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Posts Tagged ‘Congress/DOD’

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 …

DOD Stuck with Sequestration, House Panelists Conclude

  • March 7, 2014
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In the 10 days since Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel outlined the department’s latest budget and associated cuts in force structure, Republican lawmakers have denounced the spending plan while Democrats have expressed reservations with the proposed changes. But despite warnings from Hagel and other top Pentagon officials that Congress will need to reverse at least some of the defense cuts imposed under the 2011 Budget Control Act if it wants to avoid weakening the military, the prospect of lawmakers reaching a deal to adjust the spending caps remains quite low …

Veterans Affairs Budget Would Receive Boost under FY’15 Request

  • March 6, 2014
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The Department of Veterans Affairs would be allocated $163.9 billion under President Obama’s fiscal 2015 budget request, a $10.1 billion increase over current funding levels. The proposal includes $1 billion to create a Veterans Job Corps, an initiative to put former service members to work as police officers, emergency response personnel and park rangers. Congress has rejected that plan each of the last two years, calling the idea too broad and expensive …

Cleanup Funding For Past BRAC Rounds Would Take Hit under FY’15 Proposal

  • March 6, 2014
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Funding to clean up installations closed during previous BRAC rounds would fall 40 percent to $270.1 million in fiscal 2015, under DOD’s latest budget request. If approved by Congress, the recommendation would continue a steep drop in funding for past base closure rounds since FY 2013. That year, Congress provided $759.6 million for cleanup and other closure costs associated with the five rounds of BRAC. This year, lawmakers allocated $451.4 million for the BRAC account …

Pentagon Paints Itself into Corner with Five-Year Spending Plan

  • March 5, 2014
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Top DOD officials had a difficult time Wednesday explaining to the Senate Armed Services Committee the logical inconsistency between a five-year budget that assumes $115 billion in relief from sequester cuts and the spending plan’s cuts in force structure they said could be avoided with the additional funding. On Tuesday, Pentagon Comptroller Robert Hale told reporters that officials included in its FY 2015-2019 budget a cut in the Army’s active-duty end strength to 420,000 and a reduction to 10 aircraft carrier battle groups. That spending plan assumes that a significant portion of the sequester cuts slated for FY 2016 and beyond would be reversed, allowing the military to avoid some of the most far-reaching impacts of sequestration …

Opposition Mounts on Hill to BRAC Request

  • March 5, 2014
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The Pentagon’s request to hold a round of base closures in 2017 is having trouble gaining traction among lawmakers, a similar reception to its requests for additional BRAC rounds in each of the past two years. The administration’s proposal stands little chance of going forward this year, Carl Levin (D-Mich.), chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, said Wednesday following his panel’s hearing on DOD’s fiscal 2015 budget request. “I just don’t think we’ve seen the value of it, including the last BRAC …

QDR Builds on 2012 Strategic Guidance

  • March 5, 2014
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The 2014 version of the Quadrennial Defense Review (QDR) released Tuesday in conjunction with DOD’s fiscal 2015 budget request updates the defense strategic guidance the department released in 2012 while highlighting the need to rebalance the force to carry out the nation’s national security priorities. The review discusses the rationale behind many of the proposals included in DOD’s latest five-year spending plan, such as reducing the size of the Army and Marine Corps, trimming DOD staffs by 20 percent, conducting a new round of base realignment and closure, and slowing the growth in manpower costs. Regarding the justification for a new BRAC, the QDR notes the department estimates it already has more infrastructure than it needs, an imbalance that will only grow as the military reduces its force structure …

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