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Posts Tagged ‘debt ceiling agreement’

Sequestration Jeopardizes Army’s Ability to Fulfill Its Role, Hagel Says

  • October 15, 2014
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Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel praised the Army for its contributions since 9/11, before urging Congress to undo spending reductions called for under the Budget Control Act to avoid devastating cuts to the service’s force structure. “As the Army emerges from over 13 years of large-scale combat operations — the longest in its history — it faces new challenges,” Hagel said. “The world’s becoming more volatile, less predictable, and, in many ways, more threatening at the same time our defense budgets are declining …

Army’s Top Leaders Chide Congress for Budget Uncertainty

  • October 14, 2014
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The next eight to 12 months will be critical for the future of the military as Congress makes funding decisions that dictate the size of the force and how it is equipped, Army Chief of Staff Gen. Ray Odierno said Monday at the annual meeting of the Association of the U.S. Army. Unless Congress steps in, the spending cap for fiscal 2016 will force the Army to slash its end strength far below the level called for in the FY 2015 budget, 450,000 soldiers, Secretary John McHugh said earlier in the day. “If sequestration returns in fiscal ’16 … Another round of indiscriminate cuts will gut the force to the point that we will be unable to meet the president’s defense strategic guidance …

President, House Democrats Highlight Dangers of Sequestration

  • October 8, 2014
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During a rare visit to the Pentagon, President Obama on Wednesday warned about the deleterious impacts of the 2011 Budget Control Act spending caps on national defense, underscoring the need “to make sure that Congress is working with us to avoid, for example, some of the draconian cuts that are called for in sequestration.” Obama added that lawmakers need to ensure the military has “the equipment and the technology that’s necessary for them to be able to succeed at their mission,” reported the Hill. “We have done some enormous work, and I want to thank everybody sitting around this table to continue to make our forces leaner, meaner, more effective, more tailored to the particular challenges that we’re going to face in the 21st century …

Rock Island Arsenal Vulnerable to Sequestration, McHugh Says

  • October 7, 2014
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Army Secretary John McHugh on Tuesday said the Army appreciates efforts by area leaders and elected officials to support Rock Island Arsenal, Ill., but warned Quad City officials that defense spending caps slated to be imposed starting in fiscal 2016 could force cutbacks at the facility. If Congress fails to relax the caps, “we’re going to be enormously challenged to maintain the kinds of programs that you see here. Less money means even fewer items bought, fewer items manufactured,” McHugh said following a tour of Rock Island. “We need to get that fixed …

Work Upbraids Congress over Opposition to Cost-Saving Reforms

  • October 1, 2014
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The almost universal rejection by lawmakers of a series of belt-tightening reforms to military compensation and weapons systems retirements proposed by the Pentagon will create an estimated $70 billion hole in its five-year budget, Deputy Defense Secretary Robert Work told the Council on Foreign Relations this week. The department’s fiscal 2015 budget called for slashing the subsidy for commissaries and slowing increases in the basic allowance for housing, along with retiring its fleet of A-10 close air support aircraft and other weapons. “These were what we considered to be pretty reasonable approaches, but Congress said ‘No …

Ryan Sets Sights on ‘Medium’ Budget Deal

  • September 30, 2014
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A “grand bargain” budget agreement replacing the existing Budget Control Act spending caps with alternate deficit reduction measures most likely is off the table for the remainder of the Obama presidency, but a smaller-scale deal may be possible, says Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), chairman of the House Budget Committee. Ryan blames Obama’s unwillingness to consider wholesale reform of entitlement programs for the failure of Congress and the administration in recent years to reach a deal to get the nation’s debt under control. As a result, he is abandoning his pursuit of a comprehensive deficit reduction agreement …

House Republicans Question Defense Cuts amid Renewed Mideast Operations

  • September 29, 2014
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Senior House Republicans are questioning how the Pentagon can adhere to the 2011 Budget Control Act spending caps at the same time it is forced to respond to the rise of the Islamic State and other missions around the globe. On Monday, House Appropriations Chairman Hal Rogers (R-Ky.) said the defense spending cap slated to be imposed in fiscal 2016 would create a challenge as the nation opposes the Islamic State, reported the Hill. “I don’t think sequestration and increased efforts in Syria, in Iraq are compatible,” Rogers said …

Budget Caps, Global Demands Jeopardize Army Response

  • September 21, 2014
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The fiscal 2016 budget Pentagon officials currently are working on could represent a “breaking point” if Congress fails to extend relief to the budget caps at the same time global threats continue to surface, Army Chief of Staff Gen. Ray Odierno told reporters Friday. The active Army, which now stands at 510,000 soldiers, is slated to drop to 490,000 by the end of FY 2015, 470,000 by FY 2016 and 420,000 by FY 2019. Earlier this year, Odierno testified that a reduction to 450,000 would pose a significant security risk, while an end strength of 420,000 would prevent the Army from carrying out its current strategy …

Pentagon Spending Plans Far Exceed Budget Caps, Analyst Says

  • September 4, 2014
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When defense officials rolled out the department’s five-year spending plan in March, they acknowledged it exceeded the 2011 Budget Control Act limits by $116 billion and would require congressional action to relax the caps. The actual cost of funding the Pentagon’s fiscal 2015-2019 budget may require $200 billion to $300 billion in additional spending, however, due to a number of assumptions that are unlikely to be realized, according to a new report from the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments. One shortcoming of the five-year plan is its failure to fund the force structure called for in the 2014 Quadrennial Defense Review and 2012 Defense Strategic Guidance …

Global Unrest Creates Possible Opening to Relax Spending Caps

  • September 2, 2014
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The rise of the Islamic State along with other emerging threats could provide an opening for lawmakers to reverse defense cuts, or at least offer the Pentagon additional flexibility to respond to the threats, but it’s not yet clear that such an effort could succeed at this point, budget experts say. As the number of hotspots expands across the globe, talk about various options Congress could pursue to pay for a military response — including ongoing airstrikes in Iraq and possible ones in Syria — has been on the upswing …

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