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Posts Tagged ‘Congress/DOD’

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 …

Budget Deal Will Be Difficult to Justify, Sessions Says

  • January 14, 2015
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Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions, a senior member of the Senate Armed Services and Budget committees, says the bar will be relatively high for fiscal conservatives to sign off on an agreement to relax the Budget Control Act cap on defense spending. “I believe if people want to raise the defense cap, then they’re going to have to justify it,” Sessions told DefenseNews. “We’re going to have to talk about it, and we’re going to have to go to more than just general rhetoric but specific justifications because it doesn’t do any good to have … the Budget Control Act if we’re not going to adhere to it but [for] a year or two …

Illinois’ Kirk to Head Senate Milcon Spending Panel

  • January 13, 2015
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With Republicans assuming control of the Senate, Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) will chair the Senate Military Construction-Veterans Affairs Appropriations Subcommittee in the 114th Congress. Kirk previously had been the panel’s ranking member. Illinois has three major installations — Naval Station Great Lakes, Scott Air Force Base and Rock Island Arsenal. Last week, the committee’s Democrats announced that Sen. Jon Tester (D-Mont.) will be the milcon panel’s ranking member. Sen. Thad Cochran (R-Miss.), who will serve as the full committee chairman, has not formally announced the cardinals for each of the 12 panels, but the Republican conference ratified the selections, reported CQ. Cochran also will take the gavel for the defense appropriations subcommittee, with Dick Durbin (Ill.) remaining the senior Democrat on the panel.

Defense Officials Signal Intention to Request New BRAC Round

  • January 11, 2015
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Comments last week by two senior DOD officials provided a relatively strong indication the Obama administration once more will ask Congress for permission to conduct another round of base closures when it submits its fiscal 2016 budget request next month. On Friday Rear Adm. John Kirby, the Pentagon press secretary, told reporters that the European infrastructure consolidation announced the previous day didn’t change the department’s view of the pressing need for a new BRAC round. “You know, we’re operating right now with what we think is about a 25 percent excess infrastructure here in the continental United States. And we simply can’t afford that,” said Kirby. “And I suspect you’ll see that — that be part of the discussion moving forward into February,” he said …

New Year Ushers in New Installations, Energy Organization at Pentagon

  • January 11, 2015
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The Defense Department has merged its installations and operational energy organizations to comply with the newly enacted fiscal 2015 defense authorization bill. The newly formed organization, the office of the assistant secretary of defense (ASD) for energy, installations and environment, is being run by John Conger, who had been acting deputy undersecretary of defense (DUSD) for installations and environment. But because the new officeholder needs to be nominated by the president and is subject to Senate confirmation, Conger’s official title now is “performing the duties of the ASD for energy, installations and environment,” DOD spokesman Mark Wright told 360 …

Montana Senator Named to Top Democratic Spot on Milcon Spending Panel

  • January 11, 2015
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Montana Sen. Jon Tester (D) will be the ranking member on the Senate Military Construction and Veterans Affairs Appropriations Subcommittee in the new Congress, the committee’s Democrats announced Friday. Tester fills the opening on the milcon panel created by the retirement of Tim Johnson (D-S.D.). Montana has one major installation, Malmstrom Air Force Base. Another panel getting a new ranking member is Homeland Security, notable because its new top Democrat, Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.), gave up the opportunity to serve in that capacity on any of the Armed Services Committee’s panels. She had been chairman of the Armed Services’ readiness panel and remains a member of the full committee …

Pentagon Unveils Consolidation Plan for European Basing

  • January 8, 2015
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The Defense Department will close a major U.S. Air Force base in the United Kingdom and 14 other European facilities as part of an infrastructure consolidation expected to save $500 million annually. Thursday’s announcement by senior defense officials represented the culmination of the European Infrastructure Consolidation process, a two-year effort designed to improve the efficiency of the U.S. presence in Europe by eliminating excess infrastructure. “[The] bottom line for us was that we wanted to preserve our operational capability, while reducing the cost of supporting it,” said John Conger …

BRAC Lurks below Surface of European Infrastructure Initiative

  • January 8, 2015
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The European Infrastructure Consolidation announced Thursday should help DOD make its case to Congress for a new BRAC round, according to the Pentagon’s top installations official. Since the Obama administration first asked permission three years ago to conduct additional base closures, one of the most popular reasons cited by lawmakers for ignoring the request was that the department still needed to streamline its overseas footprint. On Thursday, John Conger, performing the duties of the assistant secretary of defense for energy, installations and environment, acknowledged the effort to pare excess infrastructure partially was intended to respond to lawmakers’ concerns …

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