• 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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  • Air Force Outlook for Modernizing Fleet Likely to Prompt Showdown with Capitol Hill

    Air Force Outlook for Modernizing Fleet Likely to Prompt Showdown with Capitol Hill0

    The Air Force plans to shrink it fleet by 235 planes over the next five years as it sheds legacy aircraft to make way for the F-35, its fifth-generation fighter. The service plans to divest 232 T-38 trainers, 166 A-10 Warthogs and 160 F-16s over the next five years, while adding 185 F-35s, according to its fiscal 2017 budget request. The long-term plan is nothing new. For years, officials have talked about the need to keep the F-35, KC-46A air refueling tanker and the B-21 bomber on track, reported Defense News. But Congress could step in to slow the Air Force’s plans to retire legacy aircraft, as it has to spare the A-10 close air support aircraft in recent years …

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  • Hampton Roads Looks to Diversify Economy following Defense Downturn

    Hampton Roads Looks to Diversify Economy following Defense Downturn0

    In past decades, a decline in work at shipyards and other military-dependent industries in the Hampton Roads region stemming from a downturn in defense spending has always been followed by a future upswing in the Pentagon’s budget. But for the first time since World War II, leaders in southeastern Virginia are looking for new industries to diversify the region’s economic base as it becomes clear that defense spending no longer will supply 50 percent or more of the local economy. “We haven’t had a concerted effort in the past because, quite frankly, we haven’t needed one,” said Bryan Stephens, the head of the Hampton Roads Chamber of Commerce …

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  • Budget Issues Are Hampering Modernization, Readiness, Service Chiefs Testify

    Budget Issues Are Hampering Modernization, Readiness, Service Chiefs Testify0

    The combination of uncertainty resulting from Congress’ reliance on stopgap spending bills and stringent fiscal constraints stemming from statutory budget caps has harmed readiness and jeopardized national security, the military’s most senior officers told lawmakers Thursday. “Eight years of continuing resolutions, including a year of sequestration, have driven additional costs and time into just about everything that we do,” Chief of Naval Operations Adm. John Richardson told the Senate Armed Services Committee. “The services are essentially operating in three fiscal quarters per year now. Nobody schedules anything important in the first quarter. The destruction that this uncertainty imposes translates directly into risk to our Navy and our nation …

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  • Army Posts Outline Changes to MWR Programs to Deal with Funding Cuts

    Army Posts Outline Changes to MWR Programs to Deal with Funding Cuts0

    A handful of Army installations have outlined planned reductions in family and morale, welfare and recreation (MWR) programs as the service expects to cope with a $105 million cut in fiscal 2017 funding for such activities. On Aug. 31, Lt. Gen. Kenneth Dahl, commander of Installation Management Command, announced the Army would be absorbing a 23 percent cut in its budget for family and recreation programs, with the funding shifted to higher priorities that support readiness. Fort Carson, Colo., for example, “will continue to rely significantly on borrowed military manpower from the 4th Infantry Division to sustain hours of operation and reduced pricing in our fitness centers and aquatics programs.” The reduction in overhead costs for MWR support services has resulted in a substantially smaller workforce at the post …

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