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Posts Tagged ‘Congress/DOD’

Work Upbraids Congress over Opposition to Cost-Saving Reforms

  • October 1, 2014
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The almost universal rejection by lawmakers of a series of belt-tightening reforms to military compensation and weapons systems retirements proposed by the Pentagon will create an estimated $70 billion hole in its five-year budget, Deputy Defense Secretary Robert Work told the Council on Foreign Relations this week. The department’s fiscal 2015 budget called for slashing the subsidy for commissaries and slowing increases in the basic allowance for housing, along with retiring its fleet of A-10 close air support aircraft and other weapons. “These were what we considered to be pretty reasonable approaches, but Congress said ‘No …

Ryan Sets Sights on ‘Medium’ Budget Deal

  • September 30, 2014
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A “grand bargain” budget agreement replacing the existing Budget Control Act spending caps with alternate deficit reduction measures most likely is off the table for the remainder of the Obama presidency, but a smaller-scale deal may be possible, says Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), chairman of the House Budget Committee. Ryan blames Obama’s unwillingness to consider wholesale reform of entitlement programs for the failure of Congress and the administration in recent years to reach a deal to get the nation’s debt under control. As a result, he is abandoning his pursuit of a comprehensive deficit reduction agreement …

House Republicans Question Defense Cuts amid Renewed Mideast Operations

  • September 29, 2014
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Senior House Republicans are questioning how the Pentagon can adhere to the 2011 Budget Control Act spending caps at the same time it is forced to respond to the rise of the Islamic State and other missions around the globe. On Monday, House Appropriations Chairman Hal Rogers (R-Ky.) said the defense spending cap slated to be imposed in fiscal 2016 would create a challenge as the nation opposes the Islamic State, reported the Hill. “I don’t think sequestration and increased efforts in Syria, in Iraq are compatible,” Rogers said …

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.

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