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Posts Tagged ‘Congress/DOD’

Pentagon Spending on Path to Bust Budget Caps, CBO Finds

  • November 6, 2014
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Pentagon spending is forecast to grow at an average annual rate of 1.2 percent over the next 15 years, resulting in a 20 percent increase in the defense budget by 2030, according to a report released Thursday by the Congressional Budget Office. The largest components of the DOD budget would grow by different amounts, however. The cost of operation and support, which accounts for about two-thirds of the department’s FY 2015 budget, would rise steadily through 2030, with average growth of 1.1 percent a year in real terms and cumulative growth of 18 percent. The growth in operation and support — which includes compensation for the department’s military and civilian employees, military health care, and various operation and maintenance activities — would occur despite a 6 percent decrease in the size of the military …

Changes at the Top of Senate Milcon Spending Panel

  • November 6, 2014
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With Republicans in control of the Senate when the 114th Congress opens in January, the chamber’s Appropriations Committee will get new leadership. At the top, Thad Cochran (R-Miss.) likely will replace Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.) as chairman of the full committee. Cochrane will use his seniority on the committee to leapfrog the current ranking member, Richard Shelby (R-Ala.), reports CQ. Cochran, who chaired the full committee in the 109th Congress, also is expected to retain the gavel for the Defense Appropriations Subcommittee …

Congressional Staff Continue to Work toward Omnibus Spending Bill

  • November 5, 2014
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House and Senate Appropriations staffers continue to lay the groundwork for a fiscal 2015 omnibus spending bill to wrap up appropriations though next Oct. 1. But while Republican leaders in the House and Senate favor an omnibus to clear the decks for a GOP-led Congress next January, it’s still not clear whether House Republicans will go along with that approach. With Republicans increasing their House majority and gaining control of the Senate in Tuesday’s elections, conservatives likely will push for a second continuing resolution so they can rewrite bills in the new Congress to reflect GOP priorities …

Democratic Losses Will Revamp Armed Services Panel in Senate

  • November 5, 2014
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Two Democratic members of the Senate Armed Services Committee lost their re-election bids on Tuesday, but with the Republican Party gaining a majority of the chamber, the panel’s most significant change will be at the top. John McCain (R-Ariz.) is widely expected to take the committee gavel in the 114th Congress and with current chairman Carl Levin (D-Mich.) retiring, Jack Reed (D-R.I.) is in line to become the ranking member. Reed may opt to take the top Democratic spot on the Banking Committee instead …

Hagel Can Work with McCain, Pentagon Spokesman Says

  • November 4, 2014
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With Republicans poised to wrest control of the Senate, the Pentagon press secretary on Tuesday said that Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel has a strong relationship with Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), who is widely expected to take the gavel of the Senate Armed Services Committee if the GOP wins a majority of the chamber. “The secretary has a good relationship with many members of Congress, and I believe that he believes that relationship with Sen. McCain is also strong and productive, and it has been,” Rear Adm. John Kirby told reporters. “And it has to be, given Sen. McCain’s position on the Senate Armed Services Committee …

Republican Control of Congress May Not Result in Raising Spending Caps

  • November 4, 2014
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Despite traditional support from the Republican Party for national defense, the GOP’s predicted capture of the Senate may not result in congressional action to lift the Budget Control Act spending caps on defense starting in fiscal 2016. While Republican appropriators and defense hawks, along with many Democrats, have urged repealing the 2011 law, a deficit reduction deal that satisfies both conservatives and President Obama is unlikely, reports CQ Roll Call. The White House would continue to insist on a deal that relaxes the caps on all discretionary spending, while Republicans would demand concessions to reform entitlement programs …

Berteau Nominated to DOD Logistics Post

  • November 4, 2014
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President Obama intends to nominate David Berteau, a frequent speaker at ADC events, to be assistant secretary of defense for logistics and materiel readiness, the White House announced over the weekend. He would replace acting director Paul Peters, reported Defense News. Berteau currently is senior vice president and director of the National Security Program on Industry and Resources at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, a position he has held since 2013 …

Republican Leaders Favor Omnibus to Wrap up Spending Bills

  • November 2, 2014
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GOP congressional leaders have indicated they would like to pass a fiscal 2015 omnibus spending bill during the lame duck session so that the 114th Congress can start the year with a clean slate. Party leaders are particularly focused on the likelihood that Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) will become majority leader in January. “We need to do an omnibus bill funding the entire government for the rest of the year, and get that whole business behind us, so that come January, [McConnell] will have a clean slate rather than looking backwards to old fights [so] we could look forward to making positive changes,” said House Appropriations Chairman Harold Rogers (R-Ky.) …

DOD Plan Points the Way toward Sustainability

  • November 2, 2014
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The Pentagon on Friday released a long-term plan for mitigating the risk posed by climate change effects including flooding, surging sea levels, severe weather and extreme temperatures that calls for “managing the unavoidable and preparing for the possible.” “There are plenty of things we can do to mitigate the risk, but in order to mitigate risk, you have to recognize that it exists,” said John Conger, acting deputy undersecretary of defense for installations and environment. Conger added that he considers the military’s ability to cope with expected environmental changes his top concern. The report explains how climate change could directly affect installations and operations, noting “some of the department’s low-lying coastal installations are threatened by coastal erosion and inundation due to sea level rise …

Association Executives Press Levin to Reverse Spending Cuts

  • November 2, 2014
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Two Washington advocacy groups last week wrote Carl Levin (D-Mich.), chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, urging him to lift spending caps that will harm Army readiness and jeopardize its ability to protect the nation. “The continued effects of sequestration on the Department of Defense will cause the Army, Active, Guard and Reserve to fall into unreadiness,” wrote Gordon Sullivan, president and CEO of Association of the U.S. Army, and Gus Hargett, president of the National Guard Association of the United States. Unless Congress steps in, the 2011 Budget Control Act spending caps will reduce the Army to 420,000 active soldiers, 315,000 National Guard members and 185,000 in the Army Reserve, “the smallest ground forces since 1940 …

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