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Posts Tagged ‘Congress/DOD’

DOD Proposes Scaling Down Subsidies for Commissaries

  • February 25, 2014
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Military grocery stores would not be closed under the Pentagon’s fiscal 2015 budget request, but discounts for service members and retirees would be greatly curtailed, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said Monday. The department is proposing to reduce the annual direct subsidy provided to military commissaries by $1 billion over a three-year period; the annual subsidy now totals $1.4 billion. As a result, the savings on groceries enjoyed by military families would drop from an average of 30 percent to about 10 percent, according to a Pentagon briefing led by senior officials on background …

Hagel Vows to Trim Defense Infrastructure

  • February 25, 2014
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As expected, the Obama administration will ask Congress to authorize a new round of base closures in 2017 as part of its fiscal 2015 budget request, marking the third year in a row DOD will ask permission to pare down its excess infrastructure. “We cannot fully achieve our goals for overhead reductions without cutting unnecessary and costly infrastructure,” Hagel told reporters on Monday. Mindful of DOD’s recent track record with such requests, Hagel pointed out that the department “has already been reducing infrastructure where we can …

FY ’15 Budget Reveals Scope of Cuts Needed to Address Spending Caps

  • February 25, 2014
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The Army’s active-duty end strength would be reduced to between 440,000 and 450,000 under the five-year budget proposal unveiled Monday by Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel. The long-term budget included with the fiscal 2015 budget request, the department’s first to fully reflect the transition DOD is making after 13 years of war, adheres to the spending caps in place next year but exceeds the Budget Control Act caps for the following four years by $115 billion. As a result, the Army would be forced to draw down to an end strength of 420,000 if sequester cuts are not reversed in FY 2016 …

‘Shadow BRAC’ is the Immediate Threat to Bases, Washington Insider Says

  • February 23, 2014
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While the next BRAC round could come as early as 2017, the immediate threat to defense communities are smaller cuts and realignments that don’t require a formal base closure round to go forward, the president of a Washington public affairs firm said last week during a meeting of the local support group for Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point. “The more scary thing to me is what I have been calling the shadow BRAC,” Barry Rhoads, president of Cassidy and Associates, told Allies for Cherry Point’s Tomorrow. “We’re undergoing shadow BRACs as we speak. That’s actually no notification of Congress …

HASC Ranking Member Stands up for BRAC

  • February 23, 2014
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The Pentagon could be forced to realign unneeded installations outside of the normal BRAC process if Congress continues to bar it from conducting a new round of base closures, according to written comments the office of Rep. Adam Smith (D-Wash.) submitted to Breaking Defense last week. “Mr. Smith thinks that given the changing size and shape of our military force, the Department of Defense needs to be able to adjust its infrastructure to accommodate and reflect the shape of the force,” according to Smith’s office. “It is his hope that Congress acts and these changes are made through the normal BRAC process …

Wish List Could Encourage Lawmakers to Tinker with DOD’s Budget Request

  • February 20, 2014
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The Defense Department’s intent to attach a $26 billion list of unfunded requirements to its fiscal 2015 budget request could have unintended consequences, as appropriators swap out programs included in the administration’s proposal for favored programs that failed to make the cut. Including a list of second-tier priorities with the budget request also could embolden service chiefs to push Congress to fund programs that were left out of DOD’s baseline spending plan …

McCain to Helm Armed Services Committee?

  • February 20, 2014
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Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) told a reporter that if the Republicans win back the Senate in the mid-term elections, he would want to chair the Armed Services Committee. “I would be so happy to be chairman of the Armed Services Committee,” he told Phoenix radio station KFYI on Tuesday. Since the beginning of last year, Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.) has served as the ranking member of the panel, a slot McCain was forced to give up due to term limits …

Lawmakers Preempt Pentagon on BRAC

  • February 19, 2014
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With DOD’s fiscal 2015 budget proposal scheduled to be released in less than two weeks, questions from reporters as to how Congress would respond to an expected request for a new round of base closures are on the rise. In recent weeks, several lawmakers, including two Democrats on the Senate Armed Services Committee, responded that it is unlikely Congress would agree to a new round. When asked last week how a BRAC would affect Central Florida, Sen. Bill Nelson (Fla.) told the reporter, “I’m a senior member of the Armed Services Committee from which it would come, and we’re not having a BRAC any time soon …

Congress Should OK Pentagon’s BRAC Request, Defense Experts Say

  • February 18, 2014
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Ninety-one percent of the defense and foreign policy experts responding to a survey conducted by the National Journal believe that Congress should approve the Defense Department’s request to hold a new round of base closures. “Excess capacity exists across all the military services. Congress and communities face either a slow decline at every base, with little hope for any economic relief anywhere, or selective closures that bolster needed bases and let other areas start on the road to recovery and life after closure …

Retreat on Military Pension Cuts Raises Bar for Future Budget Reform

  • February 18, 2014
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Congress’ relatively quick reversal of a reduction in cost-of-living increases for military pensions included in last December’s budget deal almost certainly means the Pentagon will not have the upper hand when it floats future proposals to rein in its burgeoning personnel costs. After the House and Senate approved the bipartisan budget agreement late last year, some analysts expressed optimism that lawmakers’ willingness to trim the growth rate of pensions for military retirees of working age was a signal that DOD would be able to implement other cuts needed to keep compensation and benefit costs from spiraling out of control …

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