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Posts Tagged ‘deficit reduction’

Air Force Introduces Programs to Increase End Strength

  • May 20, 2015
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The Air Force is reversing course and introducing several force management programs to increase its active-duty end strength following several years of personnel reductions. The course correction was prompted by a host of new missions, including the air campaign against the Islamic State and the effort to support NATO allies anxious over Russian aggression in Ukraine. The size of the Air Force began to shrink in fiscal 2014, when its end strength stood at 330,700 airmen. Now it has 312,980 service members, reported Air Force Times. The service’s FY 2016 budget calls for its end strength to rise 1.3 percent to 317,000 …

Senate Bill Calls for Privatization Pilot for Commissaries

  • May 19, 2015
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At least five military commissaries would be privatized under a two-year pilot program, according to the version of the fiscal 2016 defense authorization bill passed by the Senate Armed Services Committee Thursday. In addition to the pilot program, the bill calls for the Governmental Accountability Office to assess the potential costs and benefits of privatizing the entire network of military grocery stores, reported Stars and Stripes. The committee has not yet released the bill text or committee report. Veterans of Foreign Wars issued a statement opposing the Senate plan because it would cut into the discounts enjoyed by military families and veterans …

Senate’s ‘Reform’ Authorization Bill Seeks to Downsize Pentagon

  • May 17, 2015
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The fiscal 2016 defense authorization bill passed Thursday by the Senate Armed Services Committee would launch a reorganization of the Defense Department in an attempt to eliminate unnecessary overhead and direct limited funding to operations and readiness. The annual policy bill would reduce funding for headquarters and administrative functions for military services, defense agencies, combatant commands, the office of the secretary of Defense and the Joint Chiefs of Staff by 7.5 percent for four years, totaling 30 percent by the fourth year. The cuts would yield $1.7 billion in savings in FY 2016 and recurring savings of $6.8 billion per year by the fourth year …

Amendment Offers Possible Reprieve for Ft. Bragg Airlift Wing

  • May 14, 2015
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Fort Bragg’s 440th Airlift Wing, which is slated to be deactivated by the end of the fiscal year, would receive at least a short-term reprieve under an amendment added by the Senate Armed Services Committee this week to its draft fiscal 2016 defense authorization bill. The amendment offered by North Carolina Sen. Thom Tillis (R) would require the 18th Airborne Corps, 82nd Airborne Division and U.S. Army Special Operations Command to certify that the loss of the 440th — an Air Force Reserve unit based at Fort Bragg’s Pope Field — would not harm training at Bragg before the airlift wing could be deactivated. Army commanders would have 90 days after the legislation is enacted to make a decision …

OMB Calls for Agencies to Cut Budgets by 5 Percent in FY’17

  • May 6, 2015
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The Office of Management and Budget has told all federal agencies, including the Defense Department, that their upcoming budgets should reflect a 5 percent reduction below the funding level programmed for fiscal 2017 in the current budget request submitted to Congress last February. “[The guidance] asks agencies to show how they would cut 5 percent below the FY 2017 levels shown in the FY 2016 budget, as well as how they would prioritize funding add-backs to those levels,” an OMB spokeswoman told CQ Roll Call. “This guidance represents the starting point in the budget process …

Marketing Blitz to Promote MacDill AFB

  • May 4, 2015
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The Tampa Bay Defense Alliance is rolling out a campaign to promote MacDill Air Force Base at a time when DOD is facing budget constraints and pursues a new round of base closures. The initiative is intended to raise awareness of the installation among area residents and businesses, as well as in Washington. A central theme of the effort is showcasing the robust partnership between the community and MacDill, reported the Tampa Tribune. The initiative is centered on the “My MacDill” website, which provides residents and local organizations an opportunity to post photos, videos and personal memories about the base and its contributions to the Tampa region and the nation …

Resolution to Budget Dispute Not Coming Soon, Republicans Indicate

  • May 3, 2015
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In the face of calls from the White House for bipartisan talks to lift the statutory spending caps, senior Republicans say any negotiations will need to wait until the fiscal 2016 appropriations process plays itself out. After the White House issued veto threats on two appropriations bills considered by the House last week — including the military construction-veterans affairs spending measure — the Obama administration and congressional Republicans appear to be on a collision course. The statements from the Office of Management and Budget indicated that President Obama would not sign any spending bills that follow congressional Republicans’ plan to stick to the Budget Control Act levels while providing relief only to the Pentagon by stashing tens of billions of additional dollars in its war account …

Sierra Vista Continues to Struggle following Cutbacks at Ft. Huachuca

  • May 3, 2015
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The impact of the loss of thousands of military and civilian personnel at Fort Huachuca in southeastern Arizona over the past several years continues to hobble the city of Sierra Vista, according to a presentation at the annual Sierra Vista Economic Outlook luncheon. Including the employment of defense contractors, the area lost about 4,000 jobs over the last five years stemming from cutbacks at the installation. “In recent years, Fort Huachuca has been the primary reason for the county-wide economic downturn, and that’s due to cuts in defense and war-related spending,” said Robert Carreira, director of the Center for Economic Research at Cochise College …

BRAC Needed Now, Bipartisan Coalition of Defense Experts Tells Congress

  • April 30, 2015
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Citing rising threats around the globe and a military force declining in size and capability, a bipartisan coalition of 38 defense experts is urging congressional leaders to close unneeded bases, right-size the civilian workforce and modernize military pay and benefits. “Too much of the defense budget is currently consumed by institutional inefficiencies, some of which are mandated by law,” the experts wrote in an open letter to the defense committees and Defense Secretary Ashton Carter. “As the U.S. military shrinks, it must reduce its inventory of physical infrastructure. Smaller budgets can no longer support paying for the operation of unnecessary facilities,” the letter states …

Obama Defers Judgement on Key Military Compensation Reforms

  • April 30, 2015
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President Obama is withholding judgement on the most controversial recommendations of an independent panel to update military pay and benefits, he told Congress Thursday. One of the most significant reforms urged by the Military Compensation and Retirement Modernization Commission would transform the existing pension plan that only pays benefit to personnel serving at least 20 years to a hybrid system that would allow troops serving at least two years to invest in a 401(k)-type plan. Interestingly, the House Armed Services Committee early Thursday morning approved language adopting the commission’s recommendation as part of its fiscal 2016 defense authorization bill …

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