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Posts Tagged ‘Congress/DOD’

Chairmanship is ‘Thornberry’s to Lose,’ HASC Watcher Says

  • September 28, 2014
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Rep. Mac Thornberry (R-Texas) appears poised to become the next chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, though Rep. Randy Forbes (R-Va.) has left the door open to seek the gavel, too. The current chairman, Rep. Buck McKeon (R-Calif.), announced in January…

Authorization Bill Coming in Some Form, Levin Says

  • September 24, 2014
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Congress will pass the fiscal 2015 defense authorization bill this year, although it’s unlikely it will occur through regular order with the Senate passing its version before it goes to a House-Senate conference, Carl Levin (D-Mich.), chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, told reporters Wednesday. Levin’s comments essentially confirmed that the annual defense policy bill most likely will follow a path similar to the one it went down last year after it stalled in the Senate in November when the two parties failed to reach an agreement over handling amendments …

Joint Basing Savings Remain Unclear, GAO Finds

  • September 21, 2014
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DOD’s joint basing initiative — a recommendation proposed by the department to the 2005 BRAC Commission to consolidate installation support functions at 26 locations sharing a boundary or located in close proximity to form 12 joint bases — was intended to generate cost savings through economies of scale, and by optimizing service contracts and paring unnecessary management personnel. To date, though, DOD has not demonstrated that the initiative has fulfilled its goals of reducing duplication of efforts and producing efficiencies, concludes a new report by the Government Accountability Office (GAO). Officials at the 12 joint bases, through responses to survey questions and during interviews, did not report “significant achievements in reaching these goals,” the congressional watchdog agency found …

Budget Caps, Global Demands Jeopardize Army Response

  • September 21, 2014
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The fiscal 2016 budget Pentagon officials currently are working on could represent a “breaking point” if Congress fails to extend relief to the budget caps at the same time global threats continue to surface, Army Chief of Staff Gen. Ray Odierno told reporters Friday. The active Army, which now stands at 510,000 soldiers, is slated to drop to 490,000 by the end of FY 2015, 470,000 by FY 2016 and 420,000 by FY 2019. Earlier this year, Odierno testified that a reduction to 450,000 would pose a significant security risk, while an end strength of 420,000 would prevent the Army from carrying out its current strategy …

CR Headed to President following Senate Approval

  • September 18, 2014
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A continuing resolution to fund the federal government through Dec. 11 is heading to the White House for President Obama’s signature, after the Senate on Thursday passed the stopgap by a 78-22 vote during a relatively uneventful session. The fiscal 2015 spending measure also includes the president’s request for authorization to arm and equip Syrian rebels to fight the Islamic State. The Senate did not, however, hold a separate vote on the language since the House already added it to the bill Wednesday as an amendment. Still to be determined when lawmakers return to Capitol Hill following the midterm elections is how they will fund agencies for the remainder of the fiscal year …

Senate Expected to Send CR to President Today

  • September 17, 2014
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The Senate on Thursday plans to quickly approve a fiscal 2015 continuing resolution to keep the federal government running through Dec. 11, after the House on Wednesday passed the measure by a 319-108 vote. The Senate will debate the stopgap for up to four-and-a-half hours Thursday afternoon before taking a final vote, reported CQ. The chamber won’t need to hold a separate vote on authorizing the United States to train and equip Syrian rebels to fight the Islamic State since the House added that language as an amendment to the CR on Wednesday …

Pentagon Names New Facilities Energy Director

  • September 16, 2014
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Lisa Jung, who has been serving as the acting director of DOD’s facilities energy and privatization directorate, was named the office’s director, the department announced Tuesday. Jung also was appointed to the Senior Executive Service. She has served as the acting director since earlier this year after Joe Sikes left the position. Jung previously served as a program analyst in the department. The facilities energy and privatization directorate, part of the office of the deputy undersecretary for installations and energy, is responsible for issuing facility energy policy and guidance, coordinating the department’s facility energy strategy, engaging with DOD components and coordinating all congressional reports related to facility energy.

Planned Cuts to Air Force Units in Europe May Be Postponed

  • September 16, 2014
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Planned cuts to Air Force units based in Europe may be delayed over concerns about Russia’s intentions toward Ukraine and Eastern Europe, defense officials said Tuesday. “I see this building now moving towards a review of those decisions,” Gen. Philip Breedlove, commander of U.S. European Command, told reporters at the Pentagon. The department had intended to retire 21 overseas F-15C fighter jets — believed to be located at RAF Lakenheath, England — in fiscal 2015, but Air Force Secretary Deborah Lee James said she would like to keep that unit in place for the time being …

CR on Path for Approval

  • September 16, 2014
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As the House on Tuesday began to debate an amendment to a fiscal 2015 continuing resolution authorizing the administration to support Syrian rebels, there appears to be sufficient bipartisan support in both chambers to pass the amendment along with the underlying stopgap spending bill. The House is expected to finish floor debate and vote on the amendment and CR on Wednesday. The Senate plans to vote on the stopgap, which would fund the federal government through Dec. 11, by the end of the week …

Senate Confirms Air Force Installations Nominee

  • September 15, 2014
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The Air Force’s top installations post will be filled by a Senate-confirmed individual for the first time in 18 months after the chamber last week confirmed Miranda Ballentine to be the service’s assistant secretary for installations, environment and logistics. Ballentine, a top sustainability and renewable energy official for Wal-Mart Stores, is expected to begin working at the Pentagon on Sept. 22, according to an Air Force spokesman. President Obama nominated Ballentine for the post in January. Kathleen Ferguson has been the acting assistant secretary since March 2013 when Terry Yonkers stepped down …

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