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Posts Tagged ‘Congress/DOD’

Appropriations Panel Tells Carter to Live within the Spending Cap

  • March 4, 2015
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Forcing the Defense Department to live within the statutory budget caps would be detrimental to the nation’s security, new Defense Secretary Ashton Carter told the House Defense Appropriations Subcommittee on Wednesday, but the panel delivered the sobering message that the spending limits very likely are here to stay. “I completely agree that the BCA [Budget Control Act] needs to be modified to avoid dramatic, immediate and long-term negative impacts on our military capabilities,” said Chairman Rodney Frelinghuysen. “But unless and until the law is changed, this committee has no choice but to draft our bill to comply with the BCA caps …

New BRAC Round Would Generate Savings, Conger Says

  • March 4, 2015
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The Pentagon’s senior installations official told lawmakers Tuesday that the BRAC round DOD is requesting would realize savings much more quickly than the 2005 round. “We look at the next round as an efficiency-driven one,” John Conger, acting assistant secretary of defense for energy, installations and environment, told the House Military Construction and Veterans Affairs Appropriations Subcommittee. “In such a budget environment as we have today, it only makes sense to avoid spending money on excess …

Installation Chiefs Turn up the Heat to Make Case for BRAC

  • March 3, 2015
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The military’s installation chiefs made an impassioned plea to lawmakers on Tuesday for permission to hold a BRAC round in 2017, fine tuning their previous arguments and making clear the consequences if Congress rejects the Pentagon’s request for a new round of base closures for the fourth year in a row. Two of the witnesses came to the House Armed Services’ Readiness Subcommittee hearing with new estimates of the amount of excess infrastructure capacity their services are saddled with. An analysis based on fiscal 2013 data concluded the Army has an 18 percent facility excess, said Katherine Hammack, assistant secretary for installations, energy and environment. That figure was based on an active-duty end strength of 490,000, which the Army will reach by the end of the year …

Conger Looks to Congress for Input on BRAC Process

  • March 3, 2015
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The Pentagon’s installations chief tackled head-on the latest criticism from lawmakers toward the administration’s request for a new BRAC round at Tuesday’s House Armed Services’ Readiness Subcommittee hearing. John Conger, acting assistant secretary of defense for energy, installations and environment, acknowledged that even though defense officials have pledged to conduct a new BRAC with a different emphasis than the last one, unless the department updates the legislation authorizing a new round, lawmakers may continue to be wary. “Let me be clear,” Conger said. “We’re open to a discussion on this point. I would like to solicit your suggestions as to specific changes in the BRAC legislation that would make it more acceptable …

Reed Joins Carter in Supporting BRAC Request

  • March 3, 2015
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Jack Reed, ranking member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, indicated at a hearing Tuesday that he may support another round of base closures. “I do believe that we need to consider efforts to allow the Defense Department to shed what may be as much as 25 percent in excess infrastructure it does not necessarily need, and use these resources for the best and higher priorities,” Reed said in his opening statement. The hearing on President Obama’s fiscal 2016 budget request featured Ashton Carter’s first opportunity to testify on Capitol Hill as defense secretary …

Lifting Defense Spending Cap to Wait, Graham Says

  • March 3, 2015
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The fiscal 2016 budget resolution passed by the Senate most likely will not adjust spending caps imposed by the Budget Control Act, despite a push by defense hawks to lift the ceiling on national security spending, according to Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), who sits on the Budget and Armed Services committees. Graham said he favors sticking with the caps in the budget resolution, and then attempting to strike a bipartisan deal to lift the defense cap later in the session …

Republican Support to Exceed Defense Budget Cap Extends beyond Armed Services Panel

  • March 3, 2015
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The aim of House Republicans to provide the Pentagon relief from the stringent Budget Control Act spending cap for fiscal 2016 goes beyond Republican members of the House Armed Services Committee, and signals a sharp split between defense hawks and fiscal conservatives. This week it was learned that 70 House Republicans wrote Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) on Feb. 26 to recommend allocating at least $561 billion for national security next year, a level equivalent to the president’s budget request. The letter echoes the sentiment of defense hawks that adhering to the statutory cap for defense spending threatens national security …

McCain, Reed Back Infrastructure Consolidation

  • March 2, 2015
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In a letter urging the Senate Budget Committee to break the statutory spending cap in its fiscal 2016 budget resolution, the leadership of the Senate Armed Services Committee endorses management reforms “that could reduce or consolidate military headquarters, commands and infrastructure.” The letter from Chairman John McCain (R-Ariz.) and ranking member Jack Reed (D-R.I.) lists multiple initiatives needed to ensure DOD uses its funding more efficiently — including acquisition reform and slowing the rate of growth of military compensation — but it does not mention approving the department’s request for a new BRAC round. Savings from such cost-cutting reforms should be reinvested to provide more funding for the warfighter, they say …

President’s FY’16 Request Falls Short of DOD’s Needs, HASC Republicans Say

  • March 1, 2015
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Funding for national security should be set at $577 billion in fiscal 2016, a level that is $16 billion higher than President Obama’s budget request and $54 billion higher than next year’s mandated spending cap, House Armed Services Committee Chairman Mac Thornberry (R-Texas) on Friday urged the chairman of the chamber’s Budget Committee. In a “views and estimates” letter to House Budget Committee Chairman Tom Price (R-Ga.), Thornberry points to “a wide array of serious, complex threats” facing the nation, including terrorist groups such as the Islamic State, “sophisticated competitors” such as Russia and China, and the new domain of cyber warfare. “If this is not feasible in the first year, the committee recommends, at a minimum, last year’s House-passed budget resolution level of $566 billion for national defense in the base budget for FY16 with restoration to pre-sequestration-level funding in FY17 and out …

Defense Appropriations Panel Sticking to Budget Cap, Chairman Tells Navy Officials

  • February 26, 2015
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House Defense Appropriations Subcommittee Chairman Rodney Frelinghuysen pressed Navy Secretary Ray Mabus at a hearing Thursday to reveal what priorities would be cut from the service’s fiscal 2016 budget request if it is forced to adhere to the Budget Control Act spending cap. “We’d like, actually, a list of what you would have to do under [a] sequestration scenario,” Frelinghuysen told Mabus during his panel’s first budget hearing of the year. Mabus maintained that the administration’s proposal was the “minimum budget” for the Navy and Marine Corps to meet the defense strategy, but Frelinghuysen insisted the subcommittee needs to prepare for the likelihood that Congress does not strike a deal lifting the defense spending cap …

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