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Posts Tagged ‘debt ceiling agreement’

Authorization Bill Places Pentagon on Path toward ‘Hollow’ Military

  • May 12, 2014
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By voting to block most of the Pentagon’s proposals for coping with stringent spending caps imposed through fiscal 2021, the House Armed Services Committee last week could jeopardize the military’s readiness while raising questions as to how DOD will meet the mandated budget limits starting in FY 2016. “When we are told we can’t reduce infrastructure, we can’t retire weapons systems, we can’t change pay, compensation, health care, what’s left … is readiness and modernization,” Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told reporters over the weekend. “So we are going to have to raid our readiness accounts and our modernization account …

Committee Rejects Army Plan to Restructure National Guard

  • May 8, 2014
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The House Armed Services Committee Wednesday night voted to block the Army’s plan to shift almost 200 Apache attack helicopters from the National Guard to the service’s active component. The amendment to the fiscal 2015 defense authorization bill was proposed by Rep. Joe Wilson (R-S.C.) and passed by a voice vote with support from both sides of the aisle, reported the Hill. Following the vote, the committee passed the underlying defense policy bill early Thursday morning …

Panel Rejects Navy Plans to Retire Carrier, Deactivate Cruisers

  • May 7, 2014
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The House Armed Services Committee on Wednesday authorized funding to refuel and overhaul the U.S.S. George Washington, upending the Navy’s plans to retire one of its 11 aircraft carriers. The committee’s vote during its day-long markup of the fiscal 2015 defense authorization bill largely reflected language passed last week by the Seapower and Projection Forces Subcommittee. The bill authorizes $796 million to refuel the carrier; DOD officials have said they would budget necessary funds to refuel the carrier only if lawmakers relax the spending caps imposed starting in FY 2016 …

Smith Criticizes Policy Bill for Postponing ‘Difficult Choices’

  • May 5, 2014
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Rep. Adam Smith (D-Wash.) on Monday attacked the chairman’s mark of the fiscal 2015 defense authorization bill for failing “to make the difficult choices necessary to address crushing financial constraints placed on this budget by Congress.” Unless sequestration is repealed, said Smith, the House Armed Services Committee’s ranking member, lawmakers will need to evaluate cost-cutting proposals based on their national security merit rather than parochial interests …

Wittman Highlights Readiness Shortfall at Markup

  • May 1, 2014
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Rep. Rob Wittman (R-Va.), chairman of the House Armed Services’ Readiness Subcommittee, underscored the military’s gap in readiness stemming from the strict spending caps enacted in 2011 along with the prospect of deeper cuts in training starting in fiscal 2016, at the outset of the panel’s markup of its portion of the fiscal 2015 defense authorization bill. Wittman cited a number of facts to illustrate the military’s shortfall: the Air Force has restored only 50 percent of its pilots back to appropriate training levels after slashing flying hours last year …

Congress Will Find Funds to Retain 11th Carrier, Lawmakers Say

  • April 28, 2014
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Members of Virginia’s congressional delegation have pledged to secure the funds needed to refuel the USS George Washington, which would allow the Navy to retain 11 aircraft carriers. “I am not worried that the United States is going to lose a carrier because I don’t think that’s going to happen,” Rep. Randy Forbes (R-Va.), chairman of the House Armed Services’ Seapower and Projection Forces subcommittee, said at a press conference on Monday, reported the Hill. DOD’s latest five-year budget provides funding for only 10 carriers as it does not include $6 billion needed to refuel the George Washington …

Effort to Overturn National Guard Cuts Runs into Resistance on Capitol Hill

  • April 28, 2014
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Congress has historically been a reliable advocate for the interests of the National Guard, but in the latest dispute over the Army’s plan to trim the size of the Army National Guard and replace its fleet of Apache attack helicopters, many members on Capitol Hill are pushing back against the arguments of state National Guard leaders. A common refrain from lawmakers is that the cuts in the Army’s end strength forced by the 2011 Budget Control Act spending caps are sufficiently deep that the Guard needs to bear some of the burden of the budget cuts …

Young Officers Won’t Be Forced Out, Army Says

  • April 22, 2014
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The Army on Tuesday denied an Associated Press story stating it would need to force 3,000 officers out of the service by the end of fiscal 2015 as part of an effort to shrink its end strength from 522,000 soldiers to 490,000. The Army could rely on natural separations such as retirements and fewer enlistments to reach its target, said spokesman Troy Rolan. “I don’t see why we would have to force anybody out,” Rolan told Government Executive. “There’s so many ways we can reach any number, it’s almost impossible to describe them all …

Defense Lobbying Shifts from Capitol Hill to Pentagon

  • April 20, 2014
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Even as lobbyists gear up for markups of the defense authorization bill and spending bills, much of their attention has shifted to the Defense Department as spending caps and earmark bans limit the power of lawmakers. “We’re not doing the retail lobbying on the Hill anymore,” one lobbyist told CQ. “I’m only hiring people who know their way around the Pentagon.” The change comes as lawmakers have lost much of their influence on spending decisions …

Air Force to Eliminate 2,700 Civilian Positions in FY’15

  • April 16, 2014
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The Air Force plans to trim its civilian workforce from 186,026 employees to 183,328 through a combination of early retirements, buyouts and attrition. The elimination of 2,698 positions comes as the Air Force searches for ways to cope with spending caps first mandated in the 2011 Budget Control Act, reports the Federal Times. “Our entire workforce — military, civilian and contractor — must be appropriately sized to support and execute our piece of the National Defense Strategy while concurrently considering fiscal realities …

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