• 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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  • 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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  • 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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  • Experts Battle over True State of Military Readiness

    Experts Battle over True State of Military Readiness0

    A story in Stars and Stripes this week takes a balanced look at the debate over whether the nation’s military is in the throes of a readiness crisis. For much of the year, the House Armed Services Committee has delivered a steady drumbeat of press releases and links to news stories highlighting shortcomings in military readiness. “The rate of deployments has remained consistently high for over a decade, but the military resources available to meet those threats are declining. As it stands, we cannot meet combatant commander requirements, reliably maintain our equipment, or fully train and care for our troops,” Committee Chairman Mac Thornberry (R-Texas) said earlier this month after the Government Accountability Office released a report on the military’s effort to rebuild its low readiness levels …

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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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