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Posts Tagged ‘Congress/DOD’

Wittman Argues against Administration’s BRAC Request

  • February 20, 2015
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At last week’s hearing of the House Armed Services Committee with defense experts on where savings could be found in the defense budget, Rep. Rob Wittman (R-Va.), chairman of the committee’s readiness panel, focused on the witnesses’ support for a new round of base closures as one avenue for cutting costs. At the outset of the hearing, Bensahel listed a new BRAC round as one of three priorities for reforming DOD spending. “The Army and the Air Force have each estimated that they have around 20 percent excess capacity. It is unconscionable to require these services to continue spending money on facilities that they do not need while the budget caps require them to cut end strength, training, and readiness, which puts American troops at risk …

DOD Has Not Drafted Alternate FY’16 Budget to Meet Spending Cap

  • February 19, 2015
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Pentagon officials do not have a backup spending plan for fiscal 2016 in the event that lawmakers fail to lift the $499 billion spending cap for the department’s base budget, Comptroller Mike McCord said this week. “The answer right now is no, we do not have an alternate plan,” McCord said. Budget officials had developed alternate budgets in past years to prepare for the possibility of sequestration, he said, but the department believed preparing multiple budgets was not worth the effort …

Deal to Ease Budget Pressure on Pentagon Is Likely, Hale Says

  • February 18, 2015
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Congress likely will strike a moderate deal relaxing the $499 billion cap on the Defense Department’s fiscal 2016 base budget, according to former DOD Comptroller Robert Hale. “What I hope happens is that we get another mini-deal,” Hale, an adviser to Booz Allen Hamilton, told Federal News Radio. Hale pointed to a recent speech by Rep. Rob Wittman (R-Va.), chairman of the House Armed Services’ Readiness Subcommittee, as a positive sign for the prospects of a new budget deal. “I do think there is a good chance that through the budgeting process that sequestration will be set aside,” said Wittman …

Carter Pledges to Fight for Service Members, Build Force of the Future

  • February 18, 2015
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Ashton Carter was formally sworn in Tuesday as defense secretary, providing the former deputy defense secretary almost two years to tackle a number of thorny national security crises. “If anyone is made for this job, if there’s a job description that fits a person, this is the guy that fits the job description,” Vice President Joe Biden said before administering the oath of office to Carter at the White House. Carter, 60, also served as the undersecretary of defense for acquisition, technology and logistics under Obama. In a message to the DOD workforce, Carter laid out three priorities for his tenure: Helping the president make the best possible national security decisions for protecting the nation …

Reporting to Duty, Carter Will Face Numerous Priorities

  • February 16, 2015
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Ashton Carter, who is scheduled to be sworn in as the next defense secretary Tuesday morning, will have an array of foreign crises to deal with, calling into question his ability to reach a breakthrough with Congress to loosen the statutory cap on defense spending. “One thing we know for sure about Ash Carter’s tenure as defense secretary is that it will be fleeting,” said Loren Thompson of the Lexington Institute. “Whatever plans he may have for spurring innovation or reforming processes, the reality is that his schedule will probably be captured by bigger issues such as [the Islamic State] and Ukraine …

Pentagon Gets Carter after Senate Confirmation

  • February 13, 2015
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Ashton Carter is expected to assume the official duties of the defense secretary and take the oath of office in the next several days, the Pentagon reported following the Senate’s 93-5 confirmation vote Thursday. Carter, 60, will become the 25th Pentagon chief after earlier stints in the Obama administration as deputy secretary and acquisition chief. The pain-free confirmation process enjoyed by Carter was a tribute to his popularity on both sides of the aisle. Prior to the vote, John McCain, chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, praised the candidate on the Senate floor. “He is one of America’s most experienced defense professionals, respected by Republicans and Democrats alike …

The Insanity Defense (Department) Will Remain Hard Pressed to Win Congress’ Approval for BRAC

  • February 12, 2015
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The Pentagon shouldn’t be surprised that Congress rejected its requests the past three years to realign and close additional bases and likely will ignore its request again this year. Until defense officials revise the BRAC law to address lawmakers’ concerns about the 2005 round’s ballooning implementation cost and less-than-promised annual savings, there is no reason to believe Congress will suddenly embrace a new round of base closures, Lucian Niemeyer, a former staff member of the Senate Armed Service Committee, says in a commentary published in Real Clear Defense. “Each year, Congress has asked the Pentagon to suggest improvements to the BRAC law and, each year, there have been none. It would be insane for Congress to say ‘yes’ to the same process and expect a different result …

Wittman Places High Bar for New BRAC Round

  • February 11, 2015
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The Defense Department needs to make a stronger case to convince Rep. Rob Wittman (R-Va.) that the House Armed Services’ Readiness Subcommittee should approve its request to hold a new round of base closures. Wittman, who chairs the readiness panel, wants answers from DOD on two different questions before he would consider authorizing another BRAC, reported the Daily Press. One is finding out where the department is spending too much money. He does not believe that spending cuts should be applied equally across the services. The other answer Wittman is looking for is an analysis of the potential savings from a new round over the next five years …

DOD Budget Has Room for Cuts, Experts Say

  • February 11, 2015
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At a hearing of the House Armed Services Committee on Wednesday, defense experts pointed to a number of places the Pentagon could slash spending to meet the Budget Control Act caps starting in fiscal 2016. For starters, DOD should consider the recent recommendations of the Military Compensation and Retirement Modernization Commission, which include offering contributions to 401(k)-style accounts for service members who leave before reaching the 20-year service milestone, reported Military Times. “They’ve got a sound approach there — it certainly could use some tweaks and improvements from Congress,” said Todd Harrison, a senior fellow with the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessment …

Former Defense Officials Reinforce McCain’s Campaign to Increase DOD Budget

  • February 11, 2015
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Two former defense undersecretaries on Tuesday told the Senate Armed Services Committee that DOD’s annual budget should be raised by tens of billions of dollars to address expanding global threats, declining troop readiness and the need to develop new weapons. The recommendation from Eric Edelman and Michèle Flournoy would far exceed the fiscal 2016 budget proposed by President Obama, which calls for spending $35 billion more than the statutory spending cap, reported Stars and Stripes. “The United States probably faces the most complex and volatile security situation that we’ve faced in a long time, if ever,” said Eric Edelman …

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