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Posts Tagged ‘Congress/DOD’

Personnel, Spending Cuts Hurt Army Communities, Halverson Says

  • March 31, 2015
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Budget uncertainties resulting from stringent spending caps are hurting defense communities, Lt. Gen. David Halverson, the Army’s assistant chief of staff for installation management and commander of the Army’s Installation Management Command, testified on Capitol Hill last month. “Current funding requires installations to scale back or cancel service contracts that employ people in local communities and requiring installations to work with commanders to use special duty assignments to support installation services and programs,” Halverson told the Senate Military Construction and Veterans Affairs Appropriations Subcommittee …

White House Endorses Recommendations to Overhaul Military Compensation

  • March 30, 2015
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President Obama said Monday he will support the broad package of reforms to military pay and benefits proposed earlier this year by a congressionally chartered panel. “I believe the recommendations are an important step forward in protecting the long-term viability of the all-volunteer force, improving quality-of-life for service members and their families, and ensuring the fiscal sustainability of the military compensation and retirement systems,” Obama wrote in a letter to Congress. The president said the administration will send Congress by April 30 a set of legislative proposals based on the recommendations of the Military Compensation and Retirement Modernization Commission …

As Army End Strength Falls, So Does Its Civilian Workforce, Senior Leaders Say

  • March 30, 2015
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The Army is attempting to trim its civilian workforce commensurate with its drawdown of service members, but the effort remains a work in progress, the service’s top two leaders told lawmakers last week. “There’s lots of pressure on the services to reduce civilian end strength and we do believe the Fourth Estate — what we call the rest of the Department of Defense outside of the services — absolutely needs to be looked at in terms of growth,” Chief of Staff Gen. Ray Odierno said March 26 at a House Defense Appropriations Subcommittee hearing. DOD defines the Fourth Estate as defense agencies, field activities and some other entities not falling under one of the services or under a combatant command …

Senate’s Budget Matches House in Defense Dollars but Adds Procedural Hurdle

  • March 29, 2015
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Senate Republicans passed a fiscal 2016 budget resolution early Friday morning that matched the House’s approach to granting a reprieve to DOD from the statutory spending caps by adding $38 billion to the department’s war funding account. The budget blueprint adopted by a 52-46 vote in the Senate retains the $523 billion Budget Control Act cap on national security spending, while providing a total of $96 billion in the overseas contingency operations account — $58 billion from the Obama administration’s request and $38 billion in added funds to match the plan passed by the House earlier in the week. The resolution, however, retains a point of order on spending from the OCO that exceeds $58 billion …

Fiscal Constraints Will Be Felt throughout Air Force, Secretary Says

  • March 29, 2015
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A return to the statutory spending caps in fiscal 2016 would require the Air Force to find $10 billion in savings from the service’s original spending plans, Air Force Secretary Deborah Lee James said last week. “Ten billion is a big chunk of money and it would mean every part of our Air Force would be touched in some way,” James told the Dayton Daily News on the same day she toured Wright-Patterson Air Force Base. “It’s impossible to predict what that means for Wright-Patterson,” she said, but it could affect research programs at the Dayton-area installation and rekindle the possibility that civilian employees are furloughed …

Army Plans Involuntary Separation for Thousands of Combat Veterans

  • March 29, 2015
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The Army will be forced to eliminate about 14,000 soldiers as a direct result of the Budget Control Act spending caps which are prompting the service to shrink its active-duty force to 450,000 personnel, Vice Chief of Staff Gen. Daniel Allyn told the Senate Armed Services’ Readiness Subcommittee last week. “[Sequestration] will increase significantly the involuntary separation of officer and non-commissioned [NCO] leaders who have steadfastly served their country through the last 13 years of war,” Allyn said. Complying with the spending caps will require the involuntary separation of about 2,000 soldiers annually, including officers and NCOs …

Carter Blasts House Budget Resolution

  • March 26, 2015
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Defense Secretary Ashton Carter on Thursday rejected the fiscal 2016 budget resolution approved by the House that would allow the Pentagon to exceed its statutory spending cap by adding billions of dollars into its war funding account. “Current proposals to shoehorn [DOD’s] base budget funds into our contingency accounts would fail to solve the problem, while also undermining basic principles of accountability and responsible, long-term planning,” Carter told a meeting of the Chiefs of Mission at State Department headquarters. The budget blueprint adopted by House Republicans on Wednesday would add $38 billion to DOD’s $58 billion request for the department’s overseas contingency operations account …

McCain Chides James for Claiming Savings from New Installation Support Agency

  • March 26, 2015
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Air Force moves that Secretary Deborah Lee James recently claimed met a Pentagon goal of reducing its headquarters staff by 20 percent did not produce any actual savings because the personnel were shifted elsewhere, Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) told James in a letter this week. “The conduct of the Air Force in response to this guidance seems to have produced no actual staff reductions and yielded no actual savings,” said McCain, chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee …

Army Commission Takes Shape

  • March 26, 2015
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President Obama and leaders of the Armed Services committees last week named the eight members who will serve on a commission created by Congress to assess the size and force mixture of the Army after last year’s dispute over the service’s plan to swap aviation assets between the National Guard and the active component. The National Commission on the Future of the Army was mandated by the fiscal 2015 defense authorization bill. President Obama selected four individuals for the panel: Larry Ellis, president and CEO of VetConnexx, a retired general who commanded Army Forces Command from 2001 to 2004; Kathleen Hicks, director of the International Security Program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies and former director for policy planning at the office of the undersecretary of defense for policy …

House Adopts Budget with Extra Defense Funds

  • March 25, 2015
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The House on Wednesday opted for a fiscal 2016 budget resolution intended to attract the support of defense hawks, adopting a funding blueprint that sidesteps the Budget Control Act cap on defense spending by adding $38 billion to the Pentagon’s war account. After employing a rarely used procedure allowing lawmakers to vote on competing budgets, House Republicans embraced an alternative to the plan passed by the Budget Committee that relaxes a requirement to offset about half of the funds added to DOD’s overseas contingency operations account …

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