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Posts Tagged ‘Congress/DOD’

Water Seeks Higher Level among Pentagon Priorities

  • March 12, 2014
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Defense officials have begun to take a closer look at the shrinking availability of water supplies across installations and the resulting impact on readiness, with their latest efforts focused on determining which bases can be expected to face a shortage in the coming decades. As the basis of its planning effort, the Pentagon is directing installations to calculate how much water they have access to, how much they use and how much they absolutely need …

Need for BRAC is Clear, Installation Officials Tell Lawmakers

  • March 12, 2014
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A new round of base closures is needed to avoid wasting money on unneeded facilities, John Conger, acting deputy undersecretary of defense for installations and environment, told the House Appropriations Military Construction and Veterans Affairs Subcommittee on Wednesday. Equally important, granting DOD the authority to realign and shutter installations also would free up defense funds for other urgent priorities, including readiness and modernization, Conger told lawmakers. The services’ installation chiefs who testified along with Conger all emphasized that they have excess capacity, a disparity that is particularly acute for the Army and Air Force …

Inhofe Demands Clear Spending Plan from Pentagon

  • March 12, 2014
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After defense officials presented conflicting accounts over the past two weeks of what force structure levels are included in their five-year spending plan, Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.), ranking member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, wants DOD to clear up the confusion right away. “Everyone knows it’s a dilemma,” Inhofe said. “They’re trying to do something to make the sequestration part of the budget less offensive …

DOD Plan Would Turn Commissaries into Business Enterprise

  • March 12, 2014
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The Pentagon’s proposal to drastically reduce federal subsidies for military groceries would force most stateside commissaries to operate as a for-profit enterprise, according to documents released last week in conjunction with DOD’s fiscal 2015 budget request. The Pentagon is proposing to reduce the annual direct subsidy to commissaries by $1 billion over the next three years; the annual subsidy now totals $1.4 billion. After three years, the lower funding would reduce the average discount for military families from 30 percent to 10 percent, according to senior defense officials. At that point, stateside commissaries would need to cover their operating costs to remain viable, reported Stars and Stripes …

Lawmakers Unlikely to Adjust Sequester Cuts through FY’15

  • March 11, 2014
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With a difficult compromise on spending already achieved in December, Congress is unlikely to offer agencies additional relief from the existing spending caps until fiscal 2016. The bipartisan deal reached late last year reversed $63 billion in discretionary spending cuts across the government over FY 2014 and 2015, reducing the urgency to revisit the caps until the agreement expires on Sept. 30, 2015. At that point, though, serious discussions on a new deal to lift the spending caps could begin …

Officials Fight Proposal to Deactivate Airlift Unit at Ft. Bragg

  • March 11, 2014
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Local leaders and elected officials are trying to reverse the Air Force’s proposal to deactivate the 440th Airlift Wing, an Air Force Reserve unit based at Fort Bragg’s Pope Field, saying the move would jeopardize the responsiveness of the Army’s 82nd Airborne Division and eliminate more than 1,000 jobs in the Fayetteville, N.C., area. The proposal came last week as part of the Air Force’s fiscal 2015 budget request, which calls for retiring the 440th’s 12 C-130H Hercules cargo aircraft. Without the 440th’s C-130s, Army paratroopers at Fort Bragg would be forced to rely on aircraft from South Carolina, Georgia or New York to train …

Last-Minute Change to DOD’s Spending Plan Complicated Budget Presentation

  • March 11, 2014
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Confounding explanations by top Pentagon officials last week over what force structure levels could be sustained by the department’s five-year spending plan were the direct result of a White House decision earlier this year to approve a budget that exceeded the spending caps imposed by the 2011 Budget Control Act. Defense officials originally prepared budgets that complied with the spending caps for both its fiscal 2015 request and the future years defense plan (FYDP), the spending projection for the next five years. Sometime early this year — at a very late stage in in the budget process — the White House told DOD to plan for exceeding the spending caps from FY 2016-2019 by $115 billion …

Lawmakers Resist Pentagon Spending Plan

  • March 9, 2014
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The Democratic and Republican leaders of the Senate Armed Services Committee last week both criticized DOD’s five-year spending plan for providing insufficient funds to sustain the nation’s military. “The proposal before us makes reductions in force structure and compensation that will be difficult for many to support,” Chairman Carl Levin (D-Mich.) said during the March 5 hearing on the department’s fiscal 2015 budget request. Levin cited the spending caps imposed by the 2011 Budget Control Act as the primary obstacle facing the military, an assessment that Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel concurred with and expanded upon …

Appropriators Eager to Move Spending Bills Early in Session

  • March 9, 2014
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The top appropriators for the House and Senate are intent on returning to regular order this year and enacting all 12 spending bills before the Oct. 1 start of the new fiscal year. Committee Chairs Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.) and Rep. Harold Rogers (R-Ky.) met last week to coordinate their schedules for moving fiscal 2015 spending bills. Markups are expected to begin in the spring with floor action taking place over the summer …

BRAC is DOD’s Preferred Method to Address Excess Infrastructure, Spokesman Insists

  • March 9, 2014
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Pentagon Press Secretary Rear Adm. John Kirby on Friday successfully deflected a reporter’s question as to when DOD would act to eliminate excess infrastructure outside the bounds of BRAC by repeating multiple times that officials would prefer to pare down the department’s real estate portfolio through a base closure round. “The preferred method is to work with the Congress and to get another round of BRAC,” Kirby said. The reporter asked Kirby to clarify recent statements by Defense Secretary and other top officials that DOD has authorities beyond BRAC to reduce its infrastructure, but the press secretary offered very little in terms of specifics …

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