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Posts Tagged ‘Congress/DOD’

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 …

Not Clear What Hoops DOD Needs to Jump through to Gain BRAC Approval

  • April 8, 2015
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It’s no secret that most lawmakers are adamantly opposed to additional base closures and even after the Obama administration in February made its fourth request since 2012 for permission to hold a new BRAC round, it’s not clear that the Pentagon has made any headway with Congress. In fact, it’s difficult to find any lawmaker who will stand up for BRAC. In a story about the growing imbalance between DOD’s infrastructure and its force structure, Federal News Radio contacted six lawmakers who previously had said they would consider the department’s request to consolidate its infrastructure. None, however, agreed to comment for the story …

McCain to Seek Sixth Senate Term

  • April 7, 2015
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John McCain (R-Ariz.) announced Tuesday he will run for a sixth term in the Senate, paving the way for Congress’ most ardent defense hawk to remain at the helm of the chamber’s Armed Services Committee beyond 2016. McCain, who will be 80 on Election Day in 2016, likely will face a more conservative opponent in the Republican primary but with his long-standing popularity and strong fundraising ability, it will be difficult to topple him, reported Stars and Stripes. “The reality is I think it is going to be very hard to push him out,” said Gordon Adams, a professor of foreign policy at American University …

Carter Reaffirms Administration’s Commitment to Asia-Pacific

  • April 6, 2015
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The United States is entering a new stage in its pivot toward the Asia-Pacific region, with the Obama administration devoting increased attention to that sphere, Defense Secretary Ash Carter said Monday during a speech at Arizona State University. One component of the shift is military, with DOD’s newest and most capable weapons systems going first to the region. When movements are completed, 60 percent of the U.S. fleet will be in the Pacific-Indian Ocean area, Carter said. U.S. Marines already have a rotational presence in Australia and U.S. and Filipino authorities are working on ways to strengthen military-to-military cooperation …

Reliance on War Funding Account Allows Congress, DOD to Postpone Defense Reforms

  • April 6, 2015
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The ability of Congress and the Pentagon to stash spending in the military’s war funding account and sidestep the statutory spending limits sabotages the budget caps’ role in forcing officials to confront difficult decisions, a panel of experts said Friday at an event hosted by the Stimson Center. The department’s overseas operations account is “a budgetary disaster which leads you to expect resources to continue to be available when they probably will not be,” said Gordon Adams, who managed national security budgets at the Office of Management and Budget during the Clinton administration …

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