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Posts Tagged ‘debt ceiling agreement’

Army Plans Involuntary Separation for Thousands of Combat Veterans

  • March 29, 2015
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The Army will be forced to eliminate about 14,000 soldiers as a direct result of the Budget Control Act spending caps which are prompting the service to shrink its active-duty force to 450,000 personnel, Vice Chief of Staff Gen. Daniel Allyn told the Senate Armed Services’ Readiness Subcommittee last week. “[Sequestration] will increase significantly the involuntary separation of officer and non-commissioned [NCO] leaders who have steadfastly served their country through the last 13 years of war,” Allyn said. Complying with the spending caps will require the involuntary separation of about 2,000 soldiers annually, including officers and NCOs …

Carter Blasts House Budget Resolution

  • March 26, 2015
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Defense Secretary Ashton Carter on Thursday rejected the fiscal 2016 budget resolution approved by the House that would allow the Pentagon to exceed its statutory spending cap by adding billions of dollars into its war funding account. “Current proposals to shoehorn [DOD’s] base budget funds into our contingency accounts would fail to solve the problem, while also undermining basic principles of accountability and responsible, long-term planning,” Carter told a meeting of the Chiefs of Mission at State Department headquarters. The budget blueprint adopted by House Republicans on Wednesday would add $38 billion to DOD’s $58 billion request for the department’s overseas contingency operations account …

Republican Moves Effectively Sidestep Defense Budget Caps

  • March 24, 2015
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The fiscal 2016 budget resolutions the House and Senate are poised to approve this week signal significant support among Republican lawmakers for spending plans that flout the Budget Control Act limits for DOD. On Monday, the House Rules Committee approved a special procedure allowing the House to take up competing budget resolutions, including an alternative to the blueprint passed last week in committee allowing national security spending to exceed the $523 billion statutory cap without any offset …

Possible Veto Threat Could Disrupt Appropriations Process

  • March 24, 2015
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President Obama’s vow last week not to sign any fiscal 2016 appropriations bills that adhere to the statutory spending caps likely is intended to prompt a deal with congressional Republicans that would relax the limits for defense and non-defense spending. Conversely, the president’s pledge may force an impasse that results in a series of continuing resolutions and, possibly, a government shutdown, reported CQ. “I will not, and I’ve been very clear,” Obama said of signing bills that follow the Budget Control Act limits …

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 …

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