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Posts Tagged ‘Congress/DOD’

HASC Ranking Member Stands up for BRAC

  • February 23, 2014
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The Pentagon could be forced to realign unneeded installations outside of the normal BRAC process if Congress continues to bar it from conducting a new round of base closures, according to written comments the office of Rep. Adam Smith (D-Wash.) submitted to Breaking Defense last week. “Mr. Smith thinks that given the changing size and shape of our military force, the Department of Defense needs to be able to adjust its infrastructure to accommodate and reflect the shape of the force,” according to Smith’s office. “It is his hope that Congress acts and these changes are made through the normal BRAC process …

Wish List Could Encourage Lawmakers to Tinker with DOD’s Budget Request

  • February 20, 2014
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The Defense Department’s intent to attach a $26 billion list of unfunded requirements to its fiscal 2015 budget request could have unintended consequences, as appropriators swap out programs included in the administration’s proposal for favored programs that failed to make the cut. Including a list of second-tier priorities with the budget request also could embolden service chiefs to push Congress to fund programs that were left out of DOD’s baseline spending plan …

McCain to Helm Armed Services Committee?

  • February 20, 2014
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Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) told a reporter that if the Republicans win back the Senate in the mid-term elections, he would want to chair the Armed Services Committee. “I would be so happy to be chairman of the Armed Services Committee,” he told Phoenix radio station KFYI on Tuesday. Since the beginning of last year, Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.) has served as the ranking member of the panel, a slot McCain was forced to give up due to term limits …

Lawmakers Preempt Pentagon on BRAC

  • February 19, 2014
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With DOD’s fiscal 2015 budget proposal scheduled to be released in less than two weeks, questions from reporters as to how Congress would respond to an expected request for a new round of base closures are on the rise. In recent weeks, several lawmakers, including two Democrats on the Senate Armed Services Committee, responded that it is unlikely Congress would agree to a new round. When asked last week how a BRAC would affect Central Florida, Sen. Bill Nelson (Fla.) told the reporter, “I’m a senior member of the Armed Services Committee from which it would come, and we’re not having a BRAC any time soon …

Congress Should OK Pentagon’s BRAC Request, Defense Experts Say

  • February 18, 2014
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Ninety-one percent of the defense and foreign policy experts responding to a survey conducted by the National Journal believe that Congress should approve the Defense Department’s request to hold a new round of base closures. “Excess capacity exists across all the military services. Congress and communities face either a slow decline at every base, with little hope for any economic relief anywhere, or selective closures that bolster needed bases and let other areas start on the road to recovery and life after closure …

Retreat on Military Pension Cuts Raises Bar for Future Budget Reform

  • February 18, 2014
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Congress’ relatively quick reversal of a reduction in cost-of-living increases for military pensions included in last December’s budget deal almost certainly means the Pentagon will not have the upper hand when it floats future proposals to rein in its burgeoning personnel costs. After the House and Senate approved the bipartisan budget agreement late last year, some analysts expressed optimism that lawmakers’ willingness to trim the growth rate of pensions for military retirees of working age was a signal that DOD would be able to implement other cuts needed to keep compensation and benefit costs from spiraling out of control …

McKeon Attempts to Revive Unfunded Requirements Lists

  • February 18, 2014
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House Armed Services Chair Buck McKeon (R-Calif.) on Monday released the letter he sent to the service chiefs and other top commanders asking for a list of their priorities which were not included in the administration’s fiscal 2015 budget proposal, opening a new rift on the panel. “I believe these lists provide valuable insight into the priorities of our warfighters, particularly with respect to important needs which are not included in the president’s budget request but could be executed should additional resources be available during the annual authorization of appropriations for the Department of Defense …

Hagel to Provide Early Preview of FY’15 Budget Request

  • February 17, 2014
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Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel is expected to preview the department’s fiscal 2015 budget request on Feb. 24, a week before the White House formally releases its spending proposal for next year, reported Reuters. Spending for defense-related programs in FY 2015 already has been set by last December’s budget deal at $521.3 billion, with DOD spending estimated at about $496 billion. The figure is virtually unchanged from the current year’s base budget. Still, the Pentagon faces many difficult choices as the spending cap is about $40 billion lower than the FY 2015 budget figure the department included in its long-term budget last year.

AUSA Head Denounces Legislation Calling for Army Commission

  • February 14, 2014
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A House bill that would form a commission to make recommendations about how the Army’s force structure should be allocated between the service’s active and reserve components is misguided, according to the head of the Association of the United States Army (AUSA). “Such a commission is unnecessary, could damage Army readiness, and would impede the Army’s ability to implement spending reductions required by the 2011 Budget Control Act,” AUSA President Gordon Sullivan wrote in a Feb. 11 letter to House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio). H.R 3930, which already has 72 co-sponsors, would create a commission similar to the one that recently recommended shifting manpower from the Air Force’s active component into the Air National Guard and Air Force Reserve …

Up(Capitol)hill Battle Remains for DOD to Secure New BRAC Authorization

  • February 13, 2014
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Little has changed in the battle between Congress and the Pentagon over whether lawmakers will authorize a new BRAC in the two years since the Obama administration first asked to hold additional rounds of base closure, with DOD still needing to overcome significant opposition in both chambers. If DOD wants lawmakers to approve a new round, the department will need to counter past arguments against it and, possibly, surmount an even higher hurdle — defend the momentum leading toward a much smaller military — according to discussions led by installation officials and Capitol Hill staff at this week’s 2014 Installation Innovation Forum …

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