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Posts Tagged ‘Congress/DOD’

House Panel Advances Milcon Spending Bill

  • April 15, 2015
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The House Military Construction-Veterans Affairs Appropriations Subcommittee on Wednesday approved a fiscal 2016 spending measure recommending a $900 million increase to $7.7 billion for military construction and family housing programs over the current year. The legislation passed despite criticism from Democrats that the measure is not fully funded, reported CQ Roll Call. The $76.6 billion spending bill, including the VA component, comes in $4.6 billion higher than the FY 2015 enacted level even though next year’s spending cap for all federal discretionary spending rises only $2 billion …

McCain to Let Panel Decide on Opening up Authorization Bill Markup

  • April 15, 2015
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John McCain (R-Ariz.), chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, said he would let his committee vote whether to hold its markup of the fiscal 2016 defense authorization bill in open session. The committee’s markup of the annual defense policy measure traditionally has been closed to the public due to the preference of former Chair Carl Levin (D-Mich.). Levin had said it was unworkable to shift between open and closed sessions while deliberating over the authorization bill …

Authorization Bill Would Allow Pentagon to Use Extra War Funds, Defense Chairs Say

  • April 14, 2015
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The heads of the House and Senate Armed Services committees plan to include language in the fiscal 2016 defense authorization bill that would allow defense officials to use funds in the department’s war funding account for base budget operations. The remarks of John McCain (R-Ariz.), Senate Armed Services chairman, and Mac Thornberry (R-Texas), House Armed Services chairman, address the question of whether congressional Republicans’ plan to sidestep the statutory cap on defense spending by adding funds to DOD’s overseas contingency operations account (OCO) will achieve the desired result. The FY 2016 budget resolutions advanced in both chambers would allocate $38 billion more than the $58 billion requested for the OCO account by the administration …

Milcon Spending in House Proposal Falls Short of DOD Request

  • April 14, 2015
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Fiscal 2016 funding for military construction and family housing would take a significant step toward levels allocated as recently as FY 2014 under the draft spending bill released Tuesday by the House Appropriations Committee. Overall, spending on military construction and family housing would rise $900 million over current year funding to $7.7 billion. The House’s proposal, however, still falls short of the Obama administration’s request for $8.4 billion in FY 2016. Milcon funding 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 …

GAO Highlights Need for DOD to Improve Tracking of Underutilized Facilities

  • April 14, 2015
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In a report presenting 66 actions the federal government could take to improve efficiency, the Government Accountability Office reiterates the need for the Defense Department to improve its processes for identifying underutilized facilities as a prerequisite for consolidating or disposing of unneeded facilities. The congressional watchdog agency cited its earlier recommendations calling for DOD to modify its procedures for updating and verifying data on the utilization of facilities, and to establish a strategic plan to manage its real property. The plan should include long-term goals, strategies and use of metrics to help the department identify potential consolidation or disposal opportunities …

Compromise Budget Resolution Unlikely to Clarify Fate of Spending Caps

  • April 13, 2015
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An amendment to the Senate version of the fiscal 2016 budget resolution calling for relief from the statutory spending caps for defense and non-defense spending over the next two years is unlikely to be included in the compromise resolution the two chambers are expected to hash out over the coming weeks. The amendment, introduced by Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine (D) and passed with the support of four Republicans, called for replacing $148 billion in spending cuts in fiscal 2016 and 2017 with alternative offsets not yet specified over the 10-year budget window, reported CQ. As talks get under way over a compromise budget, conservative groups are pushing back against the provision because it would reverse the Budget Control Act spending caps …

Nation Can’t Afford to Punt on BRAC, Texas Lawmaker Says

  • April 13, 2015
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Count Texas Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D) as one of the few lawmakers willing to let the Pentagon launch a sixth round of base closures. For the second-term lawmaker, the logic is relatively simple — with new threats emerging across the globe, DOD should be allowed to save money from weapons and installations it no longer needs so it can afford to preserve its existing end strength. “What you shouldn’t cut are personnel,” O’Rourke, a member of the House Armed Services Committee, told El Paso Inc. He certainly understands why BRAC is hugely unpopular in Congress, but lawmakers can’t afford to ignore officials saying the military has about 20 percent excess infrastructure capacity. “I don’t want to continue to subsidize bases and installations that are not performing …

Michigan Delegation Presses Case for National Guard to Host Cyber Mission

  • April 13, 2015
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Michigan’s congressional delegation is lobbying top defense officials to locate a cyber operations squadron at the 110th Attack Wing at Battle Creek Air National Guard Base. The lawmakers cite multiple reasons for the unit to host the squadron including the base’s existing cyber missions, a factor which would save the Air National Guard $2.2 million because much of the needed infrastructure already is in place. They also point to the state’s skilled workforce and universities as assets that would help fill positions created by a new cyber operations squadron …

Pentagon Pushing Plan to Consolidate Exchanges, Commissaries, Sources Say

  • April 12, 2015
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Defense Department leaders appear to be moving ahead with a plan to consolidate the military’s commissary and exchange systems, according to multiple sources. The move comes in response to a recommendation from the Military Compensation and Retirement Modernization Commission in January. Consolidating DOD’s three exchange services with the Defense Commissary Agency into a single Defense Resale Activity would generate savings by combining many of the back-end office and support functions such as logistics and staffing, the panel concluded …

House Panel to Mark up Milcon Spending Bill Next Week

  • April 9, 2015
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House Appropriations subcommittees are expected to mark up two fiscal 2016 spending bills next week including military construction-veterans affairs, reported CQ. With the FY 2016 budget resolutions passed last month by the House and Senate sticking to the Budget Control Act caps for defense and non-defense spending, a combined $1.017 trillion, the allocation for the milcon spending measure shouldn’t vary much from the current year’s level …

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