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Posts Tagged ‘Congress/DOD’

BRAC Tops the Alternative, McHugh Says

  • December 10, 2014
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A new round of base closures would be the least painful way for the military to cope with the spending cuts forced by the 2011 Budget Control Act, Army Secretary John McHugh said during a ceremony this week at Fort Drum honoring the 10th Mountain Division. One alternative to BRAC that would generate savings for the Army would be to continue downsizing actions at installations across the country, as was the case earlier this year when the post experienced the loss of a brigade and about 1,500 soldiers …

Congressional Leaders Reach Deal on Compromise Spending Bill

  • December 9, 2014
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Congressional leaders Tuesday night unveiled a $1.1 trillion spending package that includes fiscal 2015 appropriations bills for all government agencies except for the Department of Homeland Security. The delayed release of the compromise legislation may force lawmakers to stay in Washington past Thursday, when the current continuing resolution (CR) expires, and require them to pass a CR for two or three days. The House is expected to take up the “CRomnibus” — a package of 11 individual spending bills and a CR lasting through Feb. 27 for Homeland Security — on Thursday, with the Senate most likely voting in the following days …

Authorization Bill Calls for Moderate Cut to Commissary Subsidy

  • December 9, 2014
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The compromise version of the fiscal 2015 defense authorization bill supports trimming the federal subsidy for military grocery stores by $100 million for one year, significantly scaling back the Pentagon’s cost-cutting proposal. The Defense Department asked for a $200 million cut in the annual direct subsidy for commissaries in FY 2015 as part of a plan to reduce the government’s annual subsidy for commissaries from $1.4 billion to $400 million over three years. Fully imposing the proposal would slash the average savings on groceries from 30 percent to 10 percent …

Funding for Past BRAC Rounds Drops under Omnibus

  • December 9, 2014
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The fiscal 2015 compromise spending bill released Tuesday would provide $315 million to clean up installations closed in past BRAC rounds, a $45 million increase over DOD’s budget request but a $137 million decline from the FY 2014 allocation. The boost over the administration’s request is intended to expedite cleanup at closed Navy bases, according to the House Appropriations Committee. Overall the military construction and veteran affairs portion of the omnibus spending bill would provide $6.6 billion for military construction and family housing programs next year, a figure which approximately matches the administration’s request but represents a $3.25 billion decline from last year’s level. The steep drop in milcon funding reflects DOD’s decision to fund higher priorities such as operations and readiness. For family housing, the bill provides $1.2 billion in FY 2015, which matches DOD’s request but falls $325 million below the enacted FY 2014 level.

Spending Bill Negotiations Held Up

  • December 8, 2014
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House and Senate negotiators were expected to miss their Monday night deadline for wrapping up talks over the fiscal 2015 omnibus spending bill, potentially upsetting the delicate schedule that would allow Congress to avert a federal shutdown. Senate Appropriations Chairwoman Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.) said Monday evening that she and House Appropriations Chairman Harold Rogers (R-Ky.) had reached agreement on their parts of the “CRomnibus,” and that congressional leaders were hashing out issues unrelated to spending. The CRomnibus includes 11 individual spending bills and a continuing resolution (CR) for the Department of Homeland Security …

Defense Bill Does Not Extend Environmental Protections to Non-BRAC Sites

  • December 8, 2014
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The leadership of the Armed Services committees negotiating the final version of the fiscal 2015 defense authorization bill removed a provision that would have offered the same liability protections that BRAC sites receive when unknown contamination is discovered to property at facilities closed outside of BRAC. The language, added as an amendment sponsored by Indiana Rep. Todd Young (R) to the House version of the annual policy measure, would have extended the indemnity now provided by section 330 of the 1993 defense authorization bill to property not yet transferred at ammunition plants and other installations closed outside of the BRAC process …

Defense Spending Will Dominate Next Secretary’s Schedule

  • December 8, 2014
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Ashton Carter, President Obama’s nominee to succeed Chuck Hagel as secretary of defense, is not expected to face an arduous confirmation in the Senate, but he will be confronted with major tests over the department’s budget as soon as he takes the helm at the Pentagon. When Carter arrives DOD’s fiscal 2016 budget request most likely will be completed, leaving him the exercise of selling the proposal — which is expected to exceed the Budget Control Act spending cap by $36 billion — on Capitol Hill …

Installations, Operational Energy Posts at DOD to Merge under Authorization Bill

  • December 7, 2014
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The Pentagon’s top installations and environment position would be merged with the department’s operational energy chief post, under the compromise fiscal 2015 defense authorization bill unveiled last week. The new position would be called the assistant secretary of defense (ASD) for energy, installations and environment. The combined organization would “equally prioritize” the functions of the deputy undersecretary of defense for installations and environment with the ASD for operational energy plans and programs …

FY’16 Budget Request Expected to Exceed Spending Cap by $36B

  • December 7, 2014
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The Pentagon’s fiscal 2016 budget request is expected to surpass the corresponding Budget Control Act spending cap by $36 billion, bringing its base budget request in line with its long-planned $535 billion top line, Defense News reported. The higher figure was approved last week by the Office of Management and Budget, according to the story. The gap between DOD’s topline for its next five-year budget, which will cover FY 2016-2020, and the spending caps is expected to jump from $115 billion to $147 billion due to a request from the Joint Chiefs of Staff, which says it cannot carry out the current national security strategy without additional resources …

Confirmation Process Should Not Be Difficult for Carter

  • December 7, 2014
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Praising Ashton Carter for knowing the Pentagon “inside and out,” President Obama on Friday officially tapped the technocrat and recent deputy defense secretary to be the next civilian leader of the Defense Department. “On day one, he’s going to hit the ground running,” Obama said at the White House. The president called Carter “one of our nation’s foremost national security leaders” who has the strategic and technical background to be his fourth defense secretary. “He’s a reformer who’s never been afraid to cancel old or inefficient weapons programs …

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