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Posts Tagged ‘deficit reduction’

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 …

Ft. Benning Supporters Focus on Local Partnerships at Listening Session

  • February 19, 2015
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More than 500 people showed up to support Fort Benning during its Army listening session Wednesday, with local leaders and lawmakers emphasizing the close relationship and varied partnerships between Columbus, Ga., and the post. Columbus Mayor Teresa Tomlinson highlighted the scenic gateway project on Victory Drive greeting soldiers and visitors to Benning. Tomlinson also cited a joint recycling effort, improvements at the local water treatment plant and a veterans court, reported the Ledger-Enquirer. “You are our neighbor,” she said. “Fort Benning is our community partner and you are our family …

Deal to Ease Budget Pressure on Pentagon Is Likely, Hale Says

  • February 18, 2015
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Congress likely will strike a moderate deal relaxing the $499 billion cap on the Defense Department’s fiscal 2016 base budget, according to former DOD Comptroller Robert Hale. “What I hope happens is that we get another mini-deal,” Hale, an adviser to Booz Allen Hamilton, told Federal News Radio. Hale pointed to a recent speech by Rep. Rob Wittman (R-Va.), chairman of the House Armed Services’ Readiness Subcommittee, as a positive sign for the prospects of a new budget deal. “I do think there is a good chance that through the budgeting process that sequestration will be set aside,” said Wittman …

Ft. Bragg Airlift Wing Scales Down Activity with End of Reprieve in Sight

  • February 18, 2015
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The reprieve awarded Fort Bragg’s 440th Airlift Wing in the fiscal 2015 defense authorization bill could end in a matter of months, with an Air Force report justifying its proposal last year to relocate the unit’s 12 C-130H Hercules cargo aircraft and inactivate the wing expected shortly. A provision in the annual policy bill sponsored by then-Sen. Kay Hagan (D-N.C.) forced the Air Force to temporarily postpone its planned deactivation of the 440th, an Air Force Reserve unit based at Fort Bragg’s Pope Field. The unit is continuing to fulfill its requirements to support airborne and special operations units at Fort Bragg at the same time it is losing dozens of airmen and officials are developing plans to inactivate the 440th …

Army Cuts Would Be Widespread under Sequestration, Odierno Says

  • February 16, 2015
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Few installations will be spared from further reductions in personnel if Congress and the White House fail to strike a deal to lift the Budget Control Act spending caps, Gen. Ray Odierno, Army chief of staff, told reporters last week from the Navy port at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam. “If [sequestration] continues, we’re going to have to reduce the size of the Army further,” he said, reported Stars and Stripes. “It would be across the entire Army, and just about every installation in every state would be affected.” The second round of restructuring the Army is now contemplating will shrink the service by at least 40,000 soldiers to an end strength of 450,000 by fiscal 2020. Officials are considering cuts that will slash the force by 70,000 soldiers, however; that larger reduction is expected if the statutory spending caps remain in place much longer …

Reporting to Duty, Carter Will Face Numerous Priorities

  • February 16, 2015
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Ashton Carter, who is scheduled to be sworn in as the next defense secretary Tuesday morning, will have an array of foreign crises to deal with, calling into question his ability to reach a breakthrough with Congress to loosen the statutory cap on defense spending. “One thing we know for sure about Ash Carter’s tenure as defense secretary is that it will be fleeting,” said Loren Thompson of the Lexington Institute. “Whatever plans he may have for spurring innovation or reforming processes, the reality is that his schedule will probably be captured by bigger issues such as [the Islamic State] and Ukraine …

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