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Posts Tagged ‘Congress/DOD’

Ayotte Presses Nominee on DOD’s Intentions to Address Excess Capacity outside of BRAC

  • February 26, 2014
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New Hampshire Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R) focused on the Defense Department’s plans for reducing its infrastructure in the event Congress rejects its latest request for additional base closures, during Tuesday’s confirmation hearing for Robert Work for deputy defense secretary. During the Armed Services Committee hearing, Ayotte asked the nominee to clarify remarks Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel offered Monday during a preview of the department’s five-year spending plan. After noting that lawmakers rejected DOD’s BRAC requests in each of the last two years, Hagel said that “if Congress continues to block these requests even as they slash the overall budget, we will have to consider every tool at our disposal to reduce infrastructure …

McCain Places Hold on Deputy Secretary Nominee

  • February 25, 2014
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Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) has placed a hold on Robert Work, President Obama’s nominee for deputy defense secretary, after he characterized the Navy’s littoral combat ship program as being “on solid ground” during his confirmation hearing Tuesday. “I think this is very normal with Navy ship building,” Work said of a program that would be cut from 52 ships to 32 under the five-year budget proposal Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel unveiled the previous day …

Governors Fight Proposed Cuts to Army National Guard

  • February 25, 2014
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Despite recommending a smaller proportional cut on personnel in the Amy National Guard than on the active Army in its five-year budget, the Obama administration is taking flak from the nation’s governors for targeting soldiers and aircraft in the Guard. There’s “unanimity” against cuts among state executives gathered in Washington, D.C., for the National Governors Association’s winter meeting, Arkansas Gov. Mike Beebe (D) told reporters Monday …

Pentagon Spending Plan Quickly Generates Capitol Hill Opposition

  • February 25, 2014
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Republican lawmakers largely denounced the cuts in force structure and changes in military benefits outlined Monday by Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, while Democrats mainly questioned some of the proposals in DOD’s five-year spending plan. “We are going to kill it, not let it happen,” vowed Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.). “I just think it is taking the Army down to a level where you restrain your ability to fight the war that comes your way. The best way to fight a war is deterrence, and I think readiness at the number you are talking about, I just don’t think [the Army] is equipped for the threats you face …

DOD Proposes Scaling Down Subsidies for Commissaries

  • February 25, 2014
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Military grocery stores would not be closed under the Pentagon’s fiscal 2015 budget request, but discounts for service members and retirees would be greatly curtailed, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said Monday. The department is proposing to reduce the annual direct subsidy provided to military commissaries by $1 billion over a three-year period; the annual subsidy now totals $1.4 billion. As a result, the savings on groceries enjoyed by military families would drop from an average of 30 percent to about 10 percent, according to a Pentagon briefing led by senior officials on background …

Hagel Vows to Trim Defense Infrastructure

  • February 25, 2014
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As expected, the Obama administration will ask Congress to authorize a new round of base closures in 2017 as part of its fiscal 2015 budget request, marking the third year in a row DOD will ask permission to pare down its excess infrastructure. “We cannot fully achieve our goals for overhead reductions without cutting unnecessary and costly infrastructure,” Hagel told reporters on Monday. Mindful of DOD’s recent track record with such requests, Hagel pointed out that the department “has already been reducing infrastructure where we can …

FY ’15 Budget Reveals Scope of Cuts Needed to Address Spending Caps

  • February 25, 2014
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The Army’s active-duty end strength would be reduced to between 440,000 and 450,000 under the five-year budget proposal unveiled Monday by Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel. The long-term budget included with the fiscal 2015 budget request, the department’s first to fully reflect the transition DOD is making after 13 years of war, adheres to the spending caps in place next year but exceeds the Budget Control Act caps for the following four years by $115 billion. As a result, the Army would be forced to draw down to an end strength of 420,000 if sequester cuts are not reversed in FY 2016 …

‘Shadow BRAC’ is the Immediate Threat to Bases, Washington Insider Says

  • February 23, 2014
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While the next BRAC round could come as early as 2017, the immediate threat to defense communities are smaller cuts and realignments that don’t require a formal base closure round to go forward, the president of a Washington public affairs firm said last week during a meeting of the local support group for Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point. “The more scary thing to me is what I have been calling the shadow BRAC,” Barry Rhoads, president of Cassidy and Associates, told Allies for Cherry Point’s Tomorrow. “We’re undergoing shadow BRACs as we speak. That’s actually no notification of Congress …

HASC Ranking Member Stands up for BRAC

  • February 23, 2014
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The Pentagon could be forced to realign unneeded installations outside of the normal BRAC process if Congress continues to bar it from conducting a new round of base closures, according to written comments the office of Rep. Adam Smith (D-Wash.) submitted to Breaking Defense last week. “Mr. Smith thinks that given the changing size and shape of our military force, the Department of Defense needs to be able to adjust its infrastructure to accommodate and reflect the shape of the force,” according to Smith’s office. “It is his hope that Congress acts and these changes are made through the normal BRAC process …

Wish List Could Encourage Lawmakers to Tinker with DOD’s Budget Request

  • February 20, 2014
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The Defense Department’s intent to attach a $26 billion list of unfunded requirements to its fiscal 2015 budget request could have unintended consequences, as appropriators swap out programs included in the administration’s proposal for favored programs that failed to make the cut. Including a list of second-tier priorities with the budget request also could embolden service chiefs to push Congress to fund programs that were left out of DOD’s baseline spending plan …

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