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Posts Tagged ‘deficit reduction’

House Votes to Oppose BRAC, Preserve A-10 Fleet

  • June 19, 2014
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In two votes that succinctly summarize the challenge the Pentagon faces in planning for mandated budget cuts, House lawmakers voted Thursday night to bar DOD from spending any funds to plan for or carry out another BRAC round, and to prevent it from implementing the Air Force’s proposal to retire its fleet of A-10 close air support aircraft. The two votes came during House debate of the fiscal 2015 defense spending bill. Final passage of the bill is expected today …

Despite Long Odds, BRAC Still Worth Fighting For, James Says

  • June 18, 2014
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Air Force Secretary Deborah Lee James is pessimistic about the prospect that Congress will approve the Pentagon’s request for a new BRAC round in 2017, but believes DOD will continue trying to persuade lawmakers of its importance at a time when it is coping with stringent spending caps. “As a person who came out of business, the last things a corporation would do is spend money on facilities that are no longer needed,” James told defense reporters Wednesday. “You would never, never, never run a business this way. I realize government is not a business. But there are certain principles [that] make good common sense …

White House Opposes Defense Spending Bill over BRAC, Compensation Reform

  • June 17, 2014
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The White House on Tuesday said it “strongly opposes” House passage of the fiscal 2015 defense spending bill over its failure to include a variety of cost-saving reforms, but fell short of issuing a veto threat. “Without congressional support for meaningful compensation reforms and other cost-saving measures, force structure changes, and flexibility to manage weapon systems and infrastructure, there is an increased risk to the department’s ability to implement the president’s defense strategy, which will contribute to a military that will be less capable of responding effectively to future challenges …

Authorization Bills Call for Similar Reviews of Army Size, Force Structure

  • June 15, 2014
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Independent commissions that would be created under the House and Senate versions of the fiscal 2015 defense authorization bill to assess the proper end strength of the Army and mix between its active and reserve components would be largely similar. Support for creating a commission to study the Army’s future structure gained momentum on Capitol Hill after the service released its plan earlier this year to trim the size of the National Guard below 350,000 soldiers and shift its fleet of 192 AH-64 Apache attack helicopters to the active component. The commission and its role would bear a strong resemblance to the panel the armed services committees created two years ago to study the balance between the Air Force’s active and reserve components …

Cantor Defeat Likely a Setback for Defense Industry

  • June 11, 2014
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Tuesday’s stunning primary defeat of House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) removes the defense industry’s most reliable supporter from the chamber’s leadership, according to experts. More significantly for defense communities, it raises the chances that an emboldened tea party succeeds in pushing for additional spending reductions or, at a minimum, quashes any future budget deals from reversing sequestration cuts beyond fiscal 2015 …

Panel Rejects Amendment to Preserve A-10 Fleet

  • June 10, 2014
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The House Appropriations Committee on Tuesday voted down an amendment to reallocate Air Force funds to keep the A-10 close air support aircraft flying next year, making it the first congressional panel to support the Air Force’s plan to retire the fleet. The committee rejected the amendment from Rep. Jack Kingston (R-Ga.) by a 23-13 vote before approving the underlying fiscal 2015 defense spending measure by voice vote. Last month, versions of the FY 2015 defense authorization bill approved by the House and the Senate Armed Services Committee both called for funding to keep the A-10 “Warthog” in the air …

Proposal to Open Exchanges Online to Most Veterans Would Preserve Program Benefits

  • June 9, 2014
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The Army and Air Force Exchange Service (AAFES) has proposed providing online access to all honorably discharged veterans as a way to extend the exchanges’ discounts to millions of deserving veterans while shoring up the program’s revenue stream amid downsizing and budget cuts. The plan, submitted last month by AAFES CEO Thomas Shull to the Pentagon, would help the exchange system sustain profits needed to support morale, welfare and recreation activities at a time when fewer personnel and families are living on installations …

‘Money Isn’t Coming Back Soon,’ Analyst Says

  • June 6, 2014
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The steady decline in defense spending on both products and services almost certainly isn’t turning around anytime soon, according to a panel of defense industry experts appearing Thursday at the Defense Communities National Summit. DOD’s total obligations were down 16 percent from fiscal 2012 to 2013, said David Berteau, senior vice president and director of the national security program on industry and resources at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. Contract spending dropped 25 percent since 2008, while spending on pay and benefits rose over that five-year period …

Need for Federal Strategy to Address Excess Defense Infrastructure Is Urgent, ADC Says

  • June 4, 2014
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Congress needs to grant the Defense Department sufficient authority to deal with its surplus of infrastructure, otherwise DOD will be forced to hollow out many of its installations and the economies of affected defense communities will suffer, according to a policy statement approved by ADC’s board of directors this week. ADC issued the policy statement as the Pentagon and Congress remain in a years-long stalemate over the need for a series of cost-saving reforms even as the defense budget is subject to stringent spending caps and the military draws down from 12-plus years of war. “In an environment of declining support for installations, the only solution is to confront head-on the nation’s excess military infrastructure,” Bob Murdock, ADC’s outgoing president, told the audience Wednesday at the Defense Communities National Summit …

Senate Panel Bolsters DOD’s Milcon Request with Funds for Quality-of-Life Needs

  • June 3, 2014
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The Senate Appropriations Committee added $465 million in quality-of-life construction projects to the fiscal 2015 military construction and veterans affairs spending bill due to concerns that needs such as troop housing, child care centers and fitness centers were overlooked in DOD’s budget request. The department’s $2.1 billion military construction request for FY 2015 represents a 40 percent decline from current year funding, a decision the committee said it understood given the need to provide additional money for readiness accounts. Still, “military construction is the foundation of military readiness, but it is too often the go-to bill payer in constrained budget environments, resulting in the sometimes indefinite deferral of many meritorious construction projects …

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