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Posts Tagged ‘Congress/DOD’

Administration Criticizes Senate Bill for Pursuing Privatization of Commissaries

  • June 4, 2015
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The White House this week said it opposes provisions in the Senate’s draft of the fiscal 2016 defense authorization bill that would test the feasibility of privatizing military grocery stores. The bill, S. 1376, calls for the Defense Department to develop a plan to privatize the Defense Commissary Agency, wholly or in part. It also directs the Governmental Accountability Office to assess the potential costs and benefits of privatizing the entire network of commissaries and determining whether any barriers exist to privatizing the commissary system. Following the GAO study, DOD would be required to privatize at least five commissaries under a two-year pilot program to evaluate the feasibility of its privatization plan. The White House, though, is critical of the Senate proposal …

Senate Passes Provision to Fortify Reserve Airlift Unit at Ft. Bragg

  • June 4, 2015
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Lawmakers debating the fiscal 2016 defense authorization bill in the Senate Thursday passed an amendment that would not only stop the Air Force from carrying out its plan to deactivate Fort Bragg’s 440th Airlift Wing, but also replace its C-130 transport aircraft with upgraded models. The amendment, introduced by North Carolina Sen. Thom Tillis (R) and co-sponsored by Sens. Richard Burr (R-N.C.) and James Inhofe (R-Okla.), would relocate nine previously upgraded C-130H aircraft to Pope Field at Fort Bragg to directly support the daily training and contingency requirements of the XVIII Airborne Corps, 82nd Airborne Division and Army Special Operations Command. The nine aircraft would replace the six older C-130Hs now operated by the Air Force Reserve unit that are slated to be removed …

White House Objects to Language Mandating Personnel Cuts in Senate Bill

  • June 4, 2015
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The Obama administration said it opposes a section in the Senate’s fiscal 2016 defense authorization bill that would streamline the Defense Department in an attempt to eliminate unnecessary overhead because it would force the Pentagon to impose “deep, across-the-board cuts.” The Senate measure, S. 1376, calls for reducing funding for headquarters and administrative functions for military services, defense agencies, combatant commands, the office of the secretary of Defense and the Joint Chiefs of Staff by 7.5 percent for four years, totaling 30 percent by the fourth year. The cuts would yield $1.7 billion in savings in FY 2016 and recurring savings of $6.8 billion per year by the fourth year. The savings would be funneled to operations and readiness, according to the Senate Armed Services Committee …

Battle Lines Drawn over Commissary Funding

  • June 4, 2015
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The fiscal 2016 defense spending bill approved Tuesday by the House Appropriations Committee would restore $322 million DOD had proposed to cut from the Defense Commissary Agency’s budget as an initial step to scaling back the federal subsidy for military grocery stores. The cuts would force U.S. commissaries to be operated more like a business, forcing them to reduce customer discounts, as well as trim staff, store hours and the days stores are open. The Senate Armed Services Committee, however, adopted the department’s proposal to slash funding for commissaries in its draft FY 2016 defense authorization bill, raising the chances that the two chambers will need to find a compromise when they hash out next year’s defense budget …

White House Highlights Need for BRAC in Veto Threat over Senate Measure

  • June 3, 2015
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The Office of Management and Budget on Tuesday cited the lack of language authorizing a new BRAC round as one of the key factors that could prompt President Obama to veto the Senate version of the fiscal 2016 defense authorization bill. OMB’s “Statement of Administration Policy” echoed the veto threat the agency issued last month in response to the House version of the policy bill. Both statements highlighted the need for a BRAC round and the bills’ reliance on DOD’s war account to boost its budget rather than raising the Budget Control Act spending caps as issues that would need to be resolved before the president would sign the legislation …

Senate to Take up Authorization Bill Today

  • June 2, 2015
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The Senate plans to begin consideration of the fiscal 2016 defense authorization bill Wednesday during a debate that could take more than a week. On Tuesday, Jack Reed (D-R.I.), ranking member on Senate Armed Services, said Democrats likely would not block consideration of the annual policy bill over its reliance on DOD’s overseas contingency operations account to evade the statutory spending caps. Democrats, along with the White House, are opposed to the maneuver, which would shield the Pentagon’s budget from the spending limits but offer no relief for domestic agencies …

Defense Spending Bill Advances in House

  • June 2, 2015
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The House Appropriations Committee approved a $579 billion defense spending bill on Tuesday after rejecting a Democratic attempt to overturn the measure’s use of DOD’s war account to get around the Budget Control Act spending caps. An amendment offered by Rep. Peter Visclosky would have moved $38 billion placed in DOD’s overseas contingency operations account to its base budget. The GOP added those funds to the president’s fiscal 2016 budget request for the war account, boosting it to $88 billion. “The overseas contingency fund has exploded beyond any reasonable measure of what a contingency fund should be,” said Rep. Barbara Lee …

OMB Chief Rips GOP’s Resort to ‘Budget Gimmicks’

  • June 2, 2015
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Office of Management and Budget Director Shaun Donovan on Monday reiterated the administration’s concerns about the Republicans’ strategy for bypassing the statutory spending caps by stashing extra funds in the Defense Department’s war account, in a letter to the chairman of the House Appropriations Committee. The letter was timed to coincide with Tuesday’s markup of the committee’s fiscal 2016 defense spending bill. Donovan said the administration has “serious concerns about this legislation, which would underfund these important investments in the base budget and instead rely on budget gimmicks that have been criticized by members of both parties. The legislation also includes highly problematic riders and provisions that would preclude needed reforms …

Groups Pose Alternative Missions for Davis-Monthan AFB to Address A-10 Retirement

  • June 1, 2015
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While the A-10 jet appears to have dodged retirement once again, the Air Force’s plan to retire the fleet of ground-attack jets in favor of other aircraft that can fulfill its close air support mission and save $4 billion likely isn’t going away. The looming retirement of the A-10 poses an uncomfortable question for Davis-Monthan Air Force Base in Tucson as the aircraft represents the installation’s primary flying mission and the Air Force is looking to shed excess capacity. In the first of a multi-part series, the Arizona Daily Star considers five future missions for the installation suggested by the various entities advocating for the installation, including the DM50, the Southern Arizona Defense Alliance, Pima County and the city of Tucson …

Size of Army to Remain Unsettled for Several Years, Odierno Says

  • May 31, 2015
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Gen. Ray Odierno had hoped the Obama administration and Congress could have settled on a final end strength for the Army by the time he steps down as the Army’s chief of staff this fall, but the issue likely will remain undecided for several more years, he told reporters last week. “I thought by now we would have had that resolved,” said Odierno. “That was a major thing I wish I could’ve had done so the new chief could focus on continuing to move the Army forward, but he’s still going to have to deal with this issue for at least two or three more years,” he said, reported Army Times. The Army already is slated to shrink its active-duty end strength to 490,000 soldiers by Sept. 30, with further reductions cutting the force to 450,000 over the next few years …

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