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Posts Tagged ‘Congress/DOD’

Senate’s Budget Matches House in Defense Dollars but Adds Procedural Hurdle

  • March 29, 2015
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Senate Republicans passed a fiscal 2016 budget resolution early Friday morning that matched the House’s approach to granting a reprieve to DOD from the statutory spending caps by adding $38 billion to the department’s war funding account. The budget blueprint adopted by a 52-46 vote in the Senate retains the $523 billion Budget Control Act cap on national security spending, while providing a total of $96 billion in the overseas contingency operations account — $58 billion from the Obama administration’s request and $38 billion in added funds to match the plan passed by the House earlier in the week. The resolution, however, retains a point of order on spending from the OCO that exceeds $58 billion …

Fiscal Constraints Will Be Felt throughout Air Force, Secretary Says

  • March 29, 2015
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A return to the statutory spending caps in fiscal 2016 would require the Air Force to find $10 billion in savings from the service’s original spending plans, Air Force Secretary Deborah Lee James said last week. “Ten billion is a big chunk of money and it would mean every part of our Air Force would be touched in some way,” James told the Dayton Daily News on the same day she toured Wright-Patterson Air Force Base. “It’s impossible to predict what that means for Wright-Patterson,” she said, but it could affect research programs at the Dayton-area installation and rekindle the possibility that civilian employees are furloughed …

Army Plans Involuntary Separation for Thousands of Combat Veterans

  • March 29, 2015
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The Army will be forced to eliminate about 14,000 soldiers as a direct result of the Budget Control Act spending caps which are prompting the service to shrink its active-duty force to 450,000 personnel, Vice Chief of Staff Gen. Daniel Allyn told the Senate Armed Services’ Readiness Subcommittee last week. “[Sequestration] will increase significantly the involuntary separation of officer and non-commissioned [NCO] leaders who have steadfastly served their country through the last 13 years of war,” Allyn said. Complying with the spending caps will require the involuntary separation of about 2,000 soldiers annually, including officers and NCOs …

Carter Blasts House Budget Resolution

  • March 26, 2015
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Defense Secretary Ashton Carter on Thursday rejected the fiscal 2016 budget resolution approved by the House that would allow the Pentagon to exceed its statutory spending cap by adding billions of dollars into its war funding account. “Current proposals to shoehorn [DOD’s] base budget funds into our contingency accounts would fail to solve the problem, while also undermining basic principles of accountability and responsible, long-term planning,” Carter told a meeting of the Chiefs of Mission at State Department headquarters. The budget blueprint adopted by House Republicans on Wednesday would add $38 billion to DOD’s $58 billion request for the department’s overseas contingency operations account …

McCain Chides James for Claiming Savings from New Installation Support Agency

  • March 26, 2015
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Air Force moves that Secretary Deborah Lee James recently claimed met a Pentagon goal of reducing its headquarters staff by 20 percent did not produce any actual savings because the personnel were shifted elsewhere, Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) told James in a letter this week. “The conduct of the Air Force in response to this guidance seems to have produced no actual staff reductions and yielded no actual savings,” said McCain, chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee …

Army Commission Takes Shape

  • March 26, 2015
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President Obama and leaders of the Armed Services committees last week named the eight members who will serve on a commission created by Congress to assess the size and force mixture of the Army after last year’s dispute over the service’s plan to swap aviation assets between the National Guard and the active component. The National Commission on the Future of the Army was mandated by the fiscal 2015 defense authorization bill. President Obama selected four individuals for the panel: Larry Ellis, president and CEO of VetConnexx, a retired general who commanded Army Forces Command from 2001 to 2004; Kathleen Hicks, director of the International Security Program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies and former director for policy planning at the office of the undersecretary of defense for policy …

House Adopts Budget with Extra Defense Funds

  • March 25, 2015
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The House on Wednesday opted for a fiscal 2016 budget resolution intended to attract the support of defense hawks, adopting a funding blueprint that sidesteps the Budget Control Act cap on defense spending by adding $38 billion to the Pentagon’s war account. After employing a rarely used procedure allowing lawmakers to vote on competing budgets, House Republicans embraced an alternative to the plan passed by the Budget Committee that relaxes a requirement to offset about half of the funds added to DOD’s overseas contingency operations account …

All Federal Agencies Will Need to Trim Real Property, under New OMB Policy

  • March 25, 2015
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Federal agencies, including the Defense Department, will be required to craft plans to reduce their real property footprint over the next five years, under a memo the Office of Management and Budget is scheduled to issue today. The memo, titled “National Strategy for the Efficient Use of Real Property: Reducing the Federal Portfolio through Improved Space Utilization, Consolidation and Disposal,” is a follow-on to the agency’s “Freeze the Footprint” policy issued in 2013. For the Pentagon, the policy means reducing excess space without relying on a BRAC round to shed large chunks of its real estate portfolio …

Republican Moves Effectively Sidestep Defense Budget Caps

  • March 24, 2015
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The fiscal 2016 budget resolutions the House and Senate are poised to approve this week signal significant support among Republican lawmakers for spending plans that flout the Budget Control Act limits for DOD. On Monday, the House Rules Committee approved a special procedure allowing the House to take up competing budget resolutions, including an alternative to the blueprint passed last week in committee allowing national security spending to exceed the $523 billion statutory cap without any offset …

Possible Veto Threat Could Disrupt Appropriations Process

  • March 24, 2015
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President Obama’s vow last week not to sign any fiscal 2016 appropriations bills that adhere to the statutory spending caps likely is intended to prompt a deal with congressional Republicans that would relax the limits for defense and non-defense spending. Conversely, the president’s pledge may force an impasse that results in a series of continuing resolutions and, possibly, a government shutdown, reported CQ. “I will not, and I’ve been very clear,” Obama said of signing bills that follow the Budget Control Act limits …

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