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Posts Tagged ‘Congress/DOD’

Forbes Blasts Navy Plan to Deactivate Cruisers

  • July 13, 2014
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Rep. Randy Forbes (R-Va.), chairman of the House Armed Services’ Seapower and Projection Forces Subcommittee, slammed the Navy’s plan to save $4.7 billion by taking 11 guided missile cruisers out of service for modernization. Forbes faulted the proposal during a hearing Thursday, saying there is no guarantee the ships would return to service since the money needed to update the cruisers may not be available. “I don’t think this is a phased modernization plan,” Forbes said, reported the Virginian-Pilot. “I think this is a phased euthanization plan, because when those ships go into dry dock, we have no assurance they’re coming back …

Replacing Uniformed Personnel with Civilians Would Save Billions, CBO Says

  • July 10, 2014
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The Pentagon could save $19 billion from fiscal 2014-2023 by replacing 70,000 service members with civilian employees, according to a recent presentation by a Congressional Budget Office analyst. The 70,000 military personnel could be replaced with only 47,000 civilian workers partially because civilians have fewer ancillary responsibilities, reported Army Times. Other advantages to using civilians include savings from lower costs for pay and benefits, less frequent transfers and a reduced need for job-specific training …

Agencies Likely to Operate under CR at Start of FY’15

  • July 9, 2014
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It appears increasingly likely that the entire federal government will be forced to operate under a continuing resolution at the Oct. 1 start of the new fiscal year. With momentum on a three-bill “minibus” already stalled in the Senate and President Obama’s $3.7 billion emergency funding request to deal with child migrants competing for the short amount of time left on Capitol Hill before lawmakers return home to campaign ahead of the November elections, it’s not clear how any individual spending measures could be cleared by Congress before fiscal 2015 begins, reports CQ …

Window for Senate to Move Spending Bills is Running Out

  • July 7, 2014
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The Senate has four weeks before Congress’ August recess to regain momentum on the fiscal 2015 appropriations process and avoid the need to pass a continuing resolution to keep the government running past Sept. 30. No matter what, lawmakers will need to approve a stopgap funding bill to keep the doors open for most federal agencies at the start of the new fiscal year. But if Senate Republicans and Democrats can reach agreement on a small handful of next year’s appropriations bills, some agencies could get a full-year funding bill prior to Oct. 1 …

Budget Constraints Should Force DOD to Focus on Primary Foes, CSIS Concludes

  • July 6, 2014
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With the Pentagon’s budget slated to drop 21 percent from 2012 to 2021, the military’s priority should be to modernize its existing forces and to ensure it maintains its technological superiority in preparation for a conflict with Russia or China, according to a new study from the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS). Preparing for a “great power conflict” would mean maintaining its nuclear triad of long-range bombers, submarines and intercontinental ballistic missiles. Such an approach also would call for an emphasis on special operations forces and heavy ground units, along with a focus on surveillance in air and space …

Pentagon Needs to Bolster Climate Change Planning Efforts, GAO Finds

  • July 1, 2014
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In the past several years, the Defense Department has identified the impacts of climate change, such as rising temperatures and sea levels, as potential threats to its infrastructure, prompting the department to begin assessing installations’ vulnerability to climate change and to incorporate the phenomenon into installation planning efforts. Due to a number of limitations in its planning efforts, though, DOD needs to better prepare for the impacts of climate change, according to a new study by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) …

Senate Appropriations to Mark up Defense Bill Shortly

  • June 29, 2014
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The Senate Appropriations Committee will mark up the fiscal 2015 defense spending bill on July 17, Chairwoman Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.) said last week. Mikulski said she delayed scheduling the markup until Sen. Thad Cochran (R-Miss.), the defense panel’s ranking member, could return to Capitol Hill following his primary runoff, reported CQ. Cochran, who is line to replace Mikulski as committee chair if the Republicans gain control of the Senate in the midterm elections, defeated a tea party challenger last Tuesday in a very heated race. Postponing the markup also provides the committee time to consider the Pentagon’s request for the overseas contingency operations account, which it released Thursday.

Air Force Installations Nominee Advances Past Committee

  • June 26, 2014
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The nomination of Miranda Ballentine to be the next assistant secretary of the Air Force for installations, environment, and energy has advanced to the full Senate after the Armed Services Committee this week voted to “favorably report out” her nomination. President Obama nominated Ballentine, a top sustainability and renewable energy official for Wal-Mart Stores, for the post in January. She testified before the committee last week. To watch a webcast or read her answers to written questions, visit the committee website …

Power Plant Regulations at Heart of Senate Road Block on Spending Bills

  • June 26, 2014
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An effort by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) to block a recent Environmental Protection Agency proposal regulating carbon emissions from existing power plants appears to be at the center of last week’s decision by Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) to suspend debate on a package of three fiscal 2015 spending bills. And while the two Senate leaders and appropriators are trying to restart the appropriations process, failure to break the impasse could mean that all of the momentum in both chambers to move spending bills according to regular order this year could be lost …

DOD Readiness Chief Gains Senate Confirmation

  • June 25, 2014
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The Senate on Wednesday confirmed Jessica Wright to be the undersecretary of defense for personnel and readiness, the department’s senior official responsible for issues related to military and civilian personnel, including quality of life. Wright has been serving as acting undersecretary for personnel and readiness since January 2013, and previously served as assistant secretary of defense for reserve affairs. The Senate Armed Services Committee approved her nomination in January, but a floor vote had been delayed since then …

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