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Posts Tagged ‘debt ceiling agreement’

DOD Should Consider Trimming Civilian Workforce to Generate Savings, Defense Analysts Say

  • March 22, 2015
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One area the Pentagon should target to slash spending is its civilian workforce, four defense analysts said March 16 at a Cato Institute forum. The number of civilian workers has grown since 2009, even as the size of the armed forces has been shrinking, said Mackenzie Eaglen, a resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute. The Pentagon has not kept good records of the number of civilian workers it has, Eaglen pointed out, making it difficult to craft plans to roll back the size of the workforce. Conducting a round of base closures would be another way to find budget savings, the experts said …

Budget Resolution Compromise Troubles Defense Hawks

  • March 17, 2015
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The fiscal 2016 budget resolution unveiled Tuesday by the House Budget Committee charts a delicate compromise between the intense push by defense hawks to raise DOD’s budget above the statutory cap and the desire by fiscal conservatives to stick to the spending limits. The committee recommends exceeding the defense spending cap by $39 billion in FY 2016, but because it relies on the Pentagon’s war funding account and a special reserve fund for the extra money, many defense advocates in the House balked at the proposal, reported CQ. Senate Armed Services Chair John McCain (R-Ariz.), who has campaigned fervently for increased defense spending, on Tuesday said he would consider the plan, even though earlier he had described the use of DOD’s overseas contingency operations account as a gimmick …

House Budget Plan Falls Short, DOD Comptroller Says

  • March 17, 2015
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The approach employed in the House’s draft budget resolution to raise fiscal 2016 DOD spending above the statutory cap may help the department in the short term, but it still would leave defense officials facing uncertainty about the size of their budget beyond next year, Pentagon Comptroller Mike McCord said Tuesday at an industry conference. “I appreciate the attempt to find some way to help us, but I think that we need a better solution than that one,” McCord said. The House’s plan, which relies on inflating the department’s overseas contingency operations (OCO) account to provide much-needed budget relief, could allow DOD to get through the next fiscal year, but it still would leave officials unsure whether “we are going to live with the law, get what we want or have all of our money shoved into OCO …

DOD May Need to Rely on War Account to Make up Budget Shortfall, Thornberry Says

  • March 16, 2015
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If the fiscal 2016 budget resolution fails to provide spending beyond the statutory cap for DOD, lawmakers may use the Pentagon’s overseas contingency operations (OCO) account, which is not subject to the cap, to provide the department more funding, Mac Thornberry (R-Texas), chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, told reporters Monday. There are “a number of options that are being looked at,” he said, reported the Hill. “We’re just going to have to take it step by step and see.” Thornberry told reporters he and other committee members have discussed the possibility of increasing defense spending with members of the House Budget Committee …

Army Installations Fight Uphill Battle against Sequestration

  • March 15, 2015
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Mandatory spending caps in the past three years have taken a toll on Army readiness as reductions in installation support have hurt spending on training facilities and soldier and family readiness programs, Lt. Gen. David Halverson, commander of Installation Management Command, said Tuesday at an Association of the U.S. Army forum. “A near-term threat to our effectiveness is sequestration. … It can’t be ignored,” said Halverson, who also serves as assistant chief of staff for installation management. “The Army has been on a tight budget for a few years … fiscal year 2015 doesn’t look any better …

Senate Budget Resolution Will Retain Budget Caps

  • March 11, 2015
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The fiscal 2016 budget resolution the Senate Budget Committee is crafting will retain the statutory caps on defense and non-defense spending but include a reserve fund allowing the discretionary spending limits to be raised later in the year. To take advantage of the higher spending afforded by the reserve fund, Congress and the White House would need to strike a deficit reduction agreement ensuring the extra spending is offset either by other spending cuts or revenue increases. The committee also is considering ways to provide much-needed relief to the Pentagon budget, including a plan from Senate Armed Services Chairman John McCain (R-Ariz.) to raise defense spending in FY 2016 and 2017 …

Reserve Fund Plan May Draw Necessary Support for Budget Resolution

  • March 11, 2015
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Republican lawmakers have come up with a maneuver that may satisfy both defense and fiscal hawks as the House and Senate Budget committees craft a fiscal 2016 budget resolution, but it wouldn’t solve the underlying dispute over whether Congress will raise the $523 billion national security spending cap. Under the idea that has been discussed, the Budget committees would establish a reserve fund, which would allow the discretionary spending limits in the budget resolution to be raised later in the year as long as the new spending is offset by either other spending cuts or revenue increases, reported CQ. The resolution still would set FY 2016 spending at the Budget Control Act limits …

Graham Pushes for Solution to Sequestration

  • March 11, 2015
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A small group of senators, led by Lindsey Graham, is hard at work looking for a way out of the mandatory caps on defense and non-defense spending. “What we need to do is buy back sequestration. What we’re trying to do is put together a mini Simpson-Bowles deal,” Graham said in reference to the deficit reduction package offered by former Sen. Alan Simpson and former White House chief of staff Erskine Bowles. As with that plan, Graham said he would be willing to consider a combination of tax hikes and entitlement cuts, reported the Hill. The prospective candidate to run for president in 2016 said he would offer to close tax loopholes in exchange for reforms to entitlement programs …

Budget Caps Threaten Activity at Fort Hood, Support Group Official Says

  • March 8, 2015
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If Congress fails to provide the Pentagon relief from the Budget Control Act spending caps, Fort Hood will experience “death by a thousand cuts,” the head of the post’s local support group told the Copperas Cove Economic Development Corp. last week. “Fort Hood is an enduring, capable installation,” said Bill Parry, executive director of the Heart of Texas Defense Alliance. “The question is, at what level? …

Army Can’t Keep up with Failing Facilities

  • March 6, 2015
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Army facilities deteriorated significantly following the first two years of mandatory budget caps, fiscal 2013 and 2014, Katherine Hammack, assistant secretary for installations, energy, and environment, told lawmakers this week. Currently, 7 percent of the service’s facilities are failing — including ones housing operating units — and 24 percent are in poor condition, Hammack told the House Armed Services’ Readiness Subcommittee on Tuesday. “The challenge is that facilities are failing at a rate faster than we’re being funded …

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