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Posts Tagged ‘Congress/DOD’

Commission to Focus on Modernizing Military Benefits, Not Slashing Them

  • January 5, 2015
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The recommendations of a nine-member commission established by Congress to review military compensation will focus on updating pay and benefits offered by the military so they are more appropriate for 21st Century personnel, rather than trimming them, according to a spokesman for the panel. “It’s fair to say we have identified a number of efficiencies,” Jamie Graybeal, spokesman for the Military Compensation and Retirement Modernization Commission, told the Hill last week. The commission’s chief aim was to preserve the all-volunteer force by improving benefits not valued by service members and eliminating redundancies …

Quality-of-Life Milcon Projects Shortchanged in Budget, Appropriators Point Out

  • December 23, 2014
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Cuts in the services’ military construction budgets to free up funds for operational readiness are placing the needs of service members in peril as essential quality-of-life milcon requirements such as child development centers, physical fitness facilities and troop housing are going unfulfilled, according to the House and Senate Military Construction and Veterans Affairs Appropriations subcommittees. “Deferral of needed QOL [quality-of-life] investment can adversely impact troop readiness and jeopardize the health and safety of service members,” according to the joint explanatory statement accompanying the FY 2015 omnibus spending bill signed into law last week by the president …

Independent Commission to Consider Army Size, Force Mix under Authorization Bill

  • December 23, 2014
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An independent commission will make recommendations regarding the proper end strength of the Army and mix between its active and reserve components by Feb. 1, 2016, under the fiscal 2015 defense authorization bill President Obama signed the into law last week. H.R. 3979 follows language in the House and Senate Armed Services versions of the annual policy bill calling for an eight-member National Commission on the Future of the Army. The members are slated to be appointed by the president and Congress within 90 days …

Budget Constraints Squeeze Funding for Road Improvements at Growth Bases

  • December 21, 2014
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Transportation requirements at a number of installations, including needs both on-base and outside the gates, are not being met due to severe constraints in military construction funding, according to the House and Senate Military Construction and Veterans Affairs Appropriations subcommittees. “This problem is particularly acute on growth installations that serve as host commands for a variety of military departments,” according to the joint explanatory statement accompanying the FY 2015 omnibus spending bill signed into law last week by the president …

Defense Bill Eliminates Army’s Authority to Shutter Arsenals

  • December 21, 2014
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The Army secretary no longer can rely on a pre-Civil War authority to close arsenals without congressional approval, after President Obama signed the fiscal 2015 defense authorization bill into law last week. The provision, originally part of the version of the legislation passed by the Senate Armed Services Committee, eliminates the ability of the secretary of the Army to close any arsenal considered unnecessary. The Army has five arsenals: Picatinny, N.J.; Redstone, Ala.; Rock Island, Ill.; Rocky Mountain, Colo.; and Watervliet, N.Y. …

Defense Bill Returns Wisconsin Ammo Plant Parcel to Indian Tribe

  • December 18, 2014
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After an extended delay due to bureaucratic infighting, the tribe whose land was used to construct the Badger Army Ammunition Plant near Baraboo, Wis., will get its land back from the federal government courtesy of language in the fiscal 2015 defense authorization bill. The Ho-Chunk Nation will receive 1,553 acres at the shuttered facility, after the Army declared the plant excess to its needs in 1997. “I have been working on this since I first entered Congress, so I take great pride in bringing people together, giving the community a voice, and getting the job done …

Senate Confirms Berteau to Logistics Post

  • December 18, 2014
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The Senate on Tuesday confirmed David Berteau as assistant secretary of defense for logistics and materiel readiness during an end-of-session vote that confirmed dozens of Obama administration judicial and executive nominees. Last week, the Senate Armed Services Committee reported Berteau’s nomination to the floor favorably following a Dec. 2 hearing in which he stressed the importance of superior logistics. “The lessons of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq have underscored the importance of logistics, not only for the battlefield but also for the capability provided by the organic elements of the military services as well as the support of the strong industrial base …

Authorization Bill Loosens Restrictions on Guam Buildup Spending

  • December 16, 2014
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A freeze on spending construction funds from the Pentagon and the government of Japan on projects in Guam needed to accommodate an influx of Marines would be lifted under the final version of the fiscal 2015 defense authorization bill. In recent years, leaders of the Senate Armed Services Committee had barred the United States from spending money needed to prepare Guam for the realignment of about 5,000 Marines from Okinawa due to concerns over the lack of a DOD implementation plan for the buildup. Japan so far has contributed $1 billion out of the $3 billion it pledged to support the move …

FY’16 Appropriations Expected to Follow More Torturous Path

  • December 16, 2014
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The fiscal 2015 omnibus spending package cleared by Congress this past week experienced its share of twists and turns as elements of both parties attempted to remove objectionable provisions, but on the whole its passage represented a mostly bipartisan process that likely won’t be duplicated in the 114th Congress. Negotiations over the “CRomnibus” did not focus on spending allocations because that issue already had been settled last year as part of the budget deal between Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) and Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) that relaxed the defense and non-defense spending caps for FY 2014 and 2015 …

Republicans to Add Five Freshman Senators to Armed Services Panel

  • December 16, 2014
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Five newly elected Republican senators will join the Senate Armed Services Committee in the 114th Congress as the GOP gains extra seats and several members leave the panel. Meanwhile, Jack Reed (R.I.) will become the committee’s ranking member, Senate Democrats announced Friday. The GOP freshmen being added include: Tom Cotton (Ark.); Joni Ernst (Iowa); Mike Rounds (S.D.); Dan Sullivan (Alaska) and Thom Tillis (N.C.) …

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