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Posts Tagged ‘Congress/DOD’

Committee Postpones Debate over BRAC

  • April 29, 2015
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One of the most prominent supporters of the Pentagon’s request to conduct a new round of base closures withdrew an amendment Wednesday during deliberations over the fiscal 2016 defense authorization bill that would have authorized a BRAC round in 2017, as the Obama administration has requested. Rep. Adam Smith (D-Wash.), the ranking member of the House Armed Services Committee, intends to bring up the amendment on the floor when the House debates the authorization bill. The legislation marked up Wednesday explicitly bars DOD from carrying out a new BRAC round. Rob Wittman (R-Va.), chairman of the committee’s Readiness Subcommittee, and full Committee Chair Mac Thornberry (R-Texas) oppose the administration’s request for additional base closures, citing the overwhelming challenge of reopening a base once it is shuttered …

White House Veto Threats Signal Budget Showdown

  • April 28, 2015
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Veto threats issued Tuesday by the White House on two appropriations bills scheduled to go to the House floor this week, including the military construction–veterans affairs measure, leave uncertain how fiscal 2016 spending measures will go forward this year. The two statements from the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) indicate President Obama would not sign any spending bills that follow congressional Republicans’ plan to stick to the statutory spending caps while providing relief only to the Pentagon by stashing tens of billions of additional dollars in its war account. “The president’s senior advisers would recommend that he veto H.R. 2029 and any other legislation that implements the current Republican budget framework, which blocks the investments we need for our economy to compete in the future,” according to the statement of administration policy on the milcon spending bill. OMB issued the same veto threat for the energy-water measure …

Smith to Introduce BRAC Authorization Amendment Again

  • April 28, 2015
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For the second consecutive year, Rep. Adam Smith, the ranking member of the House Armed Services Committee, plans to offer an amendment to the annual defense policy bill approving a new round of base closures. As Smith did last year, he plans to introduce the amendment when the committee marks up the fiscal 2016 defense authorization bill today, but withdraw it in the hopes of receiving a vote on the House floor, reported CQ Roll Call. Last year, however, the House Rules Committee blocked Smith’s proposal from receiving a vote when the House debated the measure. In addition to authorizing a BRAC round in 2017, the amendment is expected to include some reforms to the base closure process. For instance, it would require the defense secretary to certify that base closures would result in net savings within six years …

Protection for Sage Grouse Could Jeopardize Training Facilities, House Committee Says

  • April 28, 2015
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Language in the House version of the fiscal 2016 defense authorization bill would bar the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service from increasing federal protection for the greater sage grouse, over concerns that listing the grassland bird as threatened or endangered would restrict the use of military training grounds and firing ranges in the western United States. A decision by the wildlife service to list the greater sage grouse likely would restrict military access to training grounds and firing ranges, reduce the number of exercises and limit the number of overflights and ground movements, the Army and Air Force has said, reported Stars and Stripes. The grouse’s habitat encompasses parts of 11 western states. Energy development and other activities threaten the black and brown bird by reducing the sagebrush it relies on for cover …

Policy Bill Would Trim Headquarters Spending, Personnel

  • April 28, 2015
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The Defense Department would need to cut the budget and personnel at its headquarters by 20 percent and save $10 billion over five years, under the fiscal 2016 defense authorization bill the House Armed Services Committee marks up today. The provision calls for the defense secretary to develop a plan for streamlining DOD management headquarters by requiring an accurate baseline accounting of headquarters budgets and personnel, and more specific information on actual and planned reductions in management headquarters. “The committee notes that the department has already claimed the savings associated with these reductions in the budget requests provided since the 20 percent goal was established in 2013,” according to a summary of the bill language …

Armed Services Chair Remains ‘Deeply Skeptical’ of BRAC Request

  • April 28, 2015
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Mac Thornberry (R-Texas), chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, reiterated his opposition to the Pentagon’s request to conduct a BRAC round in 2017, in a fact sheet accompanying the chairman’s mark of the fiscal 2016 defense authorization bill. The document acknowledges that DOD has expressed concerns that excess basing capacity is a financial drag on the department, as well as that its most recent capacity analysis is more than a decade old and does not reflect the probable future force posture. The fact sheet indicated, though, that Thornberry would remain extremely reluctant to approve a new round until the military’s roles and missions are better defined …

Authorization Bill Rejects Air Force Plan to Retire A-10 Fleet

  • April 27, 2015
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For the second straight year, the House Armed Services Committee has proposed reversing the Air Force’s plan to retire its fleet of A-10 close air support aircraft. Instead, the committee would provide $683 million to keep the aircraft flying, according to the chairman’s mark of the fiscal 2016 defense authorization bill. The Air Force has said retiring the A-10 would save $4 billion and that other aircraft can perform the close air support mission. Many lawmakers, though, dispute the claim that other aircraft can replace the Warthog …

House Armed Services to Shift Base Budget Needs to OCO Account

  • April 26, 2015
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The House version of the fiscal 2016 defense authorization bill will be aligned with that chamber’s budget resolution, allowing DOD to tap the tens of billions of dollars in extra funds stashed in its war account for requirements that ordinarily would be funded in the department’s base budget. “I’m not too wrapped up in the label on the account,” Mac Thornberry (R-Texas), chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, said last week before his panel’s subcommittees began marking up the annual policy bill …

Compromise Expected over Procedural Hurdle to Use of Extra Defense Funds

  • April 23, 2015
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House and Senate conferees appear to have reached a compromise over one of the primary sticking points to agreement on a fiscal 2016 budget resolution, a procedural hurdle that could block the Senate from allocating $38 billion in extra funding added to DOD’s overseas contingency operations account (OCO). The Senate’s budget blueprint includes a point of order on spending from the department’s war account that exceeds $58 billion, the original amount requested by the Obama administration. The point of order would allow Senate Democrats or fiscal conservatives to block appropriations from the OCO that exceed $58 billion unless defense hawks can produce 60 votes to override the objection …

Personnel Committee Defers Action on Consolidation Plan for Commissaries, Exchanges

  • April 23, 2015
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A plan to consolidate the military’s commissary and exchange system is not included in the portion of the fiscal 2016 defense authorization bill marked up by the House Armed Services’ Military Personnel Subcommittee on Thursday. Chairman Joe Heck (R-Nev.) said the panel is not yet ready to address the consolidation plan, which the Military Compensation and Retirement Modernization Commission recommended in January. Lawmakers are awaiting results from a contractor study mandated by Congress in last year’s authorization bill …

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