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Posts Tagged ‘Congress/DOD’

BRAC Authority Needs Updating, Heritage Executive Says

  • October 30, 2014
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When Washington gets around to crafting the authority for a new round of base closures, there are a number of guidelines defense officials and lawmakers should consider, according to a recent commentary in National Interest. The Pentagon should integrate its processes for rightsizing its infrastructure overseas and domestically, writes James Jay Carafano, vice president of the Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank. “What the future American basing structure in Europe looks like ought to be just as important as how many bases the DOD keeps in Texas …

Forbes to Pursue Armed Services Chair

  • October 29, 2014
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Rep. Randy Forbes (R-Va.) has decided to challenge frontrunner Rep. Mac Thornberry (R-Texas) to chair the House Armed Services Committee in the 114th Congress, a Forbes spokesman said Wednesday. Forbes faces an uphill battle for the powerful post as Rep. Buck McKeon (R-Calif.), the outgoing chairman, has indicated he favors Thornberry, reported the Hill. Thornberry has served as the panel’s vice chairman since McKeon assumed the top spot four years ago. Forbes chairs the panel’s Seapower and Projection Forces Subcommittee; he previously was chairman of the Readiness Subcommittee, which is responsible for overseeing installations and BRAC policy …

DOD Budget Picture Remains Unfavorable, Comptroller Says

  • October 29, 2014
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Congress most likely won’t provide any long-term budget guidance until next spring when lawmakers will need to deal with the expiration of the debt ceiling, Pentagon Comptroller Mike McCord said this week. McCord said he’s not looking for lawmakers to act on the Budget Control Act spending caps when they return to Washington following next week’s elections, reported Defense One. “We don’t really expect that there’s going to be some kind of a budget deal. It doesn’t seem that likely in the lame duck session …

Readiness to Decline again if Spending Caps Remain, Army Officials Warn

  • October 29, 2014
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Senior Army leaders are increasingly concerned about the health of the force, as the department faces new demands and the likely return of sequester’s full impact in fiscal 2016. Unless Congress acts to relax the 2011 Budget Control Act spending caps, the Army’s end strength, modernization and readiness will remain out of balance at least until 2019, Maj. Gen. Gary Cheek, assistant deputy chief of staff for operations, said last week. It could take the Army as long as four years to fully recover from that state, he said. “We would come into that fiscal year with a readiness deficit … that we wouldn’t be able to drop money to fix …

Prospects for Enacting Relief from Sequester Improve as Global Crises Mount

  • October 28, 2014
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The confluence of multiple unplanned demands on the nation’s military and the possibility that Republicans will capture the Senate are helping the chances that Congress acts to shield the Pentagon from the full impact of the 2011 Budget Control Act spending caps starting in fiscal 2016. While it remains unlikely that Congress will abolish the stringent caps, the prospects are decent that it will provide some relief, Todd Harrison, senior fellow at the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments, told the Hill. “The only really feasible solution is a small deal that raises the defense budget caps by $5 to $10 billion and also raises the non-defense budget caps by the same amount …

The Trouble with a Full-Year CR

  • October 24, 2014
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While the top appropriators in the House and Senate are pushing for Congress to complete fiscal 2015 appropriations before the end of the year by passing a massive year-end omnibus, many lawmakers may prefer to move a yearlong continuing resolution that simply extends lasts year’s funding levels through Sept. 30, 2015. For some, the appeal of a full-year CR for all agencies would be getting appropriations out of the way so Congress can focus on other year-end business during the lame duck session. Such a move also would provide agencies certainty about their FY 2015 spending. For Republicans, it would be a way to deny Democrats a last chance to see their spending priorities implemented …

Pentagon Likely to Conduct Study of Excess Capacity

  • October 22, 2014
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DOD may study the need for additional base closures even if language in the House version of the fiscal 2015 defense authorization bill calling for a comprehensive assessment of excess infrastructure is stripped from the conference report, John Conger, acting deputy undersecretary for installations and environment, said Wednesday. “Even if it doesn’t end up in the final version, I think it’s a signal that we can go ahead and do a capacity analysis at a parametric level,” Conger told CQ. “It’s not a bad thing to have those numbers,” he said. The bill language directs DOD to compare 20-year force structure plans for each of the services with an inventory of their installations to determine the level of excess infrastructure throughout the department …

If Congress Opts for Spending Omnibus, Compromise over Individual Bills Attainable

  • October 19, 2014
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Lawmakers will only have a narrow window when they return to Capitol Hill next month to decide whether to aim for a massive year-end fiscal 2015 spending package or settle for a short- or long-term continuing resolution, but if they opt for the omnibus, overcoming differences between the two chamber’s individual spending bills should not be particularly arduous, according to an analysis by CQ. Differences between the House and Senate versions for many of the spending bills are no more than $1.5 billion or less. The House and Senate proposals for defense appropriations are only $1.3 billion apart, while competing versions of the military construction-veterans affairs measure are only $400 million apart …

SASC Democratic Chairs in Tight Races Next Month

  • October 16, 2014
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Three Senate Armed Services Committee subcommittee chairs are facing close contests in the November elections, setting up the possibility that the committee will have new leadership on the Democratic side. Of course, if the Republicans take control of the Senate, the Democratic chairs would be replaced by their GOP counterparts. And no matter what happens on Nov. 4, longtime chairman Carl Levin (D-Mich.) is retiring at the conclusion of the 113th Congress. Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.), head of the readiness panel, is in a close race with former Massachusetts Sen. Scott Brown, but appears to have the edge …

White House to Exceed Budget Caps in FY 2016 Request

  • October 15, 2014
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The Obama administration’s fiscal 2016 budget request will exceed the Budget Control Act spending caps at least for non-defense appropriations, Shaun Donovan, director of the Office of Management and Budget, said Wednesday. In FY 2016 and beyond, Donovan said, “it’s absolutely critical on the non-defense side that we continue to make progress against sequestration, to relieve sequestration, to invest, whether it’s in infrastructure, in research and development, early childhood education, training …

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