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Posts Tagged ‘deficit reduction’

Defense Appropriations Panel Sticking to Budget Cap, Chairman Tells Navy Officials

  • February 26, 2015
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House Defense Appropriations Subcommittee Chairman Rodney Frelinghuysen pressed Navy Secretary Ray Mabus at a hearing Thursday to reveal what priorities would be cut from the service’s fiscal 2016 budget request if it is forced to adhere to the Budget Control Act spending cap. “We’d like, actually, a list of what you would have to do under [a] sequestration scenario,” Frelinghuysen told Mabus during his panel’s first budget hearing of the year. Mabus maintained that the administration’s proposal was the “minimum budget” for the Navy and Marine Corps to meet the defense strategy, but Frelinghuysen insisted the subcommittee needs to prepare for the likelihood that Congress does not strike a deal lifting the defense spending cap …

McCain Hones Strategy to Defeat Budget Caps

  • February 26, 2015
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Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, on Wednesday vowed to spearhead an effort to provide the Defense Department relief from the statutory spending caps. “I will not vote for a budget in the United States Senate that has sequestration in it. I can’t do that to the men and women who are serving,” McCain said at a New America Foundation conference, reported the Hill. “Next week, [Defense Secretary] Ash Carter is going to come over with a budget and then we’re going to have one hell of a fight over sequestration …

Anxiety over Cost-Cutting Reforms Prevalent, Enlisted Leaders Testify

  • February 26, 2015
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Questions about possible changes to compensation, benefits and support services are hurting the morale of service members and their families, the military services’ top enlisted leaders told lawmakers on Wednesday. Soldiers “see the future. They see it on the news every day, and they see uncertainty and it bothers them,” Sgt. Maj. of the Army Daniel Dailey told the House Military Construction and Veterans Affairs Appropriations Subcommittee. “What I really need is them focused on the mission and saving their fellow soldiers’ lives,” Dailey said. The hearing comes as stringent budget caps are forcing DOD to consider cost-cutting reforms to benefits, including housing allowances and commissary discounts, as well as programs supporting military families …

Budget Hearing to Focus on DOD’s Declining Investment in Facilities

  • February 26, 2015
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The House Armed Services’ Readiness Subcommittee next week will hold a hearing to assess the long-term impact of the steep cuts in spending on facilities spurred by the Budget Control Act. “The budget reductions, compounded by the deep cut of sequestration, have placed a significant strain on installation investment accounts and forced the acceptance of increased risk within aging infrastructure,” according to a statement from the committee …

Army Bracing for Further Cuts under Budget Caps, McHugh Says

  • February 26, 2015
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If the statutory spending caps are fully imposed in fiscal 2016, all Army personnel and activities will be affected, Army Secretary John McHugh told reporters Wednesday. “There will virtually be no corner of the Army that will be untouched,” he said. “Obviously, the primary concern that we discuss in these very uncertain times are the readiness ratings for soldiers and whatever tomorrow’s missions might be.” McHugh ranked the budget as one of his top three priorities, along with any activity involving deployed forces, and combating sexual assault and sexual harassment …

Leaders Highlight Alaska’s Strategic Advantages at Army Listening Sessions

  • February 26, 2015
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Almost 1,000 residents showed up at listening sessions in Anchorage and Fairbanks this week to tell the Army why Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson and Fort Wainwright should be spared cuts as the service determines how to realign its forces to eliminate up to 70,000 active-duty soldiers by fiscal 2020. At both public meetings, local leaders emphasized the state’s strategic location, vast training space, community support for the military and the quality of local schools. Alaska has more veterans per capita than any other state because it’s a great place to live, said Gov. Bill Walker (I). When considering Alaska’s strategic importance, one needs to look at Alaska from the top down, as on a globe, not a two-dimensional map, Walker said …

Wiregrass Region Attends Listening Session to Support ‘Home of Army Aviation’

  • February 24, 2015
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An overflow crowd of more than 1,600 residents turned out Monday to support Fort Rucker for an Army listening session held to gather input as the Army figures out how to shrink its active-duty end strength from 490,000 to 420,000 by fiscal 2020. Many attendees wore shirts with pictures of helicopters and the words “Fort Rucker: the heartbeat of the Wiregrass.” The Army is contemplating cutting a maximum of 2,500 soldiers and civilian employees from the southeastern Alabama post, losses that would affect the surrounding region, including Enterprise, Daleville, Ozark and Dothan. “When you look at the impact of 3,000 direct jobs and 15,000 indirectly throughout the Wiregrass, that is devastating,” Enterprise Mayor Kenneth Boswell …

House, Senate Face Competing Forces in Crafting FY’16 Budget Resolution

  • February 23, 2015
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The House and Senate Budget committees are getting ready to draft fiscal 2016 budget resolutions, but with Republicans divided over whether — and how — to break the statutory spending caps, it’s too early to predict how they will come up with spending levels that satisfy both defense and fiscal hawks. The House committee is more likely to stick with the existing Budget Control Act caps, but the resulting resolution could yield discretionary spending levels perceived by lawmakers from both parties as too low for defense and non-defense programs. That outcome could lead to a budget deal later this year similar to the one struck by Rep. Paul Ryan and Sen. Patty Murray in December 2013 that offered the Pentagon limited relief above the FY 2014 and 2015 caps, reported CQ …

Amid Air Force Effort to Inactivate Airlift Wing, Others Question the Move

  • February 23, 2015
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The Air Force is moving forward with its plan to inactivate Fort Bragg’s 440th Airlift Wing even before it issues a congressionally mandated report justifying the action. Over the weekend, officials opened a clearinghouse for traditional reservists in the 440th — an Air Force Reserve unit based at Fort Bragg’s Pope Field — to help them find other positions before the unit’s planned inactivation at the end of September, reported the Fayetteville Observer. Lawmakers added the justification report to the fiscal 2015 defense authorization bill as a prerequisite before the Air Force could shut down the 440th, a unit made up of 1,200 airmen …

Finding Consensus on Best Approach to Reforming Commissary Benefit Proves Elusive

  • February 22, 2015
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Neither the Pentagon’s plan for slashing the federal subsidy for military grocery stores nor a congressional commission’s recommendations for gaining efficiencies in the commissary system will prove successful, according to two recent analyses. Last month, the Military Compensation and Retirement Modernization Commission called for consolidating DOD’s three exchange services with the Defense Commissary Agency as a way to maintain the benefits of all base stores. Consolidating those four organizations into a new Defense Resale Activity, though, would cost $466 million and take from six to nine years to carry out, according to a position paper from the Army and Air Force Exchange Service. The upfront costs wouldn’t be recouped through efficiencies for 85 years, AAFES concluded …

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