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Posts Tagged ‘defense budget’

Durbin Not Optimistic over Prospect of Avoiding CR to Start FY’15

  • July 16, 2014
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Sen. Richard Durbin (D-Ill.) on Wednesday said he hoped the fiscal 2015 defense spending bill could go to the Senate floor and gain approval according to regular order, but he wasn’t particularly confident. Asked if the process of taking up spending bills one at a time was dead, he said, “I hope not, but it looks really tough,” reported CQ. “I’d like to bring it to the floor, I really would. I know it’s a long shot because we had a bad experience with three earlier bills, but I would really like to do that …

Senate Panel Votes to Preserve A-10 Fleet

  • July 15, 2014
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The Senate Defense Appropriations Subcommittee on Tuesday approved a $490 billion fiscal 2015 defense spending bill that allocates $338 million in funding to keep the A-10 close air support aircraft flying and reject the Air Force’s proposal to retire its Warthog fleet. The Air Force has said eliminating the A-10 would save $4.2 billion over the next five years, but Tuesday’s vote marks the latest indication that Congress will keep the aircraft flying next year. The House Appropriations Committee had embraced the retirement plan, but House lawmakers last month overwhelmingly voted to reverse that decision …

Wittman Tries to Raise the Profile of ‘Readiness’

  • July 15, 2014
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The budget accounts that fund military readiness, operation and maintenance, typically suffer disproportionate cuts when the defense budget needs to be trimmed in the near term because other accounts often are tied up in long-term spending commitments. But while operation accounts are seen as a convenient place to take budget cuts, Virginia Rep. Rob Wittman (R), chairman of the House Armed Services’ Readiness Subcommittee, would like to change that perception, especially as the Pentagon needs to cope with steeper cuts in the coming years …

Forbes Blasts Navy Plan to Deactivate Cruisers

  • July 13, 2014
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Rep. Randy Forbes (R-Va.), chairman of the House Armed Services’ Seapower and Projection Forces Subcommittee, slammed the Navy’s plan to save $4.7 billion by taking 11 guided missile cruisers out of service for modernization. Forbes faulted the proposal during a hearing Thursday, saying there is no guarantee the ships would return to service since the money needed to update the cruisers may not be available. “I don’t think this is a phased modernization plan,” Forbes said, reported the Virginian-Pilot. “I think this is a phased euthanization plan, because when those ships go into dry dock, we have no assurance they’re coming back …

Replacing Uniformed Personnel with Civilians Would Save Billions, CBO Says

  • July 10, 2014
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The Pentagon could save $19 billion from fiscal 2014-2023 by replacing 70,000 service members with civilian employees, according to a recent presentation by a Congressional Budget Office analyst. The 70,000 military personnel could be replaced with only 47,000 civilian workers partially because civilians have fewer ancillary responsibilities, reported Army Times. Other advantages to using civilians include savings from lower costs for pay and benefits, less frequent transfers and a reduced need for job-specific training …

Agencies Likely to Operate under CR at Start of FY’15

  • July 9, 2014
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It appears increasingly likely that the entire federal government will be forced to operate under a continuing resolution at the Oct. 1 start of the new fiscal year. With momentum on a three-bill “minibus” already stalled in the Senate and President Obama’s $3.7 billion emergency funding request to deal with child migrants competing for the short amount of time left on Capitol Hill before lawmakers return home to campaign ahead of the November elections, it’s not clear how any individual spending measures could be cleared by Congress before fiscal 2015 begins, reports CQ …

Army Considers New Strategy for Preserving Industrial Base

  • July 8, 2014
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Amid a climate of declining budgets for weapons spending, officials at Army Materiel Command (AMC) are conducting a comprehensive assessment of the service’s industrial base to assure its long-term viability. Last week, AMC Deputy Commander Lt. Gen. Patricia McQuistion and a team of logistics experts visited Watervliet Arsenal, N.Y., as part of a year-long initiative to visit the nation’s depots and arsenals to learn about the challenges facing them and craft a new strategy to take advantage of their unique capabilities …

Window for Senate to Move Spending Bills is Running Out

  • July 7, 2014
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The Senate has four weeks before Congress’ August recess to regain momentum on the fiscal 2015 appropriations process and avoid the need to pass a continuing resolution to keep the government running past Sept. 30. No matter what, lawmakers will need to approve a stopgap funding bill to keep the doors open for most federal agencies at the start of the new fiscal year. But if Senate Republicans and Democrats can reach agreement on a small handful of next year’s appropriations bills, some agencies could get a full-year funding bill prior to Oct. 1 …

Budget Constraints Should Force DOD to Focus on Primary Foes, CSIS Concludes

  • July 6, 2014
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With the Pentagon’s budget slated to drop 21 percent from 2012 to 2021, the military’s priority should be to modernize its existing forces and to ensure it maintains its technological superiority in preparation for a conflict with Russia or China, according to a new study from the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS). Preparing for a “great power conflict” would mean maintaining its nuclear triad of long-range bombers, submarines and intercontinental ballistic missiles. Such an approach also would call for an emphasis on special operations forces and heavy ground units, along with a focus on surveillance in air and space …

Senate Appropriations to Mark up Defense Bill Shortly

  • June 29, 2014
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The Senate Appropriations Committee will mark up the fiscal 2015 defense spending bill on July 17, Chairwoman Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.) said last week. Mikulski said she delayed scheduling the markup until Sen. Thad Cochran (R-Miss.), the defense panel’s ranking member, could return to Capitol Hill following his primary runoff, reported CQ. Cochran, who is line to replace Mikulski as committee chair if the Republicans gain control of the Senate in the midterm elections, defeated a tea party challenger last Tuesday in a very heated race. Postponing the markup also provides the committee time to consider the Pentagon’s request for the overseas contingency operations account, which it released Thursday.

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