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Posts Tagged ‘Congress/DOD’

Elimination of Commissary Subsidy Could Have Far-Reaching Consequences

  • April 24, 2014
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The Obama administration’s plan to slash the annual subsidy for military grocery stores could jeopardize the viability of military exchanges as well as quality-of-life programs, according to a former director of the Defense Commissary Agency. “The role of the dice is not just on whether the commissaries will survive, it’s whether the entire system can survive,” Richard Beale Jr., who led the Defense Commissary Agency from 1992 to 1999 …

McKeon Outlines Priorities for Policy Bill

  • April 23, 2014
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Rep. Buck McKeon (R-Calif.), chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, cited readiness, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance, and nuclear deterrence as his chief priorities as the panel gets ready to unveil the fiscal 2015 defense authorization bill. In addition to readiness — which has deteriorated due to spending caps imposed in each of the past two years — McKeon said he was concerned about the Navy’s proposal to retire an aircraft carrier and the Air Force’s decision to retire its fleet of A-10 close air support aircraft …

DOD Should Take Advantage of Roads Program, House Panel Says

  • April 21, 2014
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The Defense Department should make greater use of the Defense Access Roads (DAR) program, a way for DOD to upgrade roads outside of military installations, according to the report of the House Appropriations Committee accompanying the fiscal 2015 military construction-veterans affairs spending bill. “The committee has heard of many worthwhile road construction/expansion projects in and around military installations that are in great need of funding,” the panel states. Those projects would benefit both the installations and the communities …

Milcon Bill Expected on House Floor Next Week

  • April 21, 2014
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The fiscal 2015 military construction-veterans affairs spending measure is expected to be brought up on the House floor next week, as the chamber gets off to its fastest start for advancing appropriations bills in decades. House leaders have not yet determined exactly when the legislation would get floor time, however. The milcon bill likely would be brought up under an open amendment process, Republican aides told CQ. Rep. Harold Rogers (R-Ky.), chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, has set an ambitious goal of marking up all 12 spending bills by July 4, and for the House to finish debating all 12 by the August recess …

Defense Lobbying Shifts from Capitol Hill to Pentagon

  • April 20, 2014
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Even as lobbyists gear up for markups of the defense authorization bill and spending bills, much of their attention has shifted to the Defense Department as spending caps and earmark bans limit the power of lawmakers. “We’re not doing the retail lobbying on the Hill anymore,” one lobbyist told CQ. “I’m only hiring people who know their way around the Pentagon.” The change comes as lawmakers have lost much of their influence on spending decisions …

BRAC Criteria Need to Account for Intellectual Resources, House Panel Says

  • April 17, 2014
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The Pentagon should take into account the “intellectual capabilities” of the region surrounding an installation under consideration for realignment or closure, according to the report of the House Appropriations Committee accompanying the fiscal 2015 military construction-veterans affairs spending bill. The committee recommends that DOD add a new factor to the final BRAC selection criteria that takes into account a region’s intellectual capabilities, especially when considering academic and technical institutions …

Senate Hearing to Provide Joint Chiefs Chance to Defend Cuts in Benefits

  • April 17, 2014
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The Senate Armed Services Committee is providing the Joint Chiefs of Staff a rare opportunity to make clear the tradeoff between accepting the changes in military pay and compensation the Pentagon has proposed or risking further deterioration in the military’s readiness. The May 6 hearing is slated to include testimony from all seven of the four-star officers that make up the Joint Chiefs of Staff. To mitigate the impact of spending caps initially mandated in the 2011 Budget Control Act, defense officials have looked for savings in skyrocketing personnel costs. The cutbacks to compensation included in the department’s five-year budget would save $2.1 billion next year and $30 billion through fiscal 2019 …

Lawmakers Want Better Data on Underutilized Property at Installations

  • April 16, 2014
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The House Appropriations Committee has asked the Pentagon to prepare a plan for maximizing the use of its facilities in an effort to cut costs, according to its report accompanying the fiscal 2015 military construction-veterans affairs spending bill. The panel said it was concerned that DOD is not updating its non-BRAC real property inventory database in a timely fashion, hindering the department’s ability to “maximize the utility of existing real property and to reduce taxpayer expenses …

Army Needs to Help Communities Understand Impact of Privatized Lodging, Panel Says

  • April 15, 2014
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The owners of hotels outside military installations that have privatized lodging are concerned on-post facilities could gain an unfair competitive advantage, according to the report of the House Appropriations Committee accompanying its fiscal 2015 military construction-veterans affairs spending bill. Their concern stems from the possibility that hotels developed under the Privatized Army Lodging (PAL) program could be made available to the general public while also benefitting from hotel stays made by soldiers who are traveling …

DOD Report Reveals Extent of Facility Budget Cuts under Spending Caps

  • April 15, 2014
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Spending on installation services, facilities sustainment and military construction would be trimmed by $17.5 billion if the defense budget were held at sequester levels from fiscal years 2016-2019, according to a report released Tuesday by the Pentagon. The Army would be forced to make the most far-reaching reductions to installation services, with the report projecting it would need to cut spending by $3.8 billion over the four-year period. The Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps are projected to cut installations services spending by a total of $1.0 billion from FY 2016-2019, compared to the department’s five-year spending plan submitted as part of its FY 2015 budget request …

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