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Posts Tagged ‘Congress/DOD’

Change in Housing Allowance Applies to Families Living On-, Off-Base

  • January 27, 2015
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Military families living in on-base privatized housing as well as those living off base will be affected by Congress’ move to slow the growth in the basic allowance for housing (BAH) so it covers only 99 percent of rental costs. The change, enacted as part of the fiscal 2015 defense authorization bill, means that families moving into privatized housing will pay rent that is one percent higher than their BAH. “The basic premise is that whatever is happening to everybody in town, whatever added burden they’re bearing whether it’s one percent [of average rental costs] out of pocket or absent renter’s insurance, then people on base will bear the same burden …

European Consolidation May Not Put BRAC Request over the Top, Past DOD Officials Say

  • January 26, 2015
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The consolidation of DOD’s military facilities in Europe announced earlier this month can be expected to bolster the department’s case for conducting a new BRAC round, but likely won’t be sufficient to convince lawmakers to grant the request, say several former Pentagon officials. “I think [the changes in Europe] will help some in terms of persuading Congress to give BRAC authority,” former DOD Comptroller Robert Hale told Stars and Stripes. “It was a reason in the past to deny BRAC authority. But I have to be candid and say I don’t think it will be enough …

FY’16 Budget May Propose Ending Requirement for Commissary Goods to Be Discounted

  • January 26, 2015
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The Pentagon is considering requesting Congress eliminate the requirement that commissary items be sold “at reduced cost,” as part of a package of fiscal 2016 budget proposals intended to reduce the cost of operating military grocery stores. The legislative change would be far-reaching and could end the commissary benefit for military families, reported the Navy Times. Commissaries now offer military families an average savings of about 30 percent over off-base groceries. Eliminating the requirement would help the Defense Commissary Agency meet a DOD mandate to identify $322 million in annual savings. Such a change, however, would result in DOD operating its commissaries closer to the way its exchanges are run …

Ohio Lawmakers, Installation Officials Discuss BRAC Scenarios

  • January 26, 2015
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Four Ohio lawmakers met with military officials on Friday to gather input for a plan to defend, and possibly enhance, the state’s installations in a future round of base closures. “What is our assessment of our vulnerabilities and opportunities as we look to the future and the possibility of decreased defense spending and another possible Base Realignment and Closure,” said Rep. Mike Turner. “How does it happen? What is the scope? How do we play the best hand to make sure that Ohio wins …

Carter to Defend FY’16 Budget before Congress

  • January 22, 2015
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Ashton Carter, who is almost certain to become the next Pentagon chief, will present the department’s fiscal 2016 budget request to Congress instead of Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, according to the House and Senate Armed Services committees. “It’s going to be Carter, so we’re going to delay it some,” Senate Armed Services Chairman John McCain (R-Ariz.) told reporters Thursday. He said Carter and Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, would present the budget request to his committee during the first week of March, one month after President Obama is scheduled to release the new spending proposal …

Hagel Offers Warning on Spending Caps

  • January 22, 2015
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During what he called one of his last official news conferences, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel told reporters Thursday that many of the gains achieved by the military will be lost if lawmakers fail to provide DOD relief from the statutory spending cap for fiscal 2016. “The progress we have made will quickly evaporate if sequestration returns in 2016,” Hagel said. “We need long-term budget predictability and we need the flexibility to prioritize and make the difficult decisions … more effectively …

Congress Needs to Maintain Vigilant Oversight of Pentagon, Thornberry Says

  • January 20, 2015
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There are multiple reasons why lawmakers would ignore many of the Obama administration’s recent belt-tightening reforms such as holding a new BRAC round, Rep. Mac Thornberry (R-Texas), the new chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, said Tuesday. Thornberry referred to a number of DOD proposals to trim force structure, including retiring the A-10 close air support aircraft, not refueling the U.S.S. George Washington aircraft carrier and shutting down the assembly line for M1 Abrams tanks. “Sometimes the Pentagon is penny-wise, pound-foolish. Sometimes there is parochialism within the Pentagon …

Colorado LRA Narrows List of Consultants to Prepare Reuse Plan

  • January 20, 2015
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The LRA for the Pueblo Chemical Depot has selected three nationally known firms as finalists to craft a reuse plan for the Colorado site. The finalists are: Burns & McDonnell; Matrix Design Group; and Weston Solutions. The contract with PuebloPlex will call for the winning firm to assess the infrastructure on 16,000 acres of the 23,000-acre property that was declared surplus in 2013. The firm also would perform an economic analysis of Pueblo County, identify available buildings and provide a market analysis to determine how much the assets are worth. The LRA plans to interview each consultant teams on Jan. 29, with a final selection scheduled for Jan. 30, reported the Pueblo Chieftain. The Army will retain control of about 7,000 acres at the depot until it finishes destroying mustard-agent weapons that have been stored there for about 60 years.

Thornberry Hopeful Lawmakers Will Relax Spending Cap

  • January 19, 2015
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Rep. Mac Thornberry (R-Texas), the new chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, said he was optimistic Congress would relax the stringent cap on defense spending for fiscal 2016, but at the same time offered no clear strategy for achieving that aim. “I think we will find some way to improve the situation and I think we definitely should,” Thornberry told CQ last week. “And I really believe that most Republicans and Democrats in the House also agree with that — that there needs to be a fix to sequestration,” he said. The chairman acknowledged, however, that it is not clear how the two parties could strike a deal to lift the defense spending cap in the 2011 Budget Control Act …

Three Republicans Added to House Milcon Spending Panel

  • January 19, 2015
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The GOP lineup for the House Military Construction and Veterans Affairs Appropriations Subcommittee will feature three new members, including the chairman, Charlie Dent (Pa.). The other two new Republican members are David Joyce (Ohio) and David Jolly (Fla.). Committee Chairman Hal Rogers (R-Ky.) announced the GOP rosters for each of the 12 subcommittees last week. Dent’s district stretches from Harrisburg to Allentown, and includes Fort Indiantown Gap, an active National Guard Training Center which serves as the headquarters for the Pennsylvania Department of Military and Veterans Affairs. The Republican roster for the House Military Construction Appropriations Subcommittee includes: Charlie Dent (Pa.), chairman; Alan Nunnelee (Miss.); Jeff Fortenberry (Neb.); Tom Rooney (Fla.); Martha Roby (Ala.); David Joyce (Ohio); and David Jolly (Fla.).

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