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Posts Tagged ‘defense authorization bill’

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 …

Wittman Places High Bar for New BRAC Round

  • February 11, 2015
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The Defense Department needs to make a stronger case to convince Rep. Rob Wittman (R-Va.) that the House Armed Services’ Readiness Subcommittee should approve its request to hold a new round of base closures. Wittman, who chairs the readiness panel, wants answers from DOD on two different questions before he would consider authorizing another BRAC, reported the Daily Press. One is finding out where the department is spending too much money. He does not believe that spending cuts should be applied equally across the services. The other answer Wittman is looking for is an analysis of the potential savings from a new round over the next five years …

New York Congresswoman Named Readiness Panel Vice Chair

  • February 8, 2015
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Rep. Elise Stefanik, a freshman Republican from Upstate New York, was named vice chair of the House Armed Services’ Readiness Subcommittee last week, as part of an effort by Committee Chairman Mac Thornberry (R-Texas) to get committee members more deeply involved in national security issues during the 114th Congress. Stefanik, the youngest woman ever elected to Congress, has one major installation in her district, Fort Drum. “From this position, I will be able to work to undo the damaging effects that the sequester is having on our military readiness as well as bring a strong voice to protect and strengthen the interests of Fort Drum. I look forward to working closely with Subcommittee Chairman Rob Wittman on these important issues …

New BRAC Round Would Limit Military Force Structure, Forbes Says

  • February 3, 2015
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Rep. Randy Forbes (R-Va.), chairman of the House Armed Services’ Seapower and Projection Forces Subcommittee, said he opposes a new BRAC because conducting a round of base closures would freeze the military’s force structure at a level he believes is too low. “If you believe, as I believe, that these force structures are not right, that we are going to have to build these force structures up greater, then you’d better fight like the dickens to make sure you don’t have a BRAC …

Congress Will Come around on BRAC, Pentagon Official Says

  • February 2, 2015
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Congress ultimately will approve DOD’s request to hold a new BRAC round, Pentagon Comptroller Mike McCord said Monday, but he acknowledged it could take more time. During a briefing on Monday on the department’s fiscal 2016 budget proposal — which repeats last year’s request to hold a base closure round in 2017 — McCord recalled the two decades he spent as a staff member for the Senate Armed Services Committee.“I spent five years working with Sen. [John] McCain’s staff, at the time to get authority for what turned into the 2005 BRAC round,” he said. “We started back in 1997. So it doesn’t necessarily happen overnight. And in this case, it certainly has not …

Change in Housing Allowance Applies to Families Living On-, Off-Base

  • January 27, 2015
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Military families living in on-base privatized housing as well as those living off base will be affected by Congress’ move to slow the growth in the basic allowance for housing (BAH) so it covers only 99 percent of rental costs. The change, enacted as part of the fiscal 2015 defense authorization bill, means that families moving into privatized housing will pay rent that is one percent higher than their BAH. “The basic premise is that whatever is happening to everybody in town, whatever added burden they’re bearing whether it’s one percent [of average rental costs] out of pocket or absent renter’s insurance, then people on base will bear the same burden …

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