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Posts Tagged ‘deficit reduction’

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 …

Member-Led Efforts to Solve Sequestration Yield Little in Results

  • July 21, 2015
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Lawmakers regularly tout their participation in behind-the-scenes talks to produce a bipartisan plan to lift the statutory spending caps on defense and domestic spending, but the reality is very little progress has been made, reports CQ. A group led by Senate Armed Services Chair John McCain (R-Ariz.), for example, has been meeting since earlier this year to resolve what McCain said was his number one priority when he took the panel’s gavel in January. Beyond talking, it’s not clear if the group has made any headway. “It would be a good idea,” McCain said of completing a plan. “But first you’ve got to agree on what to put out there. That’s why these endless discussions go on …

Army Cuts Could Place Housing Bonds at Risk, Ratings Agency Says

  • July 19, 2015
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The Army’s latest round of restructuring, which is designed to shrink the service’s end strength from 490,000 to 450,000 soldiers by the end of fiscal 2018, could pose a long-term risk for military housing bonds, Fitch Ratings said last week. The 8 percent reduction in Army personnel will not present a short-term risk, however, as only five installations affected by the changes secure Fitch-rated bonds, according to a press release. Four of the five posts are slated to lose about 5 to 6 percent of their military personnel. The fifth is set to experience a slight gain in population …

Anchorage Officials Temper Forecast of Army Cuts’ Impact

  • July 17, 2015
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Following last week’s announcement that Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson would lose 2,631 soldiers — 59 percent of the Army’s population — over the next two years, local economists feared the realignment would deliver a serious blow to the region’s economy. “It’s going to take a big chunk out of the Anchorage economy,” Scott Goldsmith, professor emeritus of economics at the University of Alaska Anchorage Institute of Social and Economic Research, told the Alaska Dispatch News. The area could lose 6,000 jobs — including direct and indirect — and likely send the economy into a recession, Goldsmith predicted …

Army Cutbacks Based on Comprehensive Analysis, McHugh Says

  • July 16, 2015
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The stationing decisions the Army announced last week needed to shrink the service’s active-duty end strength by 40,000 soldiers were based on months of analysis covering an array of factors including the time it takes to deploy soldiers and the strategic location of installations, Secretary John McHugh said Wednesday. “We came out with a ranking, and the decisions that we made were driven in very large measure by those rankings,” McHugh told Syracuse.com. “So it was not just an exercise in whimsy. It was a very precise process, as it should be …

It’s Time to ‘Fortify Our Bases,’ New Jersey Officials Say

  • July 16, 2015
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With the looming threat of a new BRAC round or the loss of critical missions due to belt-tightening at the Pentagon, New Jersey needs to take steps now to strengthen its installations, according to an op-ed by Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno (R) and Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen (R) that appeared in the Record on Wednesday. “The time has come to face the threat of BRAC and take earnest steps to avoid closure or mission loss,” the two said. “BRAC and mission realignments short of a full BRAC are a threat, and New Jersey must position itself in the best possible manner against it.” Last week, the New Jersey Military Installation Growth and Development Task Force released a series of recommendations designed to shield the state’s four installations — Picatinny Arsenal, Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, Naval Weapons Station Earle and the 177th Fighter Wing in Atlantic City — from downsizing …

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