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Posts Tagged ‘Congress/DOD’

Panel Asks for Plan to Sustain Range, Test Facility Infrastructure

  • May 11, 2015
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Citing range and test facility infrastructure that has been deteriorating over time, the House Armed Services Committee is directing DOD to assess the military construction needs of DOD’s Major Range and Test Facility Base as called for in the department’s most recent strategic plan for test and evaluation (T&E) resources, according to the report accompanying the fiscal 2016 defense authorization bill. The assessment should include an estimated cost to replace or bring to code deficient structures, as well as a plan to ensure the department’s range and test facilities have sufficient capacity to support current and future operations, the report language states. “The committee recognizes that the [Major Range and Test Facility Base] must remain sized, operated and maintained to preserve core, governmental T&E capabilities …

Lawmakers Look to Halt Next Round of Army Downsizing

  • May 10, 2015
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With the Army on course to shrink its active-duty end strength by up to 70,000 soldiers in the coming years, lawmakers representing Army communities are eager to offer amendments to the fiscal 2016 defense authorization bill when it goes to the House floor this week that would suspend the planned drawdown. The House Armed Services Committee already denied one attempt to maintain the Army’s end strength at current levels when it marked up the legislation last month. An amendment sponsored by Republican Reps. John Fleming (La.) and Elise Stefanik (N.Y.) called for maintaining troop strength at 490,000, the service’s current target for the end of fiscal 2015. The provision would have prohibited further cuts until six months after officials submitted a strategic and operational analysis of the impact of future reductions, and assessed how the cuts would harm overall readiness …

Armed Services Panel Applauds Utilities Privatization, School Renovation Initiatives

  • May 10, 2015
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The House Armed Services Committee praised two initiatives that are resulting in upgraded facilities across DOD installations — utilities privatization and the construction and renovation of schools operated by local districts — in its report accompanying the fiscal 2016 defense authorization bill. The department’s utilities privatization initiative has been able “to achieve greater efficiencies and reduce operating costs while recapitalizing aging utilities infrastructure with modern, reliable systems,” the committee stated. “In addition, the committee notes that utilities privatization can also enhance support to military missions,” according to the report …

Senate Panel Unlikely to Adopt DOD’s BRAC Request, McCain Says

  • May 7, 2015
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The Senate’s version of the fiscal 2016 defense authorization bill probably won’t endorse the Obama administration’s request to hold a BRAC round in 2017, Armed Services Chairman John McCain (R-Ariz.) said Thursday. “I think they made bad mistakes in the last couple of rounds, and so I am a bit skeptical,” McCain told reporters in explaining his opposition to approving additional base closures, reported CQ Roll Call. McCain had not weighed in on the BRAC question since taking the helm of the Armed Services Committee at the beginning of the year, but in March the chairman and ranking member, Jack Reed (D-R.I.), called for DOD to carry out management reforms “that could reduce or consolidate military headquarters, commands and infrastructure …

Committee Wants Update on DOD’s Plan for Mitigating Impact of Climate Change at Installations

  • May 7, 2015
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The House Armed Services Committee directs the Pentagon to brief it on the steps it is taking to mitigate the potential impacts of climate change, under an amendment to the fiscal 2016 defense authorization bill added during last week’s committee markup. According to the amendment, offered by Rep. Scott Peters (D-Calif.), the briefing should address: How are changing conditions affecting operations and military readiness at U.S. installations? How are best practices being disseminated and implemented across U.S. installations …

Defense Committee Embraces Installation-Community Partnerships

  • May 6, 2015
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The military services should take advantage of the relatively new authority allowing installations to enter into intergovernmental support agreements with local governments to provide, receive or share support services for most municipal functions, according to report language accompanying the fiscal 2016 defense authorization bill. “The [House Armed Services] Committee notes that the authority to enter into intergovernmental support agreements is broad and encourages the Department of Defense to leverage this authority in a manner that provides costs savings and improved services in support of Department of Defense installations, military personnel and their families,” the report states …

Budget Differences Put Military at Risk, Top Pentagon Officials Testify

  • May 6, 2015
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Defense Secretary Ash Carter reiterated the administration’s threat to veto legislation that adds $38 billion to DOD’s war account to get around the Budget Control Act spending caps, during a hearing Wednesday of the Senate Defense Appropriations Subcommittee. “While this approach clearly recognizes that the budget total we’ve requested is needed, the avenue it takes is just as clearly a road to nowhere,” Carter told the panel. If lawmakers stick to the path outlined in the compromise budget resolution adopted by both chambers over the past week, he said, the department again will need to make hasty and drastic decisions by Oct. 1 …

OMB Calls for Agencies to Cut Budgets by 5 Percent in FY’17

  • May 6, 2015
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The Office of Management and Budget has told all federal agencies, including the Defense Department, that their upcoming budgets should reflect a 5 percent reduction below the funding level programmed for fiscal 2017 in the current budget request submitted to Congress last February. “[The guidance] asks agencies to show how they would cut 5 percent below the FY 2017 levels shown in the FY 2016 budget, as well as how they would prioritize funding add-backs to those levels,” an OMB spokeswoman told CQ Roll Call. “This guidance represents the starting point in the budget process …

Senators Decry Spending Caps before Passing Budget Resolution

  • May 5, 2015
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The Senate passed the fiscal 2016 conference budget resolution Tuesday, after lawmakers from both parties used the debate to press their colleagues to strike a deal to lift the Budget Control Act spending caps. The budget blueprint adheres to the statutory caps on defense and domestic spending, but to sidestep the limit on the Pentagon’s budget, it stashes $38 billion in extra funds in DOD’s war account, which is not subject to the caps. The House passed the compromise resolution last week. The move sets up a showdown over next year’s budget with President Obama, who has threatened to veto any spending bill that sticks to the statutory caps or provides budget relief to DOD while leaving domestic programs at the capped levels …

Panel Directs GAO to Study Impact of Deferred Maintenance on Readiness

  • May 4, 2015
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In response to concerns over DOD’s policy to stop fully funding facilities sustainment, the House Armed Services’ Readiness Subcommittee directs the Government Accountability Office to review the state of the department’s facility sustainment and recapitalization program, according to report language attached to the panel’s portion of the fiscal 2016 defense authorization bill. The congressional watchdog agency should address: to what extent has DOD met its goals for sustainment and recapitalization of its facilities? what is known about the condition of facilities and the trend in conditions since fiscal 2011 …

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