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Posts Tagged ‘Congress/DOD’

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.).

Air Force Confirms Intention to Ask Congress for BRAC Authorization

  • January 15, 2015
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Air Force Secretary Deborah Lee James on Thursday acknowledged DOD would be asking Congress to hold another BRAC round as part of the fiscal 2016 budget request. James, who was delivering a “State of the Air Force” briefing at the Pentagon along with Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Welsh, also told reporters that the new budget would ask to retire fleets of aging aircraft, including the A-10 Warthog, as it did last year. “We are going to be asking the Congress of course to eliminate sequestration, we will renew that call, as well as to allow us to get rid of excess base infrastructure. We’ll be renewing that as well. And we will once again ask for the authority to divest some of our older aircraft in order to free up money to plow back into people, readiness, and modernization …

Senate Armed Services Announces Complete Lineup

  • January 15, 2015
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The Senate Armed Services’ Readiness Subcommittee will feature three new Republicans and one new Democrat, Chairman John McCain (R-Ariz.) and ranking member Jack Reed (D-R.I.) announced this week. Former full committee ranking member James Inhofe (Okla.), newly elected Joni Ernst (Iowa) and Mike Rounds (S.D.) were added on the Republican side. Martin Heinrich (N.M.) is the only new Democrat on the panel which is responsible for BRAC; installations; environmental programs; training, logistics and maintenance; contracting and acquisition policy; and business and financial management. As reported last week, the main surprise on the panel is that Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.), who had been the chair in the 113th Congress, decided not to serve as the ranking member on any of the Armed Services’ subcommittees. Instead, she will be the ranking member on the Homeland Security Appropriations panel …

No BRAC until Military’s Future Role Is Clarified, Thornberry Says

  • January 15, 2015
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One week after taking the reins of the House Armed Services Committee, Rep. Mac Thornberry (R-Texas) revealed a strong reluctance to consider authorizing a new round of base closures, and underscored the need to better define the future roles and missions of the nation’s military before going ahead. “We are still having a discussion in this country about what the role of the United States is in the world and about what sort of military capabilities we need to fulfill that role. Once you give up a base or a training range, it’s gone forever …

GOP Widens Majority on House Armed Services

  • January 15, 2015
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Republicans will increase their majority on the House Armed Services Committee in the new Congress to reflect the party’s expanded majority in the chamber. The party’s majority will increase by three, from 34-28 to 36-27, with the committee growing from 62 to 63 members, reported CQ. That change follows increased interest in national security, according to Republican aides. The expanded majority means it will be more difficult for Democrats to obtain compromises on matters before the panel …

Goal of Passing Spending Bills Independently May Be Elusive, Cochran Says

  • January 14, 2015
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The new chair of the Senate Appropriations Committee says he is aiming to pass the federal government’s 12 spending bills for fiscal 2016 individually but concedes chances are good he’ll be forced to bundle some measures to move them through the chamber. “Try as we might, we’re going to end up with some bills grouped together, probably, to expedite the consideration of them all,” Thad Cochran (R-Miss.) told CQ. Cochran also stressed the need to start crafting spending bills early to avoid the need to resort to continuing resolutions and omnibus bills to keep the government open …

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