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Posts Tagged ‘Congress/DOD’

Pentagon’s Sequester Plan Delayed

  • July 2, 2013
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The Defense Department missed the July 1 deadline for submitting to Congress its plan for carrying out $52 billion in sequester cuts slated to be imposed next year. Pentagon press secretary George Little told reporters that it’s unlikely the plan would be completed this week, but said DOD would submit it in the “very near future,” reported Politico. In May, the chairman and ranking member of the Senate Armed Services Committee asked Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel how the military planned to deal with sequestration next year given that DOD’s fiscal 2014 budget assumes that the automatic spending cuts will not go into effect …

Senate Panel Supports DOD Initiatives to Conserve Energy, Test Microgrids

  • July 2, 2013
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The Senate Appropriations Committee said it “commends the [Defense] Department for its aggressive efforts to improve the energy efficiency of its buildings and installations, reduce consumption, mitigate its carbon footprint, invest in renewable energy projects and enhance energy security on its installations,” according to the committee report accompanying its fiscal 2014 spending bill for military construction and veterans affairs. The panel said it was impressed with DOD’s investments in microgrid energy security and encourages the department to continue to look for ways to promote energy independence at installations through the Smart Power Infrastructure Demonstration for Energy Reliability and Security (SPIDERS) program …

Pentagon Reminds Officials Not to Use Military, Contractors to Offset Furloughs

  • July 1, 2013
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Commanders and managers should not rely on military personnel or contractors to compensate for the loss of productivity stemming from civilian furloughs, according to guidance issued last week by the Defense Department. Next week, the department is scheduled to begin furloughing about 680,000 civilian employees for one day per week through the end of September. The memo from Frederick Vollrath, DOD’s assistant secretary for readiness and force management, also reminds defense officials they cannot ask civilians affected by the furloughs to work extra hours to make up for work lost during their unpaid days off …

To Shield Defense Spending from Sequester, Budget Agreement Needed, Murray Says

  • July 1, 2013
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The only way to preserve higher, pre-sequestration spending levels for defense is for the two parties to find a way to replace the automatic spending cuts slated to go into effect in fiscal 2014, Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) said last week. Republicans will need Democrats to agree to change existing law if they want to keep defense spending at $552 billion in FY 2014, the chairwoman of the Senate Budget Committee told her fellow Democrats. Murray wants a bipartisan deal to replace sequestration completed before lawmakers leave Washington for the August recess …

Air Force Should Consolidate Infrastructure, Senate Appropriators Say

  • July 1, 2013
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The Air Force should continue its effort to consolidate its infrastructure, according to language in the report from the Senate Appropriations Committee accompanying its fiscal 2014 spending bill for military construction and veterans affairs. “As the Air Force continues to scrutinize its infrastructure for savings, the committee recommends that the Air Force pay special attention to consolidating infrastructure and commands on its installations, including, but not limited to, communications, civil engineering and administrative facilities …

Offshore Drilling Would Not Threaten Hampton Roads Bases, Virginia Lawmakers Say

  • June 30, 2013
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Virginia Sens. Mark Warner (D) and Tim Kaine (D) and Rep. Scott Rigell (R) say drilling for oil or gas off the state’s coast would not jeopardize the defense presence in Hampton Roads and maintain that energy exploration can be conducted in tandem with military operations on the Outer Continental Shelf. The issue is coming to a head as Congress is considering legislation to lift a federal moratorium on drilling off Virginia’s coast. On Friday, the House passed the Off Shore Energy and Jobs Act, which would open waters off the Atlantic and Pacific coasts to drilling …

Pentagon Uncertain How to Interpret Provision Added to Base Closure Statute

  • June 30, 2013
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A new report from the Government Accountability Office reveals an interesting split among attorneys from the office of the secretary of defense and the military services over the interpretation of a provision added in January to the statute DOD must follow to close or realign bases when a BRAC round is not in force. The fiscal 2013 defense authorization bill added language to the statute barring the department from closing or realigning an installation within five years after the date on which a decision is made to reduce the number of authorized civilian personnel …

Authorization Bill Reveals Text of Amendment Blocking BRAC

  • June 28, 2013
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The Senate Armed Services Committee released the text of the fiscal 2014 defense authorization bill it passed earlier this month, revealing the exact language of the amendment blocking DOD from carrying out any additional base closure rounds. The amendment, sponsored by Sens. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn), would bar future base closure rounds from going ahead until DOD completes an updated review of its overseas bases …

GAO Report Explains DOD’s Authority to Close, Realign Bases outside of BRAC

  • June 27, 2013
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Defense communities anxious over the potential for DOD to close or realign installations outside of a BRAC round should read a new report from the Government Accountability Office (GAO) that carefully explains the statutory authority the department must follow to carry out realignments in such cases. The report includes a flow chart describing the various permutations that can arise in following that statute, 10 U.S.C. Sec. 2687. It essentially requires the defense secretary to give Congress 60 days to review proposed actions meeting certain thresholds …

Mikulski Shuffles Appropriations Committee Assignments

  • June 25, 2013
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Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) will join the Senate Military Construction-Veterans Affairs Appropriations Subcommittee, following a number of changes on the committee stemming from the recent death of veteran appropriator Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.). Merkley will replace Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.) on the milcon subcommittee; she will move to the Energy-Water panel, reported CQ. Lautenberg’s vacancy on the committee will be filled by freshman Chris Coons (D-Del.). Committee Chairwoman Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.) announced the new assignments Monday.

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