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Posts Tagged ‘deficit reduction’

FY’16 Appropriations Expected to Follow More Torturous Path

  • December 16, 2014
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The fiscal 2015 omnibus spending package cleared by Congress this past week experienced its share of twists and turns as elements of both parties attempted to remove objectionable provisions, but on the whole its passage represented a mostly bipartisan process that likely won’t be duplicated in the 114th Congress. Negotiations over the “CRomnibus” did not focus on spending allocations because that issue already had been settled last year as part of the budget deal between Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) and Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) that relaxed the defense and non-defense spending caps for FY 2014 and 2015 …

Decision on Next Round of Army Restructuring Expected by Next Summer

  • December 14, 2014
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The Army likely won’t announce until June how it will realign its forces as it eliminates up to 70,000 soldiers by fiscal 2020, according to comments made at a listening session for Fort Leavenworth, Kan., last week. The Army — which already is slated to trim its active-duty forces from 562,000 to 490,000 by the end of FY 2015 — now is gathering public input at 30 installations with the potential to lose between 2,500 and 16,000 military and civilian personnel by the end of a second round of troop cuts needed to accommodate stringent budget caps. If Congress does not offer the Pentagon any relief from the spending caps, the Army’s active-duty end strength could fall to 420,000 …

BRAC Tops the Alternative, McHugh Says

  • December 10, 2014
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A new round of base closures would be the least painful way for the military to cope with the spending cuts forced by the 2011 Budget Control Act, Army Secretary John McHugh said during a ceremony this week at Fort Drum honoring the 10th Mountain Division. One alternative to BRAC that would generate savings for the Army would be to continue downsizing actions at installations across the country, as was the case earlier this year when the post experienced the loss of a brigade and about 1,500 soldiers …

Congressional Leaders Reach Deal on Compromise Spending Bill

  • December 9, 2014
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Congressional leaders Tuesday night unveiled a $1.1 trillion spending package that includes fiscal 2015 appropriations bills for all government agencies except for the Department of Homeland Security. The delayed release of the compromise legislation may force lawmakers to stay in Washington past Thursday, when the current continuing resolution (CR) expires, and require them to pass a CR for two or three days. The House is expected to take up the “CRomnibus” — a package of 11 individual spending bills and a CR lasting through Feb. 27 for Homeland Security — on Thursday, with the Senate most likely voting in the following days …

Authorization Bill Calls for Moderate Cut to Commissary Subsidy

  • December 9, 2014
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The compromise version of the fiscal 2015 defense authorization bill supports trimming the federal subsidy for military grocery stores by $100 million for one year, significantly scaling back the Pentagon’s cost-cutting proposal. The Defense Department asked for a $200 million cut in the annual direct subsidy for commissaries in FY 2015 as part of a plan to reduce the government’s annual subsidy for commissaries from $1.4 billion to $400 million over three years. Fully imposing the proposal would slash the average savings on groceries from 30 percent to 10 percent …

Defense Spending Will Dominate Next Secretary’s Schedule

  • December 8, 2014
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Ashton Carter, President Obama’s nominee to succeed Chuck Hagel as secretary of defense, is not expected to face an arduous confirmation in the Senate, but he will be confronted with major tests over the department’s budget as soon as he takes the helm at the Pentagon. When Carter arrives DOD’s fiscal 2016 budget request most likely will be completed, leaving him the exercise of selling the proposal — which is expected to exceed the Budget Control Act spending cap by $36 billion — on Capitol Hill …

FY’16 Budget Request Expected to Exceed Spending Cap by $36B

  • December 7, 2014
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The Pentagon’s fiscal 2016 budget request is expected to surpass the corresponding Budget Control Act spending cap by $36 billion, bringing its base budget request in line with its long-planned $535 billion top line, Defense News reported. The higher figure was approved last week by the Office of Management and Budget, according to the story. The gap between DOD’s topline for its next five-year budget, which will cover FY 2016-2020, and the spending caps is expected to jump from $115 billion to $147 billion due to a request from the Joint Chiefs of Staff, which says it cannot carry out the current national security strategy without additional resources …

House, Senate Give up Ground Reluctantly on DOD Reforms

  • December 2, 2014
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House and Senate Armed Services Committee leaders reached agreement on a compromise version of the fiscal 2015 defense authorization bill that offers the Pentagon only moderate concessions on many of its cost-saving reforms affecting military compensation and force structure. On one of the issues that held up a deal until Monday, committee leaders agreed to slow the growth in the basic allowance for housing (BAH) so it covers only 99 percent of costs, reported Stars and Stripes. DOD had proposed slowing increases in the BAH until it covered only 95 percent of costs …

Defense Budget Insufficient to Meet Strategic Guidance, Independent Panel Concludes

  • December 2, 2014
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The defense budget is inadequate to meet the Pentagon’s strategic requirements, even in the absence of threats which emerged over the past year, two members of an independent panel formed to assess the 2014 Quadrennial Defense Review told the House Armed Services Committee Tuesday. Michèle Flournoy, a former undersecretary of defense for policy, said the Budget Control Act spending caps pose “a threat to national security” and could jeopardize the lives of service members if another conflict were to arise. Congress should approve the department’s proposals to slash spending through a new BRAC round and reform military compensation …

Army Realignment Should Be Conducted under BRAC, Community Leaders Say

  • November 23, 2014
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The decision-making process the Army is using to shrink its active-duty end strength to 420,000 by fiscal 2020 lacks transparency, say leaders in two Army communities that stand to lose thousands of troops as officials decide what installations will lose up to 70,000 soldiers. Instead, the Army’s force structure realignments should be made through a formal BRAC round, they say. “No one is comfortable with the process of this whole drawdown and the way it’s being managed. The citizens at large, Congress, the Army — nobody’s happy with this process. … The meat-cleaver approach that is being taken to defense spending is unconscionable,” said John Crutchfield, president and CEO of the Greater Killeen Chamber of Commerce …

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