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Posts Tagged ‘Congress/DOD’

Defense Bill Conference Talks on Fast Track

  • July 14, 2015
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Members of the House-Senate conference committee negotiating a compromise version of the fiscal 2016 defense authorization bill are hoping to finish talks by next week. Many issues remain unresolved, but committee leaders are sufficiently optimistic that conferees will continue to makes steady progress that a vote by the House has been tentatively scheduled for July 24, reported CQ Roll Call. Committee members had been scheduled to meet at the subcommittee level last week to reconcile the two versions of the legislation, but those talks were cancelled due to floor votes. Those negotiations will continue this week …

Summer Announcement on Army Downsizing Could Influence Congressional, DOD Deliberations

  • July 12, 2015
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The Army’s announcement as to what installations would absorb the loss of 40,000 soldiers to accommodate discretionary spending caps may have been timed to produce a favorable outcome for the service when lawmakers begin taking up the defense budget, according to several analysts. “One likely reason for the timing is they’re trying to refocus attention on themselves and the cut in hopes of maybe getting this cut reversed or preventing additional ones,” Todd Harrison, an analyst with the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments, told CQ Roll Call. Beyond the debate in Congress over fiscal 2016 defense appropriations and next year’s authorization bill, the Army also is looking to influence Pentagon discussions over initial drafts of the FY 2017 budget …

Senate Votes to Go to Conference with House on Policy Bill

  • July 12, 2015
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The Senate on Thursday agreed to form a conference committee with the House to hash out a compromise version of the fiscal 2016 defense authorization bill, marking the first time since 2012 that Congress has formally convened a House-Senate conference on the annual policy bill. Before approving the motion, the Senate rejected a Democratic proposal to instruct conferees to shift $38 billion in overseas contingency operations funds back to DOD’s base budget. Both versions of the authorization bill follow the GOP budget framework which calls for stashing tens of billions of extra dollars in the department’s war account to elude the statutory spending caps. Democrats have opposed that maneuver in an attempt to strike a budget deal with Republicans to lift the budget caps on both defense and non-defense spending …

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 …

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