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Posts Tagged ‘defense authorization bill’

No Avoiding BRAC under Budget Constraints, Graham Says

  • March 11, 2015
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A new round of base closures will be needed if lawmakers keep the statutory caps on defense spending in place,” Sen. Lindsey Graham said at a hearing of the Senate Defense Appropriations Subcommittee on Wednesday. “At the end of the day, as much as we all love our bases, we’re going to have to address this problem,” Graham said, reported CQ. “And if we want to insist upon sequestration,” he said, “then we’d better be willing to go back home and tell people, ‘You can’t get there from here and every base that’s open today is not going to survive …

McCain Pledges to Shield A-10s from Air Force’s Retirement Plans

  • March 9, 2015
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Sen. John McCain on Friday vowed to reverse the Air Force’s recent decision to place nine A-10 close air support aircraft based at Davis-Monthan AFB in Tucson into backup status. Officials last year proposed retiring the entire fleet of nearly 300 A-10s to save about $4 billion. Lawmakers rejected that plan in the fiscal 2015 defense authorization bill but included language permitting the Air Force to place up to 36 A-10s this fiscal year into backup status, reported the Arizona Daily Star. “That was a compromise that was made last year in response to the Air Force’s misguided attempt to retire all the A-10s …

Conger Looks to Congress for Input on BRAC Process

  • March 3, 2015
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The Pentagon’s installations chief tackled head-on the latest criticism from lawmakers toward the administration’s request for a new BRAC round at Tuesday’s House Armed Services’ Readiness Subcommittee hearing. John Conger, acting assistant secretary of defense for energy, installations and environment, acknowledged that even though defense officials have pledged to conduct a new BRAC with a different emphasis than the last one, unless the department updates the legislation authorizing a new round, lawmakers may continue to be wary. “Let me be clear,” Conger said. “We’re open to a discussion on this point. I would like to solicit your suggestions as to specific changes in the BRAC legislation that would make it more acceptable …

Reed Joins Carter in Supporting BRAC Request

  • March 3, 2015
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Jack Reed, ranking member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, indicated at a hearing Tuesday that he may support another round of base closures. “I do believe that we need to consider efforts to allow the Defense Department to shed what may be as much as 25 percent in excess infrastructure it does not necessarily need, and use these resources for the best and higher priorities,” Reed said in his opening statement. The hearing on President Obama’s fiscal 2016 budget request featured Ashton Carter’s first opportunity to testify on Capitol Hill as defense secretary …

Amid Air Force Effort to Inactivate Airlift Wing, Others Question the Move

  • February 23, 2015
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The Air Force is moving forward with its plan to inactivate Fort Bragg’s 440th Airlift Wing even before it issues a congressionally mandated report justifying the action. Over the weekend, officials opened a clearinghouse for traditional reservists in the 440th — an Air Force Reserve unit based at Fort Bragg’s Pope Field — to help them find other positions before the unit’s planned inactivation at the end of September, reported the Fayetteville Observer. Lawmakers added the justification report to the fiscal 2015 defense authorization bill as a prerequisite before the Air Force could shut down the 440th, a unit made up of 1,200 airmen …

No BRAC in Near Future, Thornberry Says

  • February 22, 2015
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Rep. Mac Thornberry (R-Texas) ruled out any chance there would be a new round of base closures in the next couple of years during comments he made last week to the Nortex Regional Planning Commission in north central Texas. The remark built on earlier comments by the new chairman of the House Armed Services Committee revealing a strong reluctance to consider authorizing a BRAC round. In January, Thornberry said the nation needed to better define the future roles and missions of its military before shuttering military bases …

Wittman Argues against Administration’s BRAC Request

  • February 20, 2015
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At last week’s hearing of the House Armed Services Committee with defense experts on where savings could be found in the defense budget, Rep. Rob Wittman (R-Va.), chairman of the committee’s readiness panel, focused on the witnesses’ support for a new round of base closures as one avenue for cutting costs. At the outset of the hearing, Bensahel listed a new BRAC round as one of three priorities for reforming DOD spending. “The Army and the Air Force have each estimated that they have around 20 percent excess capacity. It is unconscionable to require these services to continue spending money on facilities that they do not need while the budget caps require them to cut end strength, training, and readiness, which puts American troops at risk …

Ft. Bragg Airlift Wing Scales Down Activity with End of Reprieve in Sight

  • February 18, 2015
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The reprieve awarded Fort Bragg’s 440th Airlift Wing in the fiscal 2015 defense authorization bill could end in a matter of months, with an Air Force report justifying its proposal last year to relocate the unit’s 12 C-130H Hercules cargo aircraft and inactivate the wing expected shortly. A provision in the annual policy bill sponsored by then-Sen. Kay Hagan (D-N.C.) forced the Air Force to temporarily postpone its planned deactivation of the 440th, an Air Force Reserve unit based at Fort Bragg’s Pope Field. The unit is continuing to fulfill its requirements to support airborne and special operations units at Fort Bragg at the same time it is losing dozens of airmen and officials are developing plans to inactivate the 440th …

Army Housing Partners Intent on Minimizing Impact of Benefits Cut

  • February 16, 2015
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Family housing developers at Army installations are trying to absorb the one percent reduction in basic allowance for housing imposed starting this fiscal year so that military families won’t need to make up the difference out-of-pocket. Slowing the growth in the BAH so it covers only 99 percent of rental costs was one of the few cost-saving reforms Congress included in the fiscal 2015 defense authorization bill. To absorb the extra cost, developers are looking for ways to operate more efficiently, said Ivan Bolden, chief of the privatization and partnerships division of the Army’s office of the assistant chief of staff for installation management …

The Insanity Defense (Department) Will Remain Hard Pressed to Win Congress’ Approval for BRAC

  • February 12, 2015
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The Pentagon shouldn’t be surprised that Congress rejected its requests the past three years to realign and close additional bases and likely will ignore its request again this year. Until defense officials revise the BRAC law to address lawmakers’ concerns about the 2005 round’s ballooning implementation cost and less-than-promised annual savings, there is no reason to believe Congress will suddenly embrace a new round of base closures, Lucian Niemeyer, a former staff member of the Senate Armed Service Committee, says in a commentary published in Real Clear Defense. “Each year, Congress has asked the Pentagon to suggest improvements to the BRAC law and, each year, there have been none. It would be insane for Congress to say ‘yes’ to the same process and expect a different result …

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