneeded infrastructure to an effort that simultaneously reinvests in the neglected facilities at enduring installations. Reconceptualizing BRAC possibly could improve its prospects in Congress, Michael O’Hanlon, a senior fellow in foreign policy at the Brookings Institution, told On Base. A more comprehensive BRAC effort could both rightsize the military’s portfolio of installations as well as reverse the deterioration of facilities that have been underfunded in recent years as DOD has been forced to operate under a budget cap …

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  • Stopgap Spending Bill to Avert Shutdown Passes House, Senate0

    After a month of negotiations on a stopgap measure to keep the government running at the start of fiscal 2017, the House and Senate on Wednesday approved a short-term spending package that will now go to President Obama for his signature. The continuing resolution (CR) will provide lawmakers 10 weeks to complete work on FY 2017 appropriations and hash out a handful of unresolved policy issues …

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  • House Leadership’s Support for Sage Grouse Provision Frustrates Policy Bill Negotiations

    House Leadership’s Support for Sage Grouse Provision Frustrates Policy Bill Negotiations0

    The greater sage grouse, a black and brown grassland bird whose habitat encompasses parts of 11 western states, has taken on an oversized role in House-Senate negotiations over a conference agreement for the fiscal 2017 defense authorization bill. The House’s Republican leadership is insisting the compromise bill retain language from the House version barring the sage grouse from being placed on the endangered species list through 2025 even though the issue is only loosely connected to the use of military training grounds. House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) has said he would not allow the final version of the annual defense policy to be considered on the chamber floor without that provision, in a bid to protect energy, mining and ranching interests, reports Defense News …

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  • More Marines Would Be Optimal, Review Finds

    More Marines Would Be Optimal, Review Finds0

    A new force structure assessment has concluded that the Marine Corps ideally could grow by 8,000 troops, but the service still plans on operating with an end strength of 182,000 Marines. “The path we’re on is to go to 182,000 Marines,” Lt. Gen. Robert Walsh, commander of Marine Corps Combat Development Command, told Military.com. “That’s what we’re going to be funded for; that’s what we’re allowed to do by Congress. But in a perfect world … we came up with about 190,000; that is the optimized force,” Walsh said. The increase would help the service keep up with a high pace of operations, and the need to expand its cyber and technological capabilities …

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