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Posts Tagged ‘Congress/DOD’

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 …

Senate Armed Services to Keep Policy Bill Deliberations Closed

  • April 23, 2015
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The Senate Armed Services Committee voted 17-9 Thursday to keep its days-long markup of the fiscal 2016 defense authorization bill closed. The committee’s markup of the annual defense policy measure traditionally has been closed to the public at the insistence of former Chairman Carl Levin (D-Mich.), who cited the difficulty of going in and out of classified session. Supporters of opening the deliberations, led by Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.), have argued the markup should be open to the public given the importance of the legislation and because the lion’s share of the committee’s work is not classified …

OEA Makes $175M Available to Local Districts to Upgrade On-Base Schools

  • April 23, 2015
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The Defense Department will be allocating $175 million to local school districts to construct, renovate, repair or expand elementary and secondary schools operated by local school districts on military installations that are in poor condition or experiencing overcrowding, according to an April 23 Federal Register notice. The funding, part of the fiscal 2015 spending bill for DOD, supplements an ongoing, non-competitive program administered by the Office of Economic Adjustment that has provided a total of $770 million to upgrade schools. OEA will use a list of schools with the most serious capacity or facility condition deficiencies assembled by the department in 2011 to invite local education agencies to apply for funding …

White House Missives Reinforce Split with Congress over FY’16 Spending

  • April 22, 2015
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Office of Management and Budget Chief Shaun Donovan on Tuesday criticized the first two fiscal 2016 spending bills moving through the House for adhering to the Budget Control Act spending limits, underscoring the potential for a divisive battle over spending this year, but also setting the path for a possible budget deal to relax the stringent caps. Donovan criticized the military construction-VA spending bill for shortchanging spending to upgrade military bases and veterans’ health care, reported CQ Roll Call. The milcon bill, along with the energy-water measure, is set to go to the House floor next week after gaining approval of the House Appropriations Committee on Wednesday. “The president has been clear that he is not willing to lock in sequestration going forward, nor will he accept fixes to defense without also fixing non-defense …

How is DOD Assessing the Risks Posed by Turbines, Panel Asks

  • April 22, 2015
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With the number of wind farm projects with the potential to interfere with military training and testing activities on the rise, the House Armed Services’ Readiness Subcommittee is eager to learn how the Defense Department assesses the risk to military missions posed by wind energy development. Defense officials have reached agreements over mitigation measures in a number of instances in which proposed wind farms were located close to installations, training ranges or low-level training routes, according to report language attached to the subcommittee’s portion of the fiscal 2016 defense authorization bill …

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