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Posts Tagged ‘automatic spending cuts’

Compensation Panel Not Aiming to Solve Pentagon Budget Challenges, Commissioner Says

  • December 1, 2014
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The Defense Department should not pin its hopes on finding major budget savings in the final report of a nine-member commission established by Congress to review military compensation, according to one member of the commission. “We’re going to work on what’s important to properly recruit and retain and resource the force necessary for the war after next,” former Congressman Stephen Buyer (R), who represented Indiana for nine terms, told Stars and Stripes. “I have told leadership at the Pentagon that their present budget issue is not my problem. Don’t look to me to solve your present budget problem. If you’ve got issues with sequester, then you deal with that with the Congress. That’s not my job …

Army Realignment Should Be Conducted under BRAC, Community Leaders Say

  • November 23, 2014
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The decision-making process the Army is using to shrink its active-duty end strength to 420,000 by fiscal 2020 lacks transparency, say leaders in two Army communities that stand to lose thousands of troops as officials decide what installations will lose up to 70,000 soldiers. Instead, the Army’s force structure realignments should be made through a formal BRAC round, they say. “No one is comfortable with the process of this whole drawdown and the way it’s being managed. The citizens at large, Congress, the Army — nobody’s happy with this process. … The meat-cleaver approach that is being taken to defense spending is unconscionable,” said John Crutchfield, president and CEO of the Greater Killeen Chamber of Commerce …

Emerging Threats Upend Assumptions behind Sequestration, Odierno Says

  • November 19, 2014
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Reductions in the size of the Army forced by the Budget Control Act spending caps need to be reconsidered given the emergence of multiple global threats over the past year, Chief of Staff Gen. Ray Odierno said Wednesday. Many of the assumptions made when officials decided to shrink the size of the active-duty Army — initially to 490,000 and now to about 440,000 — have not played out as planned. “We made assumptions that we wouldn’t be using Army forces in Europe the way we used to. We made assumptions that we wouldn’t go back into Iraq. We are back in Iraq. Here we are worried about Russia again …

Armed Services Leaders Split over Military Compensation Reforms

  • November 19, 2014
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Leaders of the House and Senate Armed Services committees negotiating a compromise fiscal 2015 defense authorization bill remain at an impasse over two DOD proposals intended to save billions of dollars in military benefit costs through FY 2019. Carl Levin (D-Mich.), the outgoing chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, said Wednesday it’s worth “fighting for” the reforms advocated by Pentagon leaders. One would slow the growth in the basic allowance for housing below the rate of inflation over the next three years so that the benefit only covers 95 percent of average rental costs. The other would increase pharmacy co-pays for prescriptions filled outside of military treatment facilities …

Incoming Armed Services Chairs Decry Strict Spending Caps

  • November 19, 2014
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Rep. Mac Thornberry (R-Texas), who will lead the House Armed Services Committee starting in January, on Wednesday urged his fellow lawmakers to reverse the stringent spending caps imposed on the Pentagon by the Budget Control Act. “Obviously that’s a big issue. [The] Armed Services Committee cannot solve that problem, but it needs to be solved and so working with others, we’re going to do our best to try to solve it,” Thornberry told reporters, according to the Hill. After being selected by the House Republican Steering Committee for the chairmanship on Tuesday, the House Republican conference affirmed his selection on Wednesday …

California Lawmakers Rattled by Hagel’s BRAC Remarks

  • November 18, 2014
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Southern California lawmakers remain skeptical that Congress will authorize a new BRAC round in the near future; nevertheless, they were caught off guard when Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said on Sunday that additional base closures are needed to free up spending for more pressing requirements. “Just the fact that he was at Fort Irwin when he did it, obviously raised my blood pressure quite a bit,” said Rep. Paul Cook (R). “Maybe he doesn’t realize how sensitive [the issue] is …

DOD May Ask for $60B over Spending Caps for FY’16, Report Says

  • November 17, 2014
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The Defense Department’s base budget request for fiscal 2016 may exceed the Budget Control Act spending cap for that year by up to $60 billion, Defense News reported Sunday. In recent months senior officials have been saying that the FY 2016 budget would exceed that year’s $535 billion cap on defense, but the exact magnitude of the disparity had not been clear. But despite the Republican Party controlling the House and Senate next year, the prospects for Congress to offer the Pentagon relief from the stringent spending caps remain low, according to analysts as well as current and former lawmakers …

McCain Looks to Reverse Sequestration

  • November 12, 2014
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The incoming chairman of the Senate Armed Service Committee said Wednesday that eliminating the 2011 Budget Control Act spending caps on the Pentagon will be one of his top priorities. “As far as the military is concerned, the blow is too big … and with the world changing as it is, it’s really too biting,” John McCain (R-Ariz.), told reporters. McCain indicated he would hold hearings on the impact of the stringent spending caps. “We’ll be hearing from our services chiefs about how really biting this is …

Reversing Sequestration Missing from Republican Agenda

  • November 11, 2014
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The Republican landslide last week that allowed the party to seize control of the Senate and increase its majority in the House for the most part did not emphasize the tenets of the tea party and its philosophy of slashing government programs, with many of the winners abiding by traditional Republican values such as a strong military. “The isolationist wing of the GOP that favored deficit reduction over a strong defense seems to be in retreat,” Loren Thompson, chief operating officer of the Lexington Institute, told Defense News. Despite a shift that would seem to favor defense hawks, however, Republican leaders in both chambers last week did not mention relaxing the Budget Control Act spending caps on defense as one of their priorities for the 114th Congress …

Omnibus Spending Bill Will Not Come out until December

  • November 10, 2014
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An omnibus spending bill needed to keep the government running through next Oct. 1 likely won’t be released until early December, according to House Appropriations Committee spokeswoman Jennifer Hing. The fiscal 2015 spending measure likely would be released the week of Dec. 8, reported the Hill. The timing would give lawmakers very little time to debate and vote on the legislation, as the existing continuing resolution runs out Dec. 11. Of course, lawmakers could pass another short-term stopgap measure to give themselves more time to clear an end-of-the-year omnibus …

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