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Posts Tagged ‘deficit reduction’

Smith Outlines Recipe for Sustaining DOD

  • June 26, 2015
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It’s not exactly a tightly-held secret that the Defense Department would like to spend a lot more money in the coming years than it is likely to get. And as long as the spending caps imposed by the 2011 Budget Control Act remain in effect and partisan differences prevent Congress from striking a long-term budget deal, the Pentagon will continue to struggle to carry out all of its missions. But there is a way out of this predicament, Washington Rep. Adam Smith (D), ranking member of the House Armed Services Committee, said this week during the congressional keynote at the 2015 Defense Communities National Summit. The first step is for lawmakers to scrap the Budget Control Act and replace it with a new long-term spending plan …

Military Will Manage Even as Infrastructure Scrapes By, Conger Says

  • June 24, 2015
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The nation’s defense infrastructure has not been adequately maintained for the past several years as the Pentagon diverts funds for installation support to higher priority readiness needs, but the military will be able to cope even if the stringent budget caps forcing officials to skimp on facility needs continue through the end of the decade, the department’s top installations official said this week at the 2015 Defense Communities National Summit. “We’ve done this before and survived it,” said John Conger, acting assistant secretary of defense for energy, installations and environment, referring to a similar situation in the 1990s. “It takes years for buildings to crumble …

Army Faces Limited Options in Addressing Excess Capacity

  • June 24, 2015
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The Army is paying $480 million a year to maintain more than 160 million square feet of excess infrastructure, and the service has only a limited ability to trim that cost, officials said Tuesday at the 2015 Defense Communities National Summit. The service estimates that 18 percent of its infrastructure is excess. One tack it is taking to address the surplus is asking garrison commanders to identify their unutilized and underutilized space, and to consolidate activities into their most efficient facilities, said Katherine Hammack, assistant secretary for installations, energy and environment. Facilities in the worst condition can then be mothballed or torn down. But this initiative will not produce significant savings, Hammack said …

Army Postpones Restructuring Announcement

  • June 23, 2015
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The Army’s announcement as to what units and organizations will be eliminated to comply with spending caps prompting the service to shrink its active-duty end strength to 450,000, and possibly to 420,000, has been postponed, officials revealed Monday at the 2015 Defense Communities National Summit. “I expect it within the next month,” Brig. Gen. Malcolm Frost, the service’s chief of public affairs, told representatives from Army communities anxiously awaiting the pending announcement. When the announcement is made, officials will first inform a variety of affected groups, including Congress and communities, in a 24-hour period before they publicly release the news …

Senate Democrats Make Their Stand on Defense Spending Bill

  • June 19, 2015
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Senate Democrats on Thursday blocked the chamber from starting debate on the fiscal 2016 defense spending bill, the first step in a strategy designed to force Republicans to enter talks to raise the Budget Control Act spending caps. The chamber’s 50-45 vote fell 10 votes short of the 60 votes need to proceed to the $575 billion measure and left uncertain how Congress would enact spending bills for the next fiscal year. The Democrats’ risky move had been expected, as party leaders had threatened in recent weeks to filibuster appropriations bills that either stick to the spending caps or shield the Pentagon from the budget limits while ignoring domestic agencies. The defense measure stashes $38 billion of funding beyond the Obama administration’s request in the department’s overseas contingency operations (OCO) account to get around the statutory spending cap …

Task Force’s Efforts to Support Ohio Manufacturing Facility Begin ‘To Pay Off’

  • June 17, 2015
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Task Force LIMA, the local support organization for the Joint Systems Manufacturing Center, is moving ahead with several initiatives to promote the government-owned, contractor-operated tank and military vehicle production facility in northwestern Ohio. The task force has reached out to the Ohio Federal and Military Jobs Commission after the manufacturing facility was ignored in the commission’s report outlining ways to boost federal and military jobs in Ohio, reported limaohio.com. The group plans to nominate a representative to serve on the commission as soon as one of the current member’s terms expires. “I think it’s really important that we now have a partner in the state of Ohio, which is a new dynamic,” said Lima Mayor David Berger …

Air Force Offers Incentives to Trim Civilian Staffing at Headquarters

  • June 17, 2015
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The Air Force this week began offering buyouts and early retirement incentives to civilian workers to help it achieve a DOD initiative to reduce headquarters costs and staff levels by 20 percent. The incentives mark the third round of the service’s current workforce reduction effort, which is designed to eliminate redundant activities and improve efficiencies. “The Air Force is committed to using voluntary separation programs as much as possible before pursuing involuntary options,” said Debra Warner, the service’s director of civilian force policy. “The Air Force is committed to sustaining excellence, meeting fiscal requirements and minimizing negative impacts on our current permanent civilian workforce and their families …

Amendment Would Require OEA Report on Support for Army Communities

  • June 16, 2015
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The Office of Economic Adjustment would be required to submit a report to Congress on funding that could be made available to communities affected by the Army’s latest restructuring, under an amendment added to the fiscal 2016 defense spending bill last week by the Senate Appropriations Committee. The Army shortly is expected to announce how it will realign its forces to shrink its end strength by up to 70,000 soldiers by fiscal 2020. Officials announced a similar restructuring in June 2013. At the time, the Army said it would deactivate 10 brigade combat teams to eliminate 80,000 personnel and cut its end strength to 490,000. This latest reduction could trim active-duty forces to 420,000 …

Pilot to Privatize Commissaries Should Be Postponed, Inhofe Says

  • June 16, 2015
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A proposal to privatize five commissaries under a two-year pilot program should be stripped from the Senate version of the fiscal 2016 defense authorization bill, according to a commentary by Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.) published in Military Times. Congress should complete an evaluation of the feasibility of privatizing military grocery stores before launching a pilot program, writes Inhofe, a senior member of the Armed Services Committee. “Privatizing military commissaries before conducting an assessment of the costs and benefits of such significant reform is irresponsible,” he states. “I want to know the cost and savings as well as the risks and benefits associated with privatization before any action is taken,” Inhofe says …

Senate Appropriators Reject DOD Plan to Trim Commissary Subsidy

  • June 12, 2015
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Senate appropriators on Thursday restored $322 million in funding for military grocery stores while marking up the fiscal 2016 defense spending bill, matching a similar move by their House counterparts. The Obama administration’s budget request recommended the cut — out of a total allocation of $1.4 billion for commissaries — which would have been accommodated by reducing days of operation and operating hours, laying off staff and closing some stores, reported Military Times. Sen. Barbara Mikulski (Md.), the committee’s top Democrat, criticized the proposal as a shortsighted idea from “Pentagon bean splicers” and said those savings should not come at the expense of military families …

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