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Posts Tagged ‘debt ceiling agreement’

State of Readiness Approaches Troublesome Levels, Briefing Reveals

  • February 24, 2015
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The overall readiness of the nation’s military has been severely degraded, with units scheduled for deployment receiving a disproportionate share of available resources, Pentagon officials told the House Armed Services Readiness Subcommittee during a recent closed-door briefing. “While justifiable, this imbalance will eventually yield an unviable and technologically inferior fighting force and challenges our ability to win decisively against growing adversaries,” according to one of the briefing charts from the unclassified presentation obtained by CQ. Relief stemming from the two-year Ryan-Murray budget deal reached in December 2013 has helped restore some of the readiness decline but absent further relief from the Budget Control Act spending caps, readiness levels will continue to erode …

House, Senate Face Competing Forces in Crafting FY’16 Budget Resolution

  • February 23, 2015
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The House and Senate Budget committees are getting ready to draft fiscal 2016 budget resolutions, but with Republicans divided over whether — and how — to break the statutory spending caps, it’s too early to predict how they will come up with spending levels that satisfy both defense and fiscal hawks. The House committee is more likely to stick with the existing Budget Control Act caps, but the resulting resolution could yield discretionary spending levels perceived by lawmakers from both parties as too low for defense and non-defense programs. That outcome could lead to a budget deal later this year similar to the one struck by Rep. Paul Ryan and Sen. Patty Murray in December 2013 that offered the Pentagon limited relief above the FY 2014 and 2015 caps, reported CQ …

DOD Has Not Drafted Alternate FY’16 Budget to Meet Spending Cap

  • February 19, 2015
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Pentagon officials do not have a backup spending plan for fiscal 2016 in the event that lawmakers fail to lift the $499 billion spending cap for the department’s base budget, Comptroller Mike McCord said this week. “The answer right now is no, we do not have an alternate plan,” McCord said. Budget officials had developed alternate budgets in past years to prepare for the possibility of sequestration, he said, but the department believed preparing multiple budgets was not worth the effort …

Deal to Ease Budget Pressure on Pentagon Is Likely, Hale Says

  • February 18, 2015
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Congress likely will strike a moderate deal relaxing the $499 billion cap on the Defense Department’s fiscal 2016 base budget, according to former DOD Comptroller Robert Hale. “What I hope happens is that we get another mini-deal,” Hale, an adviser to Booz Allen Hamilton, told Federal News Radio. Hale pointed to a recent speech by Rep. Rob Wittman (R-Va.), chairman of the House Armed Services’ Readiness Subcommittee, as a positive sign for the prospects of a new budget deal. “I do think there is a good chance that through the budgeting process that sequestration will be set aside,” said Wittman …

Reporting to Duty, Carter Will Face Numerous Priorities

  • February 16, 2015
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Ashton Carter, who is scheduled to be sworn in as the next defense secretary Tuesday morning, will have an array of foreign crises to deal with, calling into question his ability to reach a breakthrough with Congress to loosen the statutory cap on defense spending. “One thing we know for sure about Ash Carter’s tenure as defense secretary is that it will be fleeting,” said Loren Thompson of the Lexington Institute. “Whatever plans he may have for spurring innovation or reforming processes, the reality is that his schedule will probably be captured by bigger issues such as [the Islamic State] and Ukraine …

DOD Budget Has Room for Cuts, Experts Say

  • February 11, 2015
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At a hearing of the House Armed Services Committee on Wednesday, defense experts pointed to a number of places the Pentagon could slash spending to meet the Budget Control Act caps starting in fiscal 2016. For starters, DOD should consider the recent recommendations of the Military Compensation and Retirement Modernization Commission, which include offering contributions to 401(k)-style accounts for service members who leave before reaching the 20-year service milestone, reported Military Times. “They’ve got a sound approach there — it certainly could use some tweaks and improvements from Congress,” said Todd Harrison, a senior fellow with the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessment …

Former Defense Officials Reinforce McCain’s Campaign to Increase DOD Budget

  • February 11, 2015
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Two former defense undersecretaries on Tuesday told the Senate Armed Services Committee that DOD’s annual budget should be raised by tens of billions of dollars to address expanding global threats, declining troop readiness and the need to develop new weapons. The recommendation from Eric Edelman and Michèle Flournoy would far exceed the fiscal 2016 budget proposed by President Obama, which calls for spending $35 billion more than the statutory spending cap, reported Stars and Stripes. “The United States probably faces the most complex and volatile security situation that we’ve faced in a long time, if ever,” said Eric Edelman …

Bipartisan Agreement over Raising Spending Caps Amounts to Little More than ‘Happy Talk’

  • February 9, 2015
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Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle, along with President Obama, have found common ground on the need to raise the statutory cap on fiscal 2016 defense spending, but until Republicans and Democrats start to agree on how to pay for extra spending for the Pentagon, the much-needed relief will remain a mirage. Mackenzie Eaglen, a resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, said she is “surprised by all the ‘good news’ stories about a higher defense budget.” “Sure, both sides want a higher defense topline, but that’s where the agreement stops,” Eaglen told Defense News. “Neither party has any indication or inclination about how this ends up …

House Budget Chairman Shows No Interest in Lifting Defense Cap

  • February 5, 2015
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At a hearing Wednesday on the president’s fiscal 2016 budget request, House Budget Chairman Tom Price (R-Ga.) offered no indication he would like to exceed the statutory spending caps for either defense or domestic programs. Price blasted the White House proposal for jeopardizing the remaining $541 billion in discretionary spending cuts scheduled to be imposed by the Budget Control Act through FY 2021, reported CQ. “In order to increase spending across the board, the president’s budget would unravel bipartisan agreements that have secured a modicum of spending restraint in recent years,” he said. “At the end of the day, a proposal that never balances and ignores key drivers of the nation’s debt is not a serious plan …

Carter Eases through Nomination Hearing

  • February 4, 2015
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Ashton Carter’s nomination hearing before the Senate Armed Services Committee Wednesday to be the next defense secretary was largely tension-free and may be quickly followed by a vote on his candidacy by the full Senate next week. “We will talk to the majority leader to see if we can’t get your nomination to the floor so that you can get to work,” Committee Chairman John McCain (R-Ariz.) said at the end of the day-long hearing, reported CQ. Carter told the panel he hopes to get rid of the statutory caps on defense spending and find a way with Congress out of the “wilderness of sequester …

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