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Posts Tagged ‘deficit reduction’

New Players Mean Budget Deal Remains a Long Shot

  • January 5, 2015
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With new lawmakers heading up the House and Senate Budget committees in the 114th Congress, the likelihood that Congress is able to duplicate the late-2013 agreement that lifted the fiscal 2014 and 2015 defense spending caps by a total of $31 billion appears remote. That deal was negotiated by Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) and Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.), but both are moving to new committee assignments this year. At this point, it’s not entirely clear how their replacements, Rep. Tom Price (R-Ga.) and Sen. Mike Enzi (R-Wyo.), plan on addressing sequestration. If Congress does not revise the 2011 Budget Control Act, the topline for defense spending would rise only $1.7 billion to $523 billion in FY 2016 …

Commission to Focus on Modernizing Military Benefits, Not Slashing Them

  • January 5, 2015
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The recommendations of a nine-member commission established by Congress to review military compensation will focus on updating pay and benefits offered by the military so they are more appropriate for 21st Century personnel, rather than trimming them, according to a spokesman for the panel. “It’s fair to say we have identified a number of efficiencies,” Jamie Graybeal, spokesman for the Military Compensation and Retirement Modernization Commission, told the Hill last week. The commission’s chief aim was to preserve the all-volunteer force by improving benefits not valued by service members and eliminating redundancies …

One Group Objects to Local Effort to Build Support for Army Installations in Hawaii

  • January 5, 2015
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Local leaders striving to retain the Army’s presence in Hawaii in the face of a restructuring intended to eliminate up to 70,000 troops by fiscal 2020 are being forced to compete with one group that is embracing an Army proposal to shed up to 19,800 soldiers and civilians at Schofield Barracks and Fort Shafter. The Chamber of Commerce Hawaii — in conjunction with the office of Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell — has been asking residents to sign a petition demonstrating support for the Army mission on Oahu as part of its “Keep Hawaii’s Heroes” campaign. The chamber said the loss of the soldiers, civilians and 30,000 family members would represent about 5 percent of Hono­lulu’s population …

Quality-of-Life Milcon Projects Shortchanged in Budget, Appropriators Point Out

  • December 23, 2014
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Cuts in the services’ military construction budgets to free up funds for operational readiness are placing the needs of service members in peril as essential quality-of-life milcon requirements such as child development centers, physical fitness facilities and troop housing are going unfulfilled, according to the House and Senate Military Construction and Veterans Affairs Appropriations subcommittees. “Deferral of needed QOL [quality-of-life] investment can adversely impact troop readiness and jeopardize the health and safety of service members,” according to the joint explanatory statement accompanying the FY 2015 omnibus spending bill signed into law last week by the president …

Independent Commission to Consider Army Size, Force Mix under Authorization Bill

  • December 23, 2014
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An independent commission will make recommendations regarding the proper end strength of the Army and mix between its active and reserve components by Feb. 1, 2016, under the fiscal 2015 defense authorization bill President Obama signed the into law last week. H.R. 3979 follows language in the House and Senate Armed Services versions of the annual policy bill calling for an eight-member National Commission on the Future of the Army. The members are slated to be appointed by the president and Congress within 90 days …

Dayton Groups Seek Federal Funds to Diversify Economy

  • December 18, 2014
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With Wright-Patterson Air Force Base bracing for the possibility of downsizing as the Pentagon struggles to meet stringent spending caps, local officials in the Miami Valley region of Ohio plan to apply to DOD’s Office of Economic Adjustment for a diversification planning grant ranging from $4 million to $6 million. The Dayton Development Coalition, Montgomery County and Wright State University want to use the grant to help diversify the region’s economy ahead of looming federal budget cuts and a prospective BRAC round. Wright-Patt supports 27,500 workers directly and thousands of contractor positions, reported the Dayton Business Journal. The development coalition has been trying to protect jobs at the installation. Tenant organizations at Wright-Patt support many local research companies and organizations, including the University of Dayton Research Institute.

Air Force Not Planning Involuntary Force Reductions in FY’15, James Says

  • December 16, 2014
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The Air Force will not go ahead with involuntary force reductions planned for fiscal 2015, Air Force Secretary Deborah Lee James said Tuesday during an online forum. “[Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Welsh and I] are in agreement that enough is enough,” James said as she neared her first anniversary at her post. “We have reduced far enough. We will not go lower, and we will fight to hold on to the numbers now that we have.” In 2014, the Air Force selected more than 13,000 airmen for voluntary separation and more than 6,000 to leave involuntarily …

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 …

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