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Posts Tagged ‘Congress/DOD’

Army Can’t Keep up with Failing Facilities

  • March 6, 2015
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Army facilities deteriorated significantly following the first two years of mandatory budget caps, fiscal 2013 and 2014, Katherine Hammack, assistant secretary for installations, energy, and environment, told lawmakers this week. Currently, 7 percent of the service’s facilities are failing — including ones housing operating units — and 24 percent are in poor condition, Hammack told the House Armed Services’ Readiness Subcommittee on Tuesday. “The challenge is that facilities are failing at a rate faster than we’re being funded …

Strong Push by Defense Hawks Could Force Compromise over Raising Budget Caps

  • March 6, 2015
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The lack of a consensus within the Republican Party over whether to stick with or adjust the statutory spending caps is placing heightened attention on the fiscal 2016 budget resolution each chamber is required to draft. With markups of the resolutions by the House and Senate Budget committees only two weeks away, battle lines between defense hawks and fiscal hawks in the party are becoming increasingly clear. Defense hawks are insisting the Obama administration’s $534 billion base DOD budget proposal for FY 2016 is not high enough — even though it exceeds the Budget Control Act cap by $35 billion — while fiscal conservatives favor sticking with the spending limits as the best way to trim the deficit. Several defense experts interviewed by Politico underscored the heightened support among Republicans for raising the defense cap, but said at this point it’s still too soon to say how congressional leaders will settle on topline spending levels …

Fiscal Constraints are Degrading Navy Readiness, Greenert Testifies

  • March 6, 2015
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The Navy’s readiness and capabilities have suffered after three consecutive years of budget constraints, Adm. Jonathan Greenert, chief of naval operations, told lawmakers Wednesday. “Navy readiness is at its lowest point in many years,” Greenert told the Senate Defense Appropriations Subcommittee. “The budget reductions have forced us to cut afloat and ashore operations, it has generated a ship and aircraft maintenance backlog, and it has compelled us to extend unit deployments …

President Nominates Conger to Number Two Position in Comptroller’s Office

  • March 4, 2015
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John Conger — who currently is the Pentagon’s acting assistant secretary of defense for energy, installations and environment — was nominated Wednesday by President Obama to be the principal deputy to the department’s comptroller. Conger obtained his current title in December after DOD merged its installations and operational energy organizations to comply with the newly enacted fiscal 2015 defense authorization bill. Previously Conger had been acting deputy undersecretary of defense for installations and environment, a title he assumed in September 2012 after Dorothy Robyn vacated the top installations slot. He joined DOD in 2009 as the assistant deputy undersecretary of defense for installations and environment. Conger will need to be confirmed as principal deputy undersecretary of defense (comptroller) by the Senate before taking the new post.

Appropriations Panel Tells Carter to Live within the Spending Cap

  • March 4, 2015
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Forcing the Defense Department to live within the statutory budget caps would be detrimental to the nation’s security, new Defense Secretary Ashton Carter told the House Defense Appropriations Subcommittee on Wednesday, but the panel delivered the sobering message that the spending limits very likely are here to stay. “I completely agree that the BCA [Budget Control Act] needs to be modified to avoid dramatic, immediate and long-term negative impacts on our military capabilities,” said Chairman Rodney Frelinghuysen. “But unless and until the law is changed, this committee has no choice but to draft our bill to comply with the BCA caps …

New BRAC Round Would Generate Savings, Conger Says

  • March 4, 2015
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The Pentagon’s senior installations official told lawmakers Tuesday that the BRAC round DOD is requesting would realize savings much more quickly than the 2005 round. “We look at the next round as an efficiency-driven one,” John Conger, acting assistant secretary of defense for energy, installations and environment, told the House Military Construction and Veterans Affairs Appropriations Subcommittee. “In such a budget environment as we have today, it only makes sense to avoid spending money on excess …

Installation Chiefs Turn up the Heat to Make Case for BRAC

  • March 3, 2015
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The military’s installation chiefs made an impassioned plea to lawmakers on Tuesday for permission to hold a BRAC round in 2017, fine tuning their previous arguments and making clear the consequences if Congress rejects the Pentagon’s request for a new round of base closures for the fourth year in a row. Two of the witnesses came to the House Armed Services’ Readiness Subcommittee hearing with new estimates of the amount of excess infrastructure capacity their services are saddled with. An analysis based on fiscal 2013 data concluded the Army has an 18 percent facility excess, said Katherine Hammack, assistant secretary for installations, energy and environment. That figure was based on an active-duty end strength of 490,000, which the Army will reach by the end of the year …

Conger Looks to Congress for Input on BRAC Process

  • March 3, 2015
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The Pentagon’s installations chief tackled head-on the latest criticism from lawmakers toward the administration’s request for a new BRAC round at Tuesday’s House Armed Services’ Readiness Subcommittee hearing. John Conger, acting assistant secretary of defense for energy, installations and environment, acknowledged that even though defense officials have pledged to conduct a new BRAC with a different emphasis than the last one, unless the department updates the legislation authorizing a new round, lawmakers may continue to be wary. “Let me be clear,” Conger said. “We’re open to a discussion on this point. I would like to solicit your suggestions as to specific changes in the BRAC legislation that would make it more acceptable …

Reed Joins Carter in Supporting BRAC Request

  • March 3, 2015
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Jack Reed, ranking member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, indicated at a hearing Tuesday that he may support another round of base closures. “I do believe that we need to consider efforts to allow the Defense Department to shed what may be as much as 25 percent in excess infrastructure it does not necessarily need, and use these resources for the best and higher priorities,” Reed said in his opening statement. The hearing on President Obama’s fiscal 2016 budget request featured Ashton Carter’s first opportunity to testify on Capitol Hill as defense secretary …

Lifting Defense Spending Cap to Wait, Graham Says

  • March 3, 2015
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The fiscal 2016 budget resolution passed by the Senate most likely will not adjust spending caps imposed by the Budget Control Act, despite a push by defense hawks to lift the ceiling on national security spending, according to Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), who sits on the Budget and Armed Services committees. Graham said he favors sticking with the caps in the budget resolution, and then attempting to strike a bipartisan deal to lift the defense cap later in the session …

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