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Posts Tagged ‘Congress/DOD’

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 …

Senior Army Official Named to Top DOD Readiness Post

  • April 6, 2015
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Brad Carson, currently undersecretary of the Army and the Army’s chief management officer, was appointed by President Obama as the acting 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. Carson replaces Jessica Wright, who said in December she would step down. Carson assumes the post at a time of renewed debate about the future of military compensation and personnel policies …

House Panels to Mark up Authorization Bill in Two Weeks

  • April 5, 2015
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Six subcommittees of the House Armed Services Committee will mark up their portions of the fiscal 2016 defense authorization bill from April 22-23, with the full committee markup scheduled for April 29. The Readiness Subcommittee, which is responsible for installation policy including BRAC, will mark up its portion of the annual policy bill on April 22 at 4 p.m. All of the markups will be streamed live on the committee’s YouTube Channel, according to the committee’s announcement. The committee will post draft bills for each subcommittee and the full committee on its website prior to the markups. Last month, Committee Chairman Mac Thornberry (R-Texas) said the legislation is scheduled to go to the House floor in mid-May.

Navy League Spearheads Campaign to Shore up Military Funding

  • April 1, 2015
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The Navy League is launching a grassroots campaign to generate public support for bolstering the budget of the Navy and the Marine Corps. The initiative comes as the 2011 Budget Control Act spending caps are slated to be fully imposed for the first time since the legislation was enacted and the military is grappling with a variety of global threats even as it no longer is engaged in combat operations in Iraq and is in the midst of drawing down from Afghanistan. “Since 2001, the pace of Navy and Marine Corps operations has not slowed down,” said Sheila McNeill, who is chairing the national campaign and is a former Navy League president …

N.C. Delegation Requests Language to Grant Reprieve to Ft. Bragg Airlift Wing

  • April 1, 2015
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In the latest move to save Fort Bragg’s 440th Airlift Wing, five members of North Carolina’s congressional delegation are trying to add language to the fiscal 2016 defense spending bill to block the Air Force from dismantling or relocating the Reserve unit based at Pope Field. Last week, the lawmakers wrote the leaders of the House Defense Appropriations Subcommittee to include a provision stating that no funds can be “used to inactivate, relocate or otherwise disrupt the mission, personnel or aircraft” of the unit, which flies C-130H cargo airplanes. The delegation argues that disbanding the wing would hurt the training of Army airborne and special operations forces, and cost more money by forcing the Army to rely on out-of-state units to carry out routine missions and training exercises …

Services Cite Installation Support as Priority in ‘Wish Lists’

  • March 31, 2015
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The Pentagon’s list of priorities that failed to make the fiscal 2016 budget request is heavy on weapons modernization and readiness needs, but it also includes installations support and quality-of-life programs. In his letter to the congressional defense committees accompanying the department’s “wish list,” Defense Secretary Ashton Carter warned lawmakers that these items — costing more than $20 billion — should not be funded unless Congress matches the amount requested in in the president’s regular budget proposal. “Any extra program inserted into our budget submission will come at the expense of other programs we deemed more important, with ripple effects across the rest of the budget …

Higher Prices Won’t Offset Cuts in Commissary Subsidies, RAND Concludes

  • March 31, 2015
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The administration’s plan to offset cuts in subsidies to military grocery stores through higher prices likely won’t be successful, according to a new RAND study. Raising prices at commissaries can be expected to result in a drop in unit sales and total revenue as shoppers are likely to be relatively responsive to changes in price. As a result, the authors conclude that “raising overall price levels will likely not be a successful strategy to cover shortfalls in costs caused by the elimination of the annual U.S. Department of Defense appropriation.” And while military families who shop at commissaries would see their grocery bills increase, their extra expenses likely would be offset somewhat as they shopped elsewhere for some groceries and other items …

Personnel, Spending Cuts Hurt Army Communities, Halverson Says

  • March 31, 2015
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Budget uncertainties resulting from stringent spending caps are hurting defense communities, Lt. Gen. David Halverson, the Army’s assistant chief of staff for installation management and commander of the Army’s Installation Management Command, testified on Capitol Hill last month. “Current funding requires installations to scale back or cancel service contracts that employ people in local communities and requiring installations to work with commanders to use special duty assignments to support installation services and programs,” Halverson told the Senate Military Construction and Veterans Affairs Appropriations Subcommittee …

White House Endorses Recommendations to Overhaul Military Compensation

  • March 30, 2015
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President Obama said Monday he will support the broad package of reforms to military pay and benefits proposed earlier this year by a congressionally chartered panel. “I believe the recommendations are an important step forward in protecting the long-term viability of the all-volunteer force, improving quality-of-life for service members and their families, and ensuring the fiscal sustainability of the military compensation and retirement systems,” Obama wrote in a letter to Congress. The president said the administration will send Congress by April 30 a set of legislative proposals based on the recommendations of the Military Compensation and Retirement Modernization Commission …

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