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Posts Tagged ‘deficit reduction’

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 …

Aviation Restructuring Prompts Loss of Ft. Campbell Brigade

  • November 23, 2014
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Fort Campbell, Ky., will lose a 2,400-soldier combat aviation brigade by next October as part of an Army aviation restructuring initiative, officials announced last week. The decision to eliminate the post’s 159th Combat Aviation Brigade also will mean the departure of 3,800 family members and result in cascading economic impacts in the surrounding community. “The loss of the 159th Combat Aviation Brigade at Fort Campbell will have a wide-ranging effect both on and off the installation on many levels …

Emerging Threats Upend Assumptions behind Sequestration, Odierno Says

  • November 19, 2014
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Reductions in the size of the Army forced by the Budget Control Act spending caps need to be reconsidered given the emergence of multiple global threats over the past year, Chief of Staff Gen. Ray Odierno said Wednesday. Many of the assumptions made when officials decided to shrink the size of the active-duty Army — initially to 490,000 and now to about 440,000 — have not played out as planned. “We made assumptions that we wouldn’t be using Army forces in Europe the way we used to. We made assumptions that we wouldn’t go back into Iraq. We are back in Iraq. Here we are worried about Russia again …

Armed Services Leaders Split over Military Compensation Reforms

  • November 19, 2014
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Leaders of the House and Senate Armed Services committees negotiating a compromise fiscal 2015 defense authorization bill remain at an impasse over two DOD proposals intended to save billions of dollars in military benefit costs through FY 2019. Carl Levin (D-Mich.), the outgoing chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, said Wednesday it’s worth “fighting for” the reforms advocated by Pentagon leaders. One would slow the growth in the basic allowance for housing below the rate of inflation over the next three years so that the benefit only covers 95 percent of average rental costs. The other would increase pharmacy co-pays for prescriptions filled outside of military treatment facilities …

Incoming Armed Services Chairs Decry Strict Spending Caps

  • November 19, 2014
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Rep. Mac Thornberry (R-Texas), who will lead the House Armed Services Committee starting in January, on Wednesday urged his fellow lawmakers to reverse the stringent spending caps imposed on the Pentagon by the Budget Control Act. “Obviously that’s a big issue. [The] Armed Services Committee cannot solve that problem, but it needs to be solved and so working with others, we’re going to do our best to try to solve it,” Thornberry told reporters, according to the Hill. After being selected by the House Republican Steering Committee for the chairmanship on Tuesday, the House Republican conference affirmed his selection on Wednesday …

Authorization Bill Talks Hung up over Military Benefits

  • November 18, 2014
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A dispute over DOD cost-saving reforms affecting the basic allowance for housing and co-pays for prescription drugs are holding up negotiations between the leadership of the House and Senate Armed Services committees over a compromise fiscal 2015 defense authorization bill. Committee leaders were aiming to wrap up negotiations by the end of the week, and clearing the final version of the bill through the House and Senate during the lame duck session. The Pentagon had proposed slowing growth in the basic allowance for housing below the rate of inflation over the next three years so that the benefit only covers 95 percent of average rental costs …

Army Officials Meet with Coastal Georgia Leaders about Plans for Drawdown

  • November 17, 2014
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Local and business leaders from Hinesville, Ga., and the surrounding region on Monday told Army officials from Washington about the critical role Fort Stewart plays in the local community as well as the long-standing support provided by the post’s neighbors. On Monday night, the Army was scheduled to hold its first listening session to gather public input before deciding how to realign active-duty forces as the service shrinks by up to 70,000 soldiers to an end strength of 420,000. The Army plans to hold public listening sessions at a total of 30 installations that potentially could lose thousands of military and civilian personnel …

Pentagon Will Request a New BRAC Round in FY’16 Budget, Hagel Indicates

  • November 17, 2014
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During multiple stops this weekend, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel underscored the need for a new BRAC round as one way for the Defense Department to mitigate the fiscal constraints imposed by the Budget Control Act spending caps. “Despite numerous efforts and almost 10 years since the last round, DOD has been unable to secure another round of base realignment and closure. Today, DOD has 24 percent excess capacity in our basing and facilities — excess capacity that is costing us billions of dollars every year, money that could otherwise be invested in maintaining our military’s edge. We need Congress to help end this excess spending …

DOD May Ask for $60B over Spending Caps for FY’16, Report Says

  • November 17, 2014
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The Defense Department’s base budget request for fiscal 2016 may exceed the Budget Control Act spending cap for that year by up to $60 billion, Defense News reported Sunday. In recent months senior officials have been saying that the FY 2016 budget would exceed that year’s $535 billion cap on defense, but the exact magnitude of the disparity had not been clear. But despite the Republican Party controlling the House and Senate next year, the prospects for Congress to offer the Pentagon relief from the stringent spending caps remain low, according to analysts as well as current and former lawmakers …

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