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Posts Tagged ‘Congress/DOD’

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 …

Carter One Step Closer to Senate Confirmation

  • February 11, 2015
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The Senate Armed Services Committee on Tuesday voted 25-0 to endorse Ashton Carter as the next defense secretary, setting up a vote on Carter’s nomination by the full Senate as soon as Wednesday. The unanimous vote follows last week’s confirmation hearing during which Carter, who previously served during the Obama administration as deputy defense secretary and acquisition chief, sailed through his cross-examination. His nomination has universally garnered praise. Committee Chairman John McCain (R-Ariz.) called Carter “one of America’s most respected and experienced defense professionals,” reported CQ. “I have known him, and members of the committee have known him, to be an honest, hardworking and committed public servant,” McCain said during the Feb. 4 confirmation hearing.

Bipartisan Agreement over Raising Spending Caps Amounts to Little More than ‘Happy Talk’

  • February 9, 2015
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Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle, along with President Obama, have found common ground on the need to raise the statutory cap on fiscal 2016 defense spending, but until Republicans and Democrats start to agree on how to pay for extra spending for the Pentagon, the much-needed relief will remain a mirage. Mackenzie Eaglen, a resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, said she is “surprised by all the ‘good news’ stories about a higher defense budget.” “Sure, both sides want a higher defense topline, but that’s where the agreement stops,” Eaglen told Defense News. “Neither party has any indication or inclination about how this ends up …

Air Force Divestment Strategy Postpones Some Aircraft Retirements

  • February 9, 2015
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Force structure changes included in the Air Force’s fiscal 2016 budget request would affect installations in 17 states, with the largest impacts at bases with A-10 units, officials said last week. The FY 2016 budget would continue the strategy proposed last year by the Air Force to phase out a number of weapons systems, but will postpone the retirement of some systems by several years “to retain critical capability in the near term while positioning the service to support a leaner, more modern force in the future,” according to a press release. “We are investing in nuclear, space, ISR [intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance], the Guard and Reserve, and have discontinued our personnel downsizing programs,” said Secretary Deborah Lee James …

Death of Mississippi Congressman Leaves Opening on Milcon Panel

  • February 9, 2015
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Mississippi Rep. Alan Nunnelee (R), who served on the House Military Construction and Veterans Affairs Appropriations Subcommittee, died Friday from complications from brain cancer. He was 56. Nunnelee was elected to this third term last November; he also had been assigned to the Agriculture and Energy-Water Appropriations panels. He was one of the new generation of appropriators more interested in eliminating federal spending than securing a share of federal spending for his district …

New York Congresswoman Named Readiness Panel Vice Chair

  • February 8, 2015
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Rep. Elise Stefanik, a freshman Republican from Upstate New York, was named vice chair of the House Armed Services’ Readiness Subcommittee last week, as part of an effort by Committee Chairman Mac Thornberry (R-Texas) to get committee members more deeply involved in national security issues during the 114th Congress. Stefanik, the youngest woman ever elected to Congress, has one major installation in her district, Fort Drum. “From this position, I will be able to work to undo the damaging effects that the sequester is having on our military readiness as well as bring a strong voice to protect and strengthen the interests of Fort Drum. I look forward to working closely with Subcommittee Chairman Rob Wittman on these important issues …

House Budget Chairman Shows No Interest in Lifting Defense Cap

  • February 5, 2015
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At a hearing Wednesday on the president’s fiscal 2016 budget request, House Budget Chairman Tom Price (R-Ga.) offered no indication he would like to exceed the statutory spending caps for either defense or domestic programs. Price blasted the White House proposal for jeopardizing the remaining $541 billion in discretionary spending cuts scheduled to be imposed by the Budget Control Act through FY 2021, reported CQ. “In order to increase spending across the board, the president’s budget would unravel bipartisan agreements that have secured a modicum of spending restraint in recent years,” he said. “At the end of the day, a proposal that never balances and ignores key drivers of the nation’s debt is not a serious plan …

BRAC Cleanup Funding to Continue Long-Term Decline under FY’16 Request

  • February 5, 2015
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Funding to clean up installations closed during the first five BRAC rounds would fall 20 percent to $251.3 million in fiscal 2016, under the president’s new budget proposal. The request would continue a sharp drop in funding for past base closure rounds since FY 2013, when Congress allocated $759.6 million for cleanup and other closure costs. The FY 2015 omnibus spending bill approved in December provided $315 million for past BRAC cleanups. That allocation, however, represented a $45 million increase over the president’s budget request, and lawmakers may be inclined to boost the administration’s request again for FY 2016 …

Carter Could Gain Senate Confirmation within a Week, McCain Says

  • February 5, 2015
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Ashton Carter, President Obama’s nominee to become the next defense secretary, could be confirmed by the Senate by the end of next week. On Thursday, Senate Armed Services Chairman John McCain (R-Ariz.) said he hoped the panel could vote on the nomination by next Tuesday. If, as expected, the panel reports Carter’s nomination favorably, the full Senate could take it up by Thursday, McCain said, reported the Hill. The chairman added that he doubts information requests from committee members to the Obama administration about Guantánamo Bay will postpone the votes. The fast-track timeline McCain described followed a smooth confirmation hearing for Carter the previous day.

Carter Eases through Nomination Hearing

  • February 4, 2015
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Ashton Carter’s nomination hearing before the Senate Armed Services Committee Wednesday to be the next defense secretary was largely tension-free and may be quickly followed by a vote on his candidacy by the full Senate next week. “We will talk to the majority leader to see if we can’t get your nomination to the floor so that you can get to work,” Committee Chairman John McCain (R-Ariz.) said at the end of the day-long hearing, reported CQ. Carter told the panel he hopes to get rid of the statutory caps on defense spending and find a way with Congress out of the “wilderness of sequester …

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