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Posts Tagged ‘Congress/DOD’

Panel Rejects Amendment to Preserve A-10 Fleet

  • June 10, 2014
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The House Appropriations Committee on Tuesday voted down an amendment to reallocate Air Force funds to keep the A-10 close air support aircraft flying next year, making it the first congressional panel to support the Air Force’s plan to retire the fleet. The committee rejected the amendment from Rep. Jack Kingston (R-Ga.) by a 23-13 vote before approving the underlying fiscal 2015 defense spending measure by voice vote. Last month, versions of the FY 2015 defense authorization bill approved by the House and the Senate Armed Services Committee both called for funding to keep the A-10 “Warthog” in the air …

Congress Likely to Resist Attempts to Close Bases outside of BRAC, House Staffer Says

  • June 9, 2014
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Congress most likely would oppose an attempt by the Pentagon to use its authority to close an installation outside of a BRAC round, a staff member for the House Armed Services Committee said last week at the Defense Communities National Summit. If the department tried to use section 2687, there would be “pushback” from lawmakers, Dave Sienicki, a professional staff member on the majority side of HASC, told attendees. Congress has “blunt weapons” to employ and likely would lower the workforce thresholds in the statute …

Power Purchase Agreements Could Support Regional Projects, Committee Suggests

  • June 9, 2014
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The Defense Department should build on its use of power purchase agreements (PPAs) at individual installations and consider regional initiatives, according to the report of the Senate Armed Services Committee accompanying the fiscal 2015 defense authorization bill that it passed last month. “Like housing privatization, regional or portfolio approaches in a contract that will provide energy to more than one military installation may offer the potential for greater savings and best value …

DOD to Review Services Acquisition Process, Official Says

  • June 8, 2014
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The Pentagon’s process for acquiring weapons systems garners a lot of attention, but DOD’s procurement of services soon will undergo scrutiny as well. “We spend $360 billion a year to acquire things and services, and services is about $180 billion of that spend,” Alan Estevez, principal deputy undersecretary of defense for acquisition, technology and logistics, told attendees last week at the Defense Communities National Summit. DOD has developed a highly structured process for buying aircraft, satellites and other equipment, but services procurement so far has eluded having a highly regulated system imposed on it …

Senate Appropriators Question whether European Basing Study Will Generate Savings

  • June 8, 2014
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The Senate Appropriations Committee is concerned that any monetary savings generated by DOD’s effort to consolidate its European footprint could be offset by large expenditures on military construction in an echo of the lesson most lawmakers have drawn from the last round of base closures. In the report accompanying the fiscal 2015 military construction and veterans affairs spending bill it passed last month, the panel questions the department’s intention to build a joint intelligence analysis center at Royal Air Force Base Croughton in the United Kingdom estimated to cost in excess of $300 million. The department asks for $92.2 million in its FY 2015 budget request for the project’s first phase …

BRAC Not Right around the Corner, House Staffer Says

  • June 8, 2014
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Citing unanswered questions about the level of surplus DOD infrastructure and the extent to which the military’s force structure will come down, if at all, a staff member for the House Armed Services Committee (HASC) expressed doubt Friday that Congress would approve a new round of base closures in the near term. The Pentagon has requested permission each of the past three years to conduct a BRAC round so it can shed some of its estimated 24 percent excess capacity. But Dave Sienicki, a professional staff member on the majority side of HASC, told the audience at the Defense Communities National Summit that he was skeptical of that figure because the department hasn’t assessed its excess capacity since 1999. “[That figure] doesn’t make sense to me …

Policy Bill Would Eliminate Army’s Authority to Close Arsenals

  • June 6, 2014
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The Army secretary would lose a pre-Civil War authority to shutter arsenals without congressional approval, under the fiscal 2015 defense authorization bill passed last month by the Senate Armed Services Committee. With both chambers poised to reject the Obama administration’s request for a new round of base closures for the third straight year, the provision would further restrict the military’s ability to pare down its infrastructure …

‘Money Isn’t Coming Back Soon,’ Analyst Says

  • June 6, 2014
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The steady decline in defense spending on both products and services almost certainly isn’t turning around anytime soon, according to a panel of defense industry experts appearing Thursday at the Defense Communities National Summit. DOD’s total obligations were down 16 percent from fiscal 2012 to 2013, said David Berteau, senior vice president and director of the national security program on industry and resources at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. Contract spending dropped 25 percent since 2008, while spending on pay and benefits rose over that five-year period …

BRAC Not out of the Question in Future, Wittman Says

  • June 5, 2014
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The House Armed Services Committee’s rejection over the past three years of the Pentagon’s request for additional base closures may not be permanent, according to the chair of the panel’s readiness subcommittee. “We’re not saying never do a BRAC,” Rep. Rob Wittman (R-Va.) said Wednesday during the keynote lunch at the Defense Communities National Summit. But DOD should wait to conduct a new round until it first has taken a look at its long-term strategic and force structure needs. “I believe we have to take this in the proper sequence,” Wittman said …

BRAC ‘Conversation Has Begun,’ Conger Tells Summit

  • June 4, 2014
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Despite painting a bleak future for military construction and facilities sustainment funding, the Pentagon’s top installations official on Wednesday expressed some optimism regarding the timeline for a new base closure round. Congress is on a course to dismiss the Obama administration’s BRAC request for a third straight year, but some indications have emerged that lawmakers’ rejection can eventually be overcome. One hopeful sign is a provision in the House version of the fiscal 2015 defense authorization bill calling for a comprehensive assessment of the need for additional base closures and realignments …

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