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Posts Tagged ‘Congress/DOD’

Congressional Tide Has Turned on BRAC, Smith Says

  • July 10, 2015
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Congressional opposition to approving a new round of base closures is loosening, even as this year’s Congress has resisted the Obama administration’s request for a BRAC in 2017, the top Democrat on the House Armed Services Committee said Thursday. “The hostility, the notion that this was completely unacceptable, which existed about a year ago is not there anymore amongst my fellow members is the way I would put it,” Rep. Adam Smith (Wash.), the most prominent advocate in Congress for a BRAC round, told reporters. Smith dismissed all of the standard arguments, saying they had run their course …

Georgia Senator Pledges to Fight Army Cuts

  • July 9, 2015
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Sen. Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.) vowed to fight the Army’s planned restructuring after learning from Army Secretary John McHugh on Wednesday that two Georgia posts would lose a total of 4,350 soldiers. “I am demanding answers from the Department of Defense on how they are justifying these troop cuts in Georgia,” Isakson said of the Army’s plans to eliminate, on a net basis, 950 soldiers from Fort Stewart and 3,400 troops from Fort Benning. “I have talked in great detail with Secretary McHugh today and will continue to fight to see to it that we preserve every soldier in Georgia that we can …

Talks to Reach Compromise over Defense Bill Remain on Track

  • July 9, 2015
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Negotiations to hash out a compromise version of the fiscal 2016 defense authorization bill are progressing this week as members of the House and Senate Armed Services subcommittees meet to work out differences in each of their sections. “All the different panels are meeting today and tomorrow and then Friday we intend to wrap it up and be prepared to submit our final decisions,” Mike Rogers (R-Ala.), who chairs the House Armed Services Strategic Forces Subcommittee, told CQ Roll Call. Talks at the subcommittee level are not expected to address several high-profile issues which will be left for the chairmen and ranking members of the two Armed Services committees. Those include provisions dealing with Guantanamo detainees, acquisition reform, and compensation and benefits for military personnel …

Obama Reiterates Threat to Veto Defense Bill

  • July 7, 2015
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During a rare visit to the Pentagon, President Obama on Monday reiterated his threat to veto the fiscal 2016 defense authorization bill because it relies on a budget framework that would shortchange the nation’s future by restraining spending on non-military aspects of national security such as education and research. “We’re not going to eat our seed corn,” Obama said, reported CQ. The military has the best troops in the world in part because “we’ve got a strong economy and we’ve got a well-educated population and we’ve got an incredible research operation and universities,” the president said. “We shortchange those, we’re going to be less secure,” he said …

Fanning Likely Successor to McHugh as Army Secretary

  • July 7, 2015
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Personnel changes at the Pentagon announced last week could be viewed as a signal that Eric Fanning, who had been Defense Secretary Ash Carter’s chief of staff, will replace John McHugh as secretary of the Army, reports the Washington Post. On Thursday, Carter announced that Fanning will be the next acting undersecretary of the Army. “His deep well of knowledge and vast experience in the Pentagon, honed during his tenure as deputy undersecretary of the Navy and acting secretary of the Air Force, have been crucial assets for my front office,” Carter said in a written statement …

Installations in Eastern States Sweep Pentagon Awards

  • July 7, 2015
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Defense Secretary Ash Carter on Monday announced the 2015 recipients of the Commander in Chief’s Annual Award for Installation Excellence: Army: Fort Stewart and Hunter Army Airfield, Ga.; Marine Corps: Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, N.C.; Navy: Naval Air Station Pensacola, Fla.; Air Force: Joint Base Andrews, Md.; and Defense Logistics Agency: DLA Distribution Center Susquehanna, Pa. The award recognizes outstanding and innovative efforts of the people who operate and maintain U.S. military installations, Pentagon officials said. “Excellent installations enable better mission performance and enhance the quality of life for military men and women and their families …

Conger’s Nomination to Comptroller’s Office Stuck for Now

  • July 2, 2015
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John Conger’s wait before the Senate votes on his nomination to be the principal deputy to the Pentagon comptroller could last a while longer. Conger — who currently is the acting assistant secretary of defense for energy, installations and environment — was nominated for the new post on March 4 by President Obama, but the Senate Armed Services Committee has not yet held a confirmation hearing. His nomination, along with that of several others for senior civilian positions at the Pentagon, is being held up by Committee Chair John McCain (R-Ariz.). Prior to Congress’ July Fourth recess, McCain said that hearings on those nominations would not be scheduled until “we find out whether the president is going to veto [the defense authorization bill] or not …

Democrats Counting on Strategy for FY’16 Spending to Bring GOP to Bargaining Table

  • July 2, 2015
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It’s too soon to tell whether the Senate Democrats’ strategy of blocking the chamber from bringing appropriations bills to the floor will achieve the party’s goal of forcing the GOP to the negotiating table to work out a deal to lift the spending caps on both defense and non-defense spending for fiscal 2016. It carries some risk as demonstrated by Senate Democrats’ move last month to stop the Senate from considering the FY 2016 defense spending measure. Afterwards Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) criticized Democrats for recently approving the defense authorization bill but then turning around and voting against the legislation that would actually fund the military. But Democratic leaders believe their strategy is the best way to reach a compromise with Republicans over next year’s spending bills …

Next DOD Budget to Consider Eliminating Select Missions

  • June 26, 2015
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After three years of living within tight fiscal constraints, defense officials will begin to consider jettisoning lower-priority missions to free up funds for the department’s most critical functions.
The wholesale cancellation of select missions is the only way to free up billions of dollars in a single budget year, Robert Work, the deputy secretary of defense, said this week. And regardless of whether lawmakers strike a deal to give the Pentagon more breathing room under the statutory spending caps, top officials are preparing for an extremely constrained topline budget number, reported Federal News Radio. “It’s going to be tough. There’s no simple way out of this problem,” Work said at a conference sponsored by the U.S. Geospatial Intelligence Foundation. “The fact is that we’re going to have to really prioritize and be ruthless about it …

Smith Outlines Recipe for Sustaining DOD

  • June 26, 2015
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It’s not exactly a tightly-held secret that the Defense Department would like to spend a lot more money in the coming years than it is likely to get. And as long as the spending caps imposed by the 2011 Budget Control Act remain in effect and partisan differences prevent Congress from striking a long-term budget deal, the Pentagon will continue to struggle to carry out all of its missions. But there is a way out of this predicament, Washington Rep. Adam Smith (D), ranking member of the House Armed Services Committee, said this week during the congressional keynote at the 2015 Defense Communities National Summit. The first step is for lawmakers to scrap the Budget Control Act and replace it with a new long-term spending plan …

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