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Posts Tagged ‘Congress/DOD’

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.

There is a Way to Jump Start a New BRAC Round, Former DOD Official Says

  • June 25, 2013
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One way the Pentagon could spur Congress to agree to hold another base closure round is to publicly release a list of bases it would close if it could, a strategy DOD relied on to build momentum to create the BRAC process more than 25 years ago, Lawrence Korb, a senior fellow at the Center for American Progress, writes in a commentary in the Hill. After President Reagan began his second term in 1985, the department faced a similar crisis as it does today, with a mandate to slash spending. Senate Armed Services Chairman Barry Goldwater (R-Ariz.) and Korb, then the assistant secretary of defense, came up with the idea of releasing a list of excess bases after Korb explained the difficulty of closing an installation under existing laws …

Army Drawdown Unlikely to Prompt Base Closures, Levin Says

  • June 25, 2013
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The Army could get by with fewer installations after its active-duty end strength drops to 490,000, Chief of Staff Gen. Ray Odierno indicated Tuesday, but Carl Levin (D-Mich.), chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, said he didn’t think the Army’s plan to rebalance its force structure will prompt lawmakers to approve a new round of base closures. “That is not what I understand the purpose or intent is … [and] I do not think they will have that effect,” Levin told reporters …

Panel to Monitor Military’s Use of Community-Installation Support Agreements

  • June 24, 2013
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The Senate Armed Services Committee is interested in tracking DOD’s implementation of section 331, the new authority allowing installations and their host communities to share base support services through intergovernmental support agreements. The committee report accompanying the fiscal 2014 defense authorization bill it passed earlier this month directs DOD to submit a report by Feb. 1, 2014, that includes: a review of the policy adopted by DOD to guide the development of proposals to share installation support services …

Could Joint Basing Generate More Savings, Senate Committee Wonders

  • June 24, 2013
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The deputy undersecretary of defense for installations and environment would be required to assess the potential for the joint basing initiative to produce additional savings through “more rigorous management and streamlined administration of joint bases,” under a provision in the fiscal 2014 defense authorization bill passed by the Senate Armed Services Committee earlier this month. The provision follows a Government Accountability Office conclusion that the estimated, 20-year savings for the initiative have fallen by nearly 90 percent from $2.3 billion to $249 million …

Reid to Bring FY’14 Spending Bills to Senate Floor

  • June 23, 2013
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The fiscal 2014 military construction-veterans affairs spending bill could be debated on the Senate floor next month, after Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said Friday that moving appropriations bills would be a primary focus of the chamber in the coming months. Reid indicated the narrow agenda is a response to the failure of House leadership Thursday to pass the farm bill. His larger concern was the difficulty he may face reaching a deal with House Republicans over other major issues, including agreements over FY 2014 topline spending and the need to raise the nation’s debt ceiling …

GSA Eager to Streamline Federal Property Footprint

  • June 20, 2013
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Dan Tangherlini, acting administrator of the General Services Administration (GSA), told lawmakers he’s eager to work with Congress to ease the process for disposing of excess property. “I think the three ingredients you need to cook anything up in Washington are there. You have a proposal from the administration, you have a version of the bill from the House and you have your own version of a bill here in the Senate …

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