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Posts Tagged ‘defense authorization bill’

McCain May End Closed Markups for Authorization Bill

  • November 24, 2014
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The Senate Armed Services Committee’s markup of the defense authorization bill may be open to the public next year, Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), who is expected to take the gavel for the panel in the 114th Congress, said last week. “I lean towards it, but I want to get the sense of all the members of the committee,” said McCain. McCain has previously stated there is no reason to hold the markup in a closed session. Before going ahead, though, he said he wants to make sure a majority of the committee supports the move, reported CQ Roll Call …

Armed Services Leaders Split over Military Compensation Reforms

  • November 19, 2014
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Leaders of the House and Senate Armed Services committees negotiating a compromise fiscal 2015 defense authorization bill remain at an impasse over two DOD proposals intended to save billions of dollars in military benefit costs through FY 2019. Carl Levin (D-Mich.), the outgoing chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, said Wednesday it’s worth “fighting for” the reforms advocated by Pentagon leaders. One would slow the growth in the basic allowance for housing below the rate of inflation over the next three years so that the benefit only covers 95 percent of average rental costs. The other would increase pharmacy co-pays for prescriptions filled outside of military treatment facilities …

Authorization Bill Talks Hung up over Military Benefits

  • November 18, 2014
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A dispute over DOD cost-saving reforms affecting the basic allowance for housing and co-pays for prescription drugs are holding up negotiations between the leadership of the House and Senate Armed Services committees over a compromise fiscal 2015 defense authorization bill. Committee leaders were aiming to wrap up negotiations by the end of the week, and clearing the final version of the bill through the House and Senate during the lame duck session. The Pentagon had proposed slowing growth in the basic allowance for housing below the rate of inflation over the next three years so that the benefit only covers 95 percent of average rental costs …

Pentagon Will Request a New BRAC Round in FY’16 Budget, Hagel Indicates

  • November 17, 2014
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During multiple stops this weekend, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel underscored the need for a new BRAC round as one way for the Defense Department to mitigate the fiscal constraints imposed by the Budget Control Act spending caps. “Despite numerous efforts and almost 10 years since the last round, DOD has been unable to secure another round of base realignment and closure. Today, DOD has 24 percent excess capacity in our basing and facilities — excess capacity that is costing us billions of dollars every year, money that could otherwise be invested in maintaining our military’s edge. We need Congress to help end this excess spending …

Armed Services Panels Close in on Compromise Bill

  • November 17, 2014
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The leaders of the House and Senate Armed Services Committees are aiming shortly to finish hammering out an agreement on a fiscal 2015 compromise defense authorization bill after negotiations stalled Friday. The chairmen and ranking members of each chamber’s panel continued to meet Monday to settle high profile issues, with the Army’s plan to shift 192 Apache attack helicopters from the National Guard to the active Army representing one of the most contentious sticking point …

Deputy Defense Secretary Takes up the BRAC Mantle

  • November 14, 2014
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During remarks Wednesday focusing on the bind the Pentagon faces between stringent spending caps and a Congress unwilling to embrace the department’s belt-tightening reforms, Deputy Defense Secretary Bob Work believed there was an opening to make the case for a new round of base closures. “The first place we should look at is our basing infrastructure. The department spends about $55 billion annually to maintain, sustain, and protect its bases,” Work said during the Center for Strategic and International Studies Fifth Annual Global Security Forum. And with recent and planned cuts to the military’s force structure, DOD’s excess capacity, estimated at 24 percent, is only rising, he said …

Air Force Offers Compromise over A-10 Fleet Retirement

  • November 12, 2014
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Air Force leaders have broached the possibility of retiring only 72 A-10 close air support aircraft during fiscal 2015 in response to Congress’ rejection of its proposal to retire its entire fleet of Warthogs. During briefings on Capitol Hill, Air Force officials said they urgently need this limited retirement so they can shift maintenance crews from A-10 units to the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter. Unless the service is allowed to retire three active-duty squadrons, it may not be able to meet the planned Aug. 1, 2016, operational date for the F-35A …

McCain Looks to Reverse Sequestration

  • November 12, 2014
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The incoming chairman of the Senate Armed Service Committee said Wednesday that eliminating the 2011 Budget Control Act spending caps on the Pentagon will be one of his top priorities. “As far as the military is concerned, the blow is too big … and with the world changing as it is, it’s really too biting,” John McCain (R-Ariz.), told reporters. McCain indicated he would hold hearings on the impact of the stringent spending caps. “We’ll be hearing from our services chiefs about how really biting this is …

Authorization Bill Remains on Path to Informal Conference

  • November 12, 2014
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With staff from the House and Senate Armed Services committees having reconciled many of the differences between competing versions of the fiscal 2015 defense authorization bill, the committees’ leadership this week will begin to hash out the higher profile issues that have not yet been settled. The committees’ chairmen, Rep. Buck McKeon (R-Calif.) and Sen. Carl Levin (D-Mich.), and ranking members, Rep. Adam Smith (D-Wash.) and Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.), will focus on more contentious issues affecting the future of the A-10 Warthog aircraft, the Army National Guard helicopter fleet and a Navy initiative to modernize its cruiser fleet. The panels’ best bet for clearing the annual defense policy bill during the lame duck session starting today almost certainly will be to repeat last year’s maneuver …

Reversing Sequestration Missing from Republican Agenda

  • November 11, 2014
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The Republican landslide last week that allowed the party to seize control of the Senate and increase its majority in the House for the most part did not emphasize the tenets of the tea party and its philosophy of slashing government programs, with many of the winners abiding by traditional Republican values such as a strong military. “The isolationist wing of the GOP that favored deficit reduction over a strong defense seems to be in retreat,” Loren Thompson, chief operating officer of the Lexington Institute, told Defense News. Despite a shift that would seem to favor defense hawks, however, Republican leaders in both chambers last week did not mention relaxing the Budget Control Act spending caps on defense as one of their priorities for the 114th Congress …

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