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Posts Tagged ‘deficit reduction’

Compromise Budget Resolution Unlikely to Clarify Fate of Spending Caps

  • April 13, 2015
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An amendment to the Senate version of the fiscal 2016 budget resolution calling for relief from the statutory spending caps for defense and non-defense spending over the next two years is unlikely to be included in the compromise resolution the two chambers are expected to hash out over the coming weeks. The amendment, introduced by Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine (D) and passed with the support of four Republicans, called for replacing $148 billion in spending cuts in fiscal 2016 and 2017 with alternative offsets not yet specified over the 10-year budget window, reported CQ. As talks get under way over a compromise budget, conservative groups are pushing back against the provision because it would reverse the Budget Control Act spending caps …

Nation Can’t Afford to Punt on BRAC, Texas Lawmaker Says

  • April 13, 2015
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Count Texas Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D) as one of the few lawmakers willing to let the Pentagon launch a sixth round of base closures. For the second-term lawmaker, the logic is relatively simple — with new threats emerging across the globe, DOD should be allowed to save money from weapons and installations it no longer needs so it can afford to preserve its existing end strength. “What you shouldn’t cut are personnel,” O’Rourke, a member of the House Armed Services Committee, told El Paso Inc. He certainly understands why BRAC is hugely unpopular in Congress, but lawmakers can’t afford to ignore officials saying the military has about 20 percent excess infrastructure capacity. “I don’t want to continue to subsidize bases and installations that are not performing …

Garrison Commanders Grapple with Budget Constraints

  • April 7, 2015
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At a two-day conference for Army garrison commanders and command sergeants major last month, Katherine Hammack, assistant secretary for installations, energy and environment, addressed the challenge of running an installation amid tight fiscal constraints. “We have to weigh risks daily,” Hammack said. “What’s acceptable loss? Compare loss of life to buildings that decay a little faster … grass that grows a little higher? Gen. Halverson and I are okay with the grass growing higher if it means that the troops are trained, ready and properly equipped …

Texas Communities Await Verdict on Sequestration, Army Downsizing

  • April 6, 2015
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Local officials throughout Texas are increasingly alarmed about the prospect that stringent caps on Pentagon spending first imposed in 2013 will remain in place through the end of the decade. Already, defense communities in Texas have been hurt by the furlough of civilian workers, the loss of active-duty personnel and attrition in civilian personnel, reported the San Antonio Express-News. On the immediate horizon is an Army determination expected this summer on how it will allocate the elimination of up to 70,000 active-duty troops by fiscal 2020. Forts Hood and Bliss, and Joint Base San Antonio-Fort Sam Houston potentially could lose thousands of soldiers and civilian workers, but advocates for each of those posts believe the strong level of support provided by their host communities should shield them from the worst cuts …

Navy League Spearheads Campaign to Shore up Military Funding

  • April 1, 2015
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The Navy League is launching a grassroots campaign to generate public support for bolstering the budget of the Navy and the Marine Corps. The initiative comes as the 2011 Budget Control Act spending caps are slated to be fully imposed for the first time since the legislation was enacted and the military is grappling with a variety of global threats even as it no longer is engaged in combat operations in Iraq and is in the midst of drawing down from Afghanistan. “Since 2001, the pace of Navy and Marine Corps operations has not slowed down,” said Sheila McNeill, who is chairing the national campaign and is a former Navy League president …

Medical Training Mission at JB San Antonio Should Shield Post from Worst Cuts

  • April 1, 2015
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At the last of 30 listening sessions held in defense communities across the nation, Army officials acknowledged that cuts of up to 70,000 soldiers from the service’s active-duty end strength now under consideration would greatly diminish its capabilities. “As we’re getting ready to make cuts, we’re going to have to cut straight into muscle and bone,” Col. Tom O’Donoghue told a crowd of 1,200 people who turned up Tuesday to support Joint Base San Antonio-Fort Sam Houston. Over the next several months, the Army will determine how to apportion personnel cuts as its force shrinks from 490,000 to 450,000 and, possibly, to 420,000 …

N.C. Delegation Requests Language to Grant Reprieve to Ft. Bragg Airlift Wing

  • April 1, 2015
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In the latest move to save Fort Bragg’s 440th Airlift Wing, five members of North Carolina’s congressional delegation are trying to add language to the fiscal 2016 defense spending bill to block the Air Force from dismantling or relocating the Reserve unit based at Pope Field. Last week, the lawmakers wrote the leaders of the House Defense Appropriations Subcommittee to include a provision stating that no funds can be “used to inactivate, relocate or otherwise disrupt the mission, personnel or aircraft” of the unit, which flies C-130H cargo airplanes. The delegation argues that disbanding the wing would hurt the training of Army airborne and special operations forces, and cost more money by forcing the Army to rely on out-of-state units to carry out routine missions and training exercises …

Higher Prices Won’t Offset Cuts in Commissary Subsidies, RAND Concludes

  • March 31, 2015
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The administration’s plan to offset cuts in subsidies to military grocery stores through higher prices likely won’t be successful, according to a new RAND study. Raising prices at commissaries can be expected to result in a drop in unit sales and total revenue as shoppers are likely to be relatively responsive to changes in price. As a result, the authors conclude that “raising overall price levels will likely not be a successful strategy to cover shortfalls in costs caused by the elimination of the annual U.S. Department of Defense appropriation.” And while military families who shop at commissaries would see their grocery bills increase, their extra expenses likely would be offset somewhat as they shopped elsewhere for some groceries and other items …

Personnel, Spending Cuts Hurt Army Communities, Halverson Says

  • March 31, 2015
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Budget uncertainties resulting from stringent spending caps are hurting defense communities, Lt. Gen. David Halverson, the Army’s assistant chief of staff for installation management and commander of the Army’s Installation Management Command, testified on Capitol Hill last month. “Current funding requires installations to scale back or cancel service contracts that employ people in local communities and requiring installations to work with commanders to use special duty assignments to support installation services and programs,” Halverson told the Senate Military Construction and Veterans Affairs Appropriations Subcommittee …

As Army End Strength Falls, So Does Its Civilian Workforce, Senior Leaders Say

  • March 30, 2015
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The Army is attempting to trim its civilian workforce commensurate with its drawdown of service members, but the effort remains a work in progress, the service’s top two leaders told lawmakers last week. “There’s lots of pressure on the services to reduce civilian end strength and we do believe the Fourth Estate — what we call the rest of the Department of Defense outside of the services — absolutely needs to be looked at in terms of growth,” Chief of Staff Gen. Ray Odierno said March 26 at a House Defense Appropriations Subcommittee hearing. DOD defines the Fourth Estate as defense agencies, field activities and some other entities not falling under one of the services or under a combatant command …

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