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Posts Tagged ‘deficit reduction’

Avoiding a Shutdown Will Be Highest Priority following Recess, McConnell Says

  • September 2, 2015
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Lawmakers’ primary challenge when they return to Capitol Hill next week will be clearing a measure to keep the federal government open when the new fiscal year starts Oct. 1, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) told WYMT in Hazard, Ky., on Monday. McConnell blamed Senate Democrats for blocking action on fiscal 2016 spending bills because they offered budget relief to the Pentagon but not to domestic agencies, reported the Hill. “They prevented us from doing any of the bills that appropriate money for the government, thereby forcing a negotiation when we go back in after Labor Day, which I’ll be engaged in with the administration and others to try to sort out how much we’re going to spend and where we’re going to spend it,” McConnell told the television station …

Congress Needs to Reconsider BRAC Stance, O’Hanlon Argues

  • September 2, 2015
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Lawmakers have resisted many of the cost-saving reforms proposed by the Pentagon in recent years to cope with tight fiscal constraints, including its request to hold one or more rounds of base closures. With the economy improved, though, Congress should rethink its opposition to the Obama administration’s request to hold a BRAC round in 2017, Michael O’Hanlon, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, argues in a commentary published by the National Interest. After DOD conducted five rounds of closures through 2005 — saving up to $12 billion annually — Congress has soured on the process, even as DOD estimates it has at least 20 percent more infrastructure than needed for a force structure reduced by 40 percent since the Cold War …

OEA Grants to Help Virginia, Kentucky Bolster Defense Economies

  • August 25, 2015
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The commonwealths of Virginia and Kentucky plan to use new grants from DOD’s Office of Economic Adjustment (OEA) to support companies and workers affected by defense cutbacks and boost defense-related economic development. Virginia’s $5.4 million community planning grant will be used to assist communities, businesses and employees in defense-related areas respond to reductions in DOD spending; expand entrepreneurship opportunities for defense-related employees and businesses; and support displaced defense contractors seek other employment opportunities, according to a press release from Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D). “Virginia has taken the lead in identifying businesses potentially impacted by the recent defense reductions and worked with state, community and business leaders to develop meaningful programs to address the issues,” McAuliffe said. “With these funds, Virginia will provide direct support to companies as they transition to alternative markets …

Odierno Remains Anxious over Army’s Declining End Strength

  • August 14, 2015
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Army Chief of Staff Gen. Ray Odierno on Wednesday warned that the service risks sacrificing its long-term viability if stringent spending caps remain in place. “I believe this nation is at an important inflection point, specifically regarding national security,” Odierno said during his last Pentagon press briefing as he prepares to retire from the Army after almost 40 years of service. “Our security environment remains uncertain and dynamic,” he said, “with increasing requirements on our military while we continue to have decreasing resources in our military. This is of great concern to me …

Pentagon Launches New Review to Streamline Management Structure

  • August 11, 2015
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Defense officials will be developing a plan to trim the supervisory workforce within the office of the secretary of defense and associated defense agencies and field activities, following a recent directive from Deputy Defense Secretary Robert Work. The initiative, which is specifically aimed at “rationalizing and delayering” the management structure at DOD headquarters, represents the department’s latest reform effort to slash overhead spending. The DCMO will form a team of subject matter experts to work with affected organizations “to conduct a review of supervisory ratios and spans of control; create standardized frameworks; and develop implementation plans for the to-be rationalized organization in compliance with staff reduction requirements …

More Gains Remain from Reducing Military’s Overseas Presence, Professor Argues

  • July 28, 2015
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The Defense Department has made some progress closing bases overseas, especially in Europe, but DOD still could gain considerable benefits from additional closures of foreign bases, according to an op-ed published Monday in the New York Times. “The Pentagon and Congress should pair a new round of domestic base closings with base closings abroad,” writes David Vine, an associate professor of anthropology at American University and the author of the forthcoming book “Base Nation: How U.S. Military Bases Abroad Harm America and the World.” Vine argues that DOD’s overseas bases waste taxpayer money and undermine national security …

Force Reductions to Leave Army at ‘Razor’s Edge,’ Odierno Says

  • July 26, 2015
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The Army’s plan to shrink its active-duty end strength to 450,000 soldiers over the next three years will force the nation to assume a greater level of risk as the number of hotspots across the globe rises, Army Chief of Staff Gen. Ray Odierno said Thursday. “With the increased instability around the world, 490,000 is the right number, but we can’t do it,” Odierno said during a visit to Fort Carson. “We don’t have the budget to do it.” The decision to eliminate 40,000 troops was prompted by the discretionary spending caps imposed under the 2011 Budget Control Act. Odierno, who is retiring in August, is hoping lawmakers strike a multi-year deal to raise the spending caps …

Army Nominee Defends Restructuring Plan

  • July 23, 2015
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The restructuring the Army announced earlier this month will leave a force that is still large enough to meet its current missions, but at a “high level” of risk, Gen. Mark Milley told the Senate Armed Services Committee Tuesday at a hearing on his nomination to be the next Army chief of staff. “I think from a total Army perspective, we have adequate size, but that is with significant risk,” Milley said. “That risk is incurred in terms of time to get to the fight, the time to mobilize [National Guard] units, time to get them trained and certified, and then it’s also significant risk in potential casualties,” he told the panel. Milley, currently the commander of Army Forces Command, also responded to lawmakers from states slated to absorb a portion of the 40,000-soldier reduction that will be carried out by the end of fiscal 2018 …

Anchorage’s Civilian Economy Could Use Several Thousand Veterans

  • July 23, 2015
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While the Army’s plan to cut 2,600 soldiers from Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson will have some negative effects on Anchorage’s economy, transitioning personnel who elect to stay in the area will boost the local labor pool and have an opportunity to significantly benefit the region, according to a commentary published in the Alaska Dispatch News. Anchorage employers from a range of sectors have said they have job openings that are difficult to fill because of a lack of qualified candidates, write Bill Popp, president and CEO of the Anchorage Economic Development Corp., and Julie Saupe, president and CEO of Visit Anchorage. The city has only 8,500 unemployed workers. “The troops and their families who are facing the upcoming military drawdown are professional, skilled workers, and we have the jobs for them right here in Anchorage and Alaska. The Army’s loss is Alaska’s gain …

Democrats Step up Pressure to Negotiate Higher Spending Caps

  • July 22, 2015
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President Obama on Tuesday reiterated his call for Republicans to negotiate higher spending levels for domestic agencies as well as the Pentagon if he is to sign any fiscal 2016 appropriations bills. “I’m calling on Republican leaders in Congress to come to the table with Democrats, sit down, negotiate a budget that protects our national security and our economic security,” Obama said at a VFW convention in Pittsburgh. “I’ve said I will veto any budget that locks in the sequester. It is not good for our country,” he said …

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