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Posts Tagged ‘automatic spending cuts’

Deal to Ease Budget Pressure on Pentagon Is Likely, Hale Says

  • February 18, 2015
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Congress likely will strike a moderate deal relaxing the $499 billion cap on the Defense Department’s fiscal 2016 base budget, according to former DOD Comptroller Robert Hale. “What I hope happens is that we get another mini-deal,” Hale, an adviser to Booz Allen Hamilton, told Federal News Radio. Hale pointed to a recent speech by Rep. Rob Wittman (R-Va.), chairman of the House Armed Services’ Readiness Subcommittee, as a positive sign for the prospects of a new budget deal. “I do think there is a good chance that through the budgeting process that sequestration will be set aside,” said Wittman …

Army Cuts Would Be Widespread under Sequestration, Odierno Says

  • February 16, 2015
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Few installations will be spared from further reductions in personnel if Congress and the White House fail to strike a deal to lift the Budget Control Act spending caps, Gen. Ray Odierno, Army chief of staff, told reporters last week from the Navy port at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam. “If [sequestration] continues, we’re going to have to reduce the size of the Army further,” he said, reported Stars and Stripes. “It would be across the entire Army, and just about every installation in every state would be affected.” The second round of restructuring the Army is now contemplating will shrink the service by at least 40,000 soldiers to an end strength of 450,000 by fiscal 2020. Officials are considering cuts that will slash the force by 70,000 soldiers, however; that larger reduction is expected if the statutory spending caps remain in place much longer …

Reporting to Duty, Carter Will Face Numerous Priorities

  • February 16, 2015
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Ashton Carter, who is scheduled to be sworn in as the next defense secretary Tuesday morning, will have an array of foreign crises to deal with, calling into question his ability to reach a breakthrough with Congress to loosen the statutory cap on defense spending. “One thing we know for sure about Ash Carter’s tenure as defense secretary is that it will be fleeting,” said Loren Thompson of the Lexington Institute. “Whatever plans he may have for spurring innovation or reforming processes, the reality is that his schedule will probably be captured by bigger issues such as [the Islamic State] and Ukraine …

DOD Budget Has Room for Cuts, Experts Say

  • February 11, 2015
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At a hearing of the House Armed Services Committee on Wednesday, defense experts pointed to a number of places the Pentagon could slash spending to meet the Budget Control Act caps starting in fiscal 2016. For starters, DOD should consider the recent recommendations of the Military Compensation and Retirement Modernization Commission, which include offering contributions to 401(k)-style accounts for service members who leave before reaching the 20-year service milestone, reported Military Times. “They’ve got a sound approach there — it certainly could use some tweaks and improvements from Congress,” said Todd Harrison, a senior fellow with the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessment …

Former Defense Officials Reinforce McCain’s Campaign to Increase DOD Budget

  • February 11, 2015
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Two former defense undersecretaries on Tuesday told the Senate Armed Services Committee that DOD’s annual budget should be raised by tens of billions of dollars to address expanding global threats, declining troop readiness and the need to develop new weapons. The recommendation from Eric Edelman and Michèle Flournoy would far exceed the fiscal 2016 budget proposed by President Obama, which calls for spending $35 billion more than the statutory spending cap, reported Stars and Stripes. “The United States probably faces the most complex and volatile security situation that we’ve faced in a long time, if ever,” said Eric Edelman …

Bipartisan Agreement over Raising Spending Caps Amounts to Little More than ‘Happy Talk’

  • February 9, 2015
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Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle, along with President Obama, have found common ground on the need to raise the statutory cap on fiscal 2016 defense spending, but until Republicans and Democrats start to agree on how to pay for extra spending for the Pentagon, the much-needed relief will remain a mirage. Mackenzie Eaglen, a resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, said she is “surprised by all the ‘good news’ stories about a higher defense budget.” “Sure, both sides want a higher defense topline, but that’s where the agreement stops,” Eaglen told Defense News. “Neither party has any indication or inclination about how this ends up …

House Budget Chairman Shows No Interest in Lifting Defense Cap

  • February 5, 2015
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At a hearing Wednesday on the president’s fiscal 2016 budget request, House Budget Chairman Tom Price (R-Ga.) offered no indication he would like to exceed the statutory spending caps for either defense or domestic programs. Price blasted the White House proposal for jeopardizing the remaining $541 billion in discretionary spending cuts scheduled to be imposed by the Budget Control Act through FY 2021, reported CQ. “In order to increase spending across the board, the president’s budget would unravel bipartisan agreements that have secured a modicum of spending restraint in recent years,” he said. “At the end of the day, a proposal that never balances and ignores key drivers of the nation’s debt is not a serious plan …

Carter Eases through Nomination Hearing

  • February 4, 2015
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Ashton Carter’s nomination hearing before the Senate Armed Services Committee Wednesday to be the next defense secretary was largely tension-free and may be quickly followed by a vote on his candidacy by the full Senate next week. “We will talk to the majority leader to see if we can’t get your nomination to the floor so that you can get to work,” Committee Chairman John McCain (R-Ariz.) said at the end of the day-long hearing, reported CQ. Carter told the panel he hopes to get rid of the statutory caps on defense spending and find a way with Congress out of the “wilderness of sequester …

Senate Budget Hearing Overlooks Shortfall in Defense Spending

  • February 4, 2015
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The urgency associated with raising the statutory cap on defense spending was all but ignored on Tuesday as the Senate Budget Committee held a hearing on President Obama’s fiscal 2016 budget request. Neither Committee Chairman Mike Enzi (R-Wyo.) nor ranking member Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) mentioned the need to raise the Budget Control Act cap on defense spending during their opening statements. Enzi stressed the “overspending” in Obama’s proposal that would expand the national debt, reported Defense News. The committee, along with its House counterpart, is responsible for developing an FY 2016 budget resolution, a document some GOP lawmakers are hoping calls for relaxing the defense caps …

FY’16 Budget Retains Plans from Previous Request

  • February 3, 2015
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The $534 billion fiscal 2016 budget request top Pentagon officials unveiled Monday largely retains the same cuts in force structure and cost-saving reforms included in last year’s FY 2015 proposal. “The size of the active force, the size of the reserve components, the number of ships or fighter squadrons — we’re still trying to hold true to the end points we have been shooting for … under the Quadrennial Defense Review,” said DOD Comptroller Mike McCord. Unlike the FY 2015 budget though, this year’s proposal ignores the Budget Control Act caps, raising the question of what plans will need to be scaled back if Congress fails to relax the spending limits …

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