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Posts Tagged ‘Congress/DOD’

Construction Projects Need to Consider Potential for Coastal Erosion, Milcon Panel Says

  • May 26, 2015
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The Defense Department should consider the potential for coastal erosion and flooding risks in the siting of proposed military construction projects, according to the Senate Military Construction and Veterans Affairs Appropriations Subcommittee. The committee notes that coastal erosion is a growing concern of DOD and points to a 2014 report from the Government Accountability Office (GAO) which looked at 15 existing sites at defense installations in the United States that are vulnerable to coastal erosion. “The GAO noted that DOD officials are concerned that increased erosion on the Alaskan coast threatens several Air Force radar early warning and communication installations,” the committee says in its report accompanying the fiscal 2016 milcon spending bill. “Furthermore, Navy officials are concerned that if a storm surge occurs while a submarine is undergoing maintenance while sitting in a dry dock, the damage would be substantial and costly.” The Appropriations Committee passed the FY 2016 milcon spending bill last week.

Heightened Security Could Exacerbate Traffic Woes outside Bases, Panel Says

  • May 25, 2015
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Constraints on military construction funding are hampering the ability of DOD to address traffic congestion on the roads leading to a number of U.S. installations, including those that have experienced significant population growth due to BRAC, according to the Senate Military Construction and Veteran Affairs Appropriations Subcommittee. The constraints are limiting the ability of DOD to fund urgent defense access roads and entry control point projects at installations coping with growth due to BRAC as well as those serving as host commands for a wide variety of military services and agencies, the panel says in its report accompanying the fiscal 2016 milcon spending bill …

Senate Bill Embraces DOD’s Commissary Reforms

  • May 25, 2015
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The Senate Armed Services Committee adopted the Defense Department’s proposal to slash funding for commissaries by $322 million as an initial step to scaling back the federal subsidy for military grocery stores, under the fiscal 2016 defense authorization bill the panel approved May 14. DOD’s cost-cutting plan would trim the overall savings for military families and veterans from an average of 30 percent to 28 percent, reported Stars and Stripes. More than half of the savings — representing a 23 percent funding cut for the Defense Commissary Agency — would come from operating efficiencies, including reducing staff, store hours and the days stores are open …

Senate Democrats Promise Rough Going on Appropriations

  • May 25, 2015
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Senate Democrats will participate in committee work on fiscal 2016 spending legislation but once the bills move to the floor, the party will block them from advancing, Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.), ranking member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, vowed last week. “Unless there is a new [spending] agreement before these bills come to the floor, we will vote against the motion to proceed,” Mikulski said Thursday after the panel approved its first spending bill of the year. The gambit is designed to pressure Republicans to negotiate on a new budget deal to raise the statutory spending caps …

House Votes to Authorize $25M in Defense Bill for Transportation Upgrades at Growth Bases

  • May 21, 2015
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Defense communities still coping with mission growth stemming from the 2005 round of base closures could apply for a total of $25 million for transportation infrastructure improvements, as the result of an amendment added on the House floor last week to the fiscal 2016 defense authorization bill. The provision, sponsored by Reps. Denny Heck (Wash.) and Don Beyer (Va.), would authorize the funds to be allocated to the Office of Economic Adjustment, which would award grants through a competitive process. The amendment states that the money should be used for transportation upgrades “associated with congestion mitigation in urban areas” related to the last BRAC round …

Senate Committee Advances Milcon Funding Bill

  • May 21, 2015
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The Senate Appropriations Committee on Thursday approved a fiscal 2016 spending bill that would provide $8.1 billion for military construction and family housing programs, representing a $1.3 billion boost over current year funding and a significant step toward restoring milcon funding to levels allocated as recently as FY 2014. Spending on military construction programs dropped about one-third in the current year as DOD opted to defer a portion of its construction program to fund higher priorities such as operations and readiness. The House also voted to increase milcon spending, but only to $7.7 billion. Both chambers’ spending bills fall short of the president’s request for $8.4 billion in FY 2016 …

Effort to Ease HUBZone Eligibility Requirements at Closed Bases Gains Momentum

  • May 20, 2015
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A long-standing effort to make it easier for tenants at closed installations to qualify for the Small Business Administration’s HUBZone program may finally bear fruit this year after language to relax the program’s eligibility requirements was included in the Senate version of the fiscal 2016 defense authorization bill. The provision, which would loosen the requirement for 35 percent of a HUBZone participant’s employees to live within a HUBZone, also was included in the House version of the annual policy bill. As a result, the prospect that the changes make it into the final version of the authorization bill is very favorable. The effort to amend the HUBZone program — an initiative offering preferential access to federal procurements to businesses in distressed areas — has been led by Maine’s congressional delegation to support the reuse project at the former Brunswick Naval Air Station …

Senate Milcon Bill Surpasses House Panel’s Spending Recommendation

  • May 20, 2015
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Spending on military construction and family housing programs in fiscal 2016 would rise $1.3 billion over current year funding to $8.1 billion, under the spending bill marked up Tuesday by a Senate Appropriations subcommittee. The milcon spending level recommended by the Senate Military Construction and Veterans Affairs Appropriations Subcommittee would be $400 million higher than the amount included in the appropriations bill passed by the House on April 30. Both versions, though, take a significant step toward restoring milcon funding to levels allocated as recently as FY 2014. Spending on military construction programs dropped about one-third in the current year as the department opted to defer a portion of its construction program to fund higher priorities such as operations and readiness …

House Defense Spending Bill Employs Extra Funds

  • May 19, 2015
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DOD would receive $579 billion in discretionary spending in fiscal 2016, an increase of $24.4 billion above the current level and $800 million above the president’s request, under the draft defense spending bill unveiled Tuesday by the House Appropriations Committee. The spending bill takes advantage of $88 billion included in DOD’s overseas contingency operations account under the budget resolution adopted by the House and Senate. That represents the department’s share of the $96 billion in funds allocated to the OCO account to elude the Budget Control Act cap on defense spending. The administration had requested only $58 billion for the war account …

Senate Bill Calls for Privatization Pilot for Commissaries

  • May 19, 2015
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At least five military commissaries would be privatized under a two-year pilot program, according to the version of the fiscal 2016 defense authorization bill passed by the Senate Armed Services Committee Thursday. In addition to the pilot program, the bill calls for the Governmental Accountability Office to assess the potential costs and benefits of privatizing the entire network of military grocery stores, reported Stars and Stripes. The committee has not yet released the bill text or committee report. Veterans of Foreign Wars issued a statement opposing the Senate plan because it would cut into the discounts enjoyed by military families and veterans …

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