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Posts Tagged ‘Congress/DOD’

Retirement of Longtime Appropriator Could Prompt House Milcon Chair to Shift Panels

  • October 13, 2014
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Rep. John Culberson (R-Texas), chair of the House Military Construction and Veterans Affairs Appropriations Subcommittee, is considered one of the two leading candidates to head up the panel that funds law enforcement, science and manufacturing programs following the retirement of Rep. Frank Wolf (R-Va.) at the end of the year. The other candidate, Robert Aderholt (R-Ala.), would have seniority over Culberson. Republican appropriators, however, don’t always follow full-committee seniority in making leadership decisions …

President, House Democrats Highlight Dangers of Sequestration

  • October 8, 2014
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During a rare visit to the Pentagon, President Obama on Wednesday warned about the deleterious impacts of the 2011 Budget Control Act spending caps on national defense, underscoring the need “to make sure that Congress is working with us to avoid, for example, some of the draconian cuts that are called for in sequestration.” Obama added that lawmakers need to ensure the military has “the equipment and the technology that’s necessary for them to be able to succeed at their mission,” reported the Hill. “We have done some enormous work, and I want to thank everybody sitting around this table to continue to make our forces leaner, meaner, more effective, more tailored to the particular challenges that we’re going to face in the 21st century …

War Spending Account Solves DOD Budget Problems for Now

  • October 6, 2014
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The OCO account is exempt from the Budget Control Act caps on defense spending and with the estimated cost of operations in Iraq and Syria ranging from $2.4 billion to $18 billion annually, it’s the easiest solution to the Pentagon’s budget crunch, analysts say. “There is currently no limit on OCO, so there is as much room as they need,” Todd Harrison, a defense budget senior fellow at the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments, told Stars and Stripes. Relying on the OCO has the obvious benefit of avoiding the need to shoehorn the cost of the war into the department’s base budget …

Pivot to Asia Continues despite Budget Pressure, Official Says

  • October 1, 2014
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DOD’s rebalance to the Asia-Pacific region remains on course despite the budget bind facing the department, Deputy Defense Secretary Robert Work said Tuesday. “We might not be able to go as fast as we would want because of budgetary pressures. We might not be able to have as many forces as we would otherwise like because we wouldn’t be able to afford them,” Work told an audience at the Council on Foreign Relations. “But the Asia Pacific rebalance continues apace …

Work Upbraids Congress over Opposition to Cost-Saving Reforms

  • October 1, 2014
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The almost universal rejection by lawmakers of a series of belt-tightening reforms to military compensation and weapons systems retirements proposed by the Pentagon will create an estimated $70 billion hole in its five-year budget, Deputy Defense Secretary Robert Work told the Council on Foreign Relations this week. The department’s fiscal 2015 budget called for slashing the subsidy for commissaries and slowing increases in the basic allowance for housing, along with retiring its fleet of A-10 close air support aircraft and other weapons. “These were what we considered to be pretty reasonable approaches, but Congress said ‘No …

Ryan Sets Sights on ‘Medium’ Budget Deal

  • September 30, 2014
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A “grand bargain” budget agreement replacing the existing Budget Control Act spending caps with alternate deficit reduction measures most likely is off the table for the remainder of the Obama presidency, but a smaller-scale deal may be possible, says Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), chairman of the House Budget Committee. Ryan blames Obama’s unwillingness to consider wholesale reform of entitlement programs for the failure of Congress and the administration in recent years to reach a deal to get the nation’s debt under control. As a result, he is abandoning his pursuit of a comprehensive deficit reduction agreement …

House Republicans Question Defense Cuts amid Renewed Mideast Operations

  • September 29, 2014
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Senior House Republicans are questioning how the Pentagon can adhere to the 2011 Budget Control Act spending caps at the same time it is forced to respond to the rise of the Islamic State and other missions around the globe. On Monday, House Appropriations Chairman Hal Rogers (R-Ky.) said the defense spending cap slated to be imposed in fiscal 2016 would create a challenge as the nation opposes the Islamic State, reported the Hill. “I don’t think sequestration and increased efforts in Syria, in Iraq are compatible,” Rogers said …

Chairmanship is ‘Thornberry’s to Lose,’ HASC Watcher Says

  • September 28, 2014
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Rep. Mac Thornberry (R-Texas) appears poised to become the next chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, though Rep. Randy Forbes (R-Va.) has left the door open to seek the gavel, too. The current chairman, Rep. Buck McKeon (R-Calif.), announced in January…

Authorization Bill Coming in Some Form, Levin Says

  • September 24, 2014
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Congress will pass the fiscal 2015 defense authorization bill this year, although it’s unlikely it will occur through regular order with the Senate passing its version before it goes to a House-Senate conference, Carl Levin (D-Mich.), chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, told reporters Wednesday. Levin’s comments essentially confirmed that the annual defense policy bill most likely will follow a path similar to the one it went down last year after it stalled in the Senate in November when the two parties failed to reach an agreement over handling amendments …

Joint Basing Savings Remain Unclear, GAO Finds

  • September 21, 2014
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DOD’s joint basing initiative — a recommendation proposed by the department to the 2005 BRAC Commission to consolidate installation support functions at 26 locations sharing a boundary or located in close proximity to form 12 joint bases — was intended to generate cost savings through economies of scale, and by optimizing service contracts and paring unnecessary management personnel. To date, though, DOD has not demonstrated that the initiative has fulfilled its goals of reducing duplication of efforts and producing efficiencies, concludes a new report by the Government Accountability Office (GAO). Officials at the 12 joint bases, through responses to survey questions and during interviews, did not report “significant achievements in reaching these goals,” the congressional watchdog agency found …

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