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Posts Tagged ‘Congress/DOD’

Carter Favors an ‘Efficiency’ BRAC

  • February 3, 2015
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Ashton Carter, the president’s nominee for defense secretary, said he would direct the department to carry out a base closure round that focuses on efficiency and consolidation rather than transformation if Congress authorizes a new BRAC, according to written answers he provided the Senate Armed Services Committee in advance of his confirmation hearing Wednesday. “BRAC 2005 was skewed by the fact that a large number of its recommendations were focused on transformation, had high up-front costs and were never expected to yield savings,” Carter stated. “However, those recommendations that were focused on efficiency had impressive payback and accounted for a small portion of the costs — much like the 1993 and 1995 rounds …

New BRAC Round Would Limit Military Force Structure, Forbes Says

  • February 3, 2015
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Rep. Randy Forbes (R-Va.), chairman of the House Armed Services’ Seapower and Projection Forces Subcommittee, said he opposes a new BRAC because conducting a round of base closures would freeze the military’s force structure at a level he believes is too low. “If you believe, as I believe, that these force structures are not right, that we are going to have to build these force structures up greater, then you’d better fight like the dickens to make sure you don’t have a BRAC …

DOD Budget Looks for Savings in Quality-of-Life Benefits

  • February 3, 2015
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The president’s fiscal 2016 budget request released Monday reprises cost-savings reforms to commissary benefits and the basic allowance for housing (BAH) from the previous year’s request, with some tweaks. The proposal would continue the Pentagon’s effort to slow the growth in BAH by requiring service members to pay an additional 4 percent in out-of-pocket costs over the next two to three years. The change, which comes on top of a 1 percent reduction in BAH approved by Congress for FY 2015, would save DOD $400 million in FY 2016 and $3.9 billion over the next five years …

FY’16 Budget Retains Plans from Previous Request

  • February 3, 2015
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The $534 billion fiscal 2016 budget request top Pentagon officials unveiled Monday largely retains the same cuts in force structure and cost-saving reforms included in last year’s FY 2015 proposal. “The size of the active force, the size of the reserve components, the number of ships or fighter squadrons — we’re still trying to hold true to the end points we have been shooting for … under the Quadrennial Defense Review,” said DOD Comptroller Mike McCord. Unlike the FY 2015 budget though, this year’s proposal ignores the Budget Control Act caps, raising the question of what plans will need to be scaled back if Congress fails to relax the spending limits …

Congress Will Come around on BRAC, Pentagon Official Says

  • February 2, 2015
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Congress ultimately will approve DOD’s request to hold a new BRAC round, Pentagon Comptroller Mike McCord said Monday, but he acknowledged it could take more time. During a briefing on Monday on the department’s fiscal 2016 budget proposal — which repeats last year’s request to hold a base closure round in 2017 — McCord recalled the two decades he spent as a staff member for the Senate Armed Services Committee.“I spent five years working with Sen. [John] McCain’s staff, at the time to get authority for what turned into the 2005 BRAC round,” he said. “We started back in 1997. So it doesn’t necessarily happen overnight. And in this case, it certainly has not …

Army Forces to Continue Decline, Air Force to Edge Up, under Budget

  • February 2, 2015
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The Army’s active-duty end strength would continue its steady decline under the president’s fiscal 2016 budget request, falling by 15,000 troops to 475,000. DOD’s current plan calls for the Army’s active forces to shrink to 450,000 by 2018. The number of National Guard soldiers would drop by 8,200 this year to 342,000, and the Army Reserve would hold at 198,000 under the proposal, reported Stars and Stripes. The number of Air Force personnel, after dipping over the past two years, would rise slightly from 483,000 to 492,000, under the FY 2016 request. Many of the new slots would be allocated to the nuclear enterprise and cyber security …

Modest Deal to Lift Defense Cap Likely, Expert Says

  • February 1, 2015
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Lawmakers likely will reach an agreement to relax the fiscal 2016 spending cap on defense programs along the lines of the bipartisan budget deal reached in late 2013 that provided DOD moderate relief for FY 2014 and 2015, according to a top defense analyst. “I would bet that they end up raising them $5 billion to $10 billion,” Todd Harrison, a senior fellow at the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments, told reporters Friday. The 2013 deal raised the Budget Control Act cap for both defense and domestic spending by $22 billion in FY 2014 and $9 billion in the current year …

Obama’s Attempt to Overturn Sequester Runs into Republican Roadblock

  • January 30, 2015
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Congressional Republicans have made it clear they will not support President Obama’s plan to pay for a fiscal 2016 budget request that tops the statutory spending caps by $74 billion through an unspecified combination of spending cuts and the elimination of tax breaks. Many Republicans would join Obama and Democrats in lifting the Budget Control Act spending cap for the Pentagon, but they are unwilling to provide higher spending for domestic programs as well, reported CQ. An aide to House Budget Chairman Tom Price (R-Ga.) outright rejected the budget proposal which the president is scheduled to submit to Congress on Monday …

Senate Milcon Panel Features Six New Lawmakers

  • January 29, 2015
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The lineup of the Senate Military Construction and Veterans Affairs Appropriations Subcommittee in the new Congress remains largely intact at the senior levels but includes a number of new Republican and Democratic lawmakers. The most significant change is that Mark Kirk (R-Ill.), who had been the ranking member, is now the chairman. Jon Tester (D-Mont.) takes over the top Democratic slot for the retiring Tim Johnson (D-S.D.). New Republicans on the milcon panel include John Boozman (R-Ark.); Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.); and Bill Cassidy (R-La.). New Democrats include Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii); Tammy Baldwin (D-Wisc.); and Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) …

McCain, Service Chiefs Warn about Impact of Spending Caps

  • January 28, 2015
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The nation’s top military officers on Wednesday bemoaned the impact of the Budget Control Act spending caps on national security, warning lawmakers they will not be able to carry out the nation’s defense strategy if Congress fails to offer any relief from pending sequestration. Army Chief of Staff Gen. Raymond Odierno told the Senate Armed Services Committee his force is as unready as at any other point in its 239-year history, with only 33 percent of the service’s brigades “ready to the extent we would expect them to be if asked to fight.” If sequestration is imposed starting in fiscal 2016, Odierno said the Army will need to cut 60,000 soldiers after already eliminating 80,000 troops in recent years …

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