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Posts Tagged ‘deficit reduction’

McCain, Service Chiefs Warn about Impact of Spending Caps

  • January 28, 2015
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The nation’s top military officers on Wednesday bemoaned the impact of the Budget Control Act spending caps on national security, warning lawmakers they will not be able to carry out the nation’s defense strategy if Congress fails to offer any relief from pending sequestration. Army Chief of Staff Gen. Raymond Odierno told the Senate Armed Services Committee his force is as unready as at any other point in its 239-year history, with only 33 percent of the service’s brigades “ready to the extent we would expect them to be if asked to fight.” If sequestration is imposed starting in fiscal 2016, Odierno said the Army will need to cut 60,000 soldiers after already eliminating 80,000 troops in recent years …

North Country Gears up for Army Town Hall

  • January 28, 2015
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Local leaders in northern New York are getting ready for the March 20 listening session with the Army intended to provide officials input about community support for Fort Drum before the service decides how to shrink its end strength by 70,000 soldiers by fiscal 2020. A media campaign to alert the public about the event will kick off next week, reported the Watertown Daily Times. On the day of the meeting, the Fort Drum Regional Liaison Organization is planning to hold a number of small-group events for visiting officials throughout the day highlighting the community’s links to the post across a number of services, including education and health care …

FY’16 Budget Request Would Offer Healthy Spending Growth for DOD

  • January 27, 2015
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The five-year spending plan the Defense Department plans to release next week along with its fiscal 2016 budget request will exceed the statutory spending caps by $150 billion, amounting to “little more than a wish list,” reported CQ. DOD will request $534 billion for its FY 2016 base budget, topping the 2011 Budget Control Act spending cap by almost $35 billion. The FY 2017 and 2018 budget projections would surpass the caps by $35 billion and $32 billion respectively, according to a source familiar with the proposal. The FY 2016 budget, after adding in the $52 billion the department is seeking for the overseas contingency operations account, represents a $15 billion jump over current year funding …

Army Communities Pull out All the Stops ahead of Listening Sessions

  • January 26, 2015
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The Colorado Springs Regional Business Alliance is asking area residents to wear green when Army officials visit next week to hear public comments about Fort Carson before the service deliberates over a second round of restructuring intended to shave its end strength to 420,000. The post could lose a maximum of 16,000 soldiers over the two rounds. “The Army is sending out some pretty significant officials,” Andy Merritt, who oversees military affairs for the alliance, told the Colorado Springs Gazette. “We certainly want to be able to make sure those guys go back with a positive view of what is going on here …

South Sound Stands up for JB Lewis-McChord

  • January 25, 2015
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More than 500 residents from many of the 15 communities that surround Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash., made the case for shielding the installation from further cuts during a listening session the Army held last week to gather public input before it decides how to shrink the service’s end strength by 70,000 soldiers by fiscal 2020. The installation located at the south end of Puget Sound already suffered the loss of about 5,000 soldiers during a previous round of Army downsizing. Now officials are considering eliminating up to 11,000 additional personnel during a second round of restructuring intended to cut the service’s end strength to 420,000. More than 60 people offered comments during the three-hour session. Washington Gov. Jay Inslee (D) highlighted the support the state provides military personnel and their families as well as veterans …

Further Cuts to Follow Loss of Brigade at Ft. Carson

  • January 25, 2015
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The inactivation of the 2nd Brigade Combat Team at Fort Carson earlier this month is slated to be followed by the loss of another unit later this year and potentially further cuts in the coming years after the Army figures out how to trim its end strength to 420,000. Many of the brigade combat team’s personnel will remain at the Colorado post, with 1,500 troops assigned to other units there and 2,700 soldiers relocated or separated, reported the Colorado Springs Independent. Later this year, an Apache helicopter unit is scheduled to move to Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash. Also looming is the second round of Army restructuring needed to eliminate up to 70,000 soldiers by fiscal 2020. Fort Carson could lose a maximum of 16,000 soldiers and civilian personnel over the two rounds …

Hagel Offers Warning on Spending Caps

  • January 22, 2015
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During what he called one of his last official news conferences, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel told reporters Thursday that many of the gains achieved by the military will be lost if lawmakers fail to provide DOD relief from the statutory spending cap for fiscal 2016. “The progress we have made will quickly evaporate if sequestration returns in 2016,” Hagel said. “We need long-term budget predictability and we need the flexibility to prioritize and make the difficult decisions … more effectively …

Thousands Turn out to Support Ft. Campbell at Listening Session

  • January 21, 2015
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Tuesday’s listening session at Fort Campbell, Ky., was marked by an overwhelming turnout, with an estimated 1,900 people filling seats at the post’s family resource center and two other venues receiving a live feed, and 2,500 others turned away. And with more than two dozen speakers making presentations in support of the installation and its host community, the session extended more than two hours after its scheduled ending time. In addition, the session was streamed online and broadcast on two radio stations. Afterward, the Army official in charge of the session — held to gather public input before deciding how to shrink the service’s end strength by 70,000 soldiers by fiscal 2020 — said the community did “an awesome job …

Thornberry Hopeful Lawmakers Will Relax Spending Cap

  • January 19, 2015
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Rep. Mac Thornberry (R-Texas), the new chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, said he was optimistic Congress would relax the stringent cap on defense spending for fiscal 2016, but at the same time offered no clear strategy for achieving that aim. “I think we will find some way to improve the situation and I think we definitely should,” Thornberry told CQ last week. “And I really believe that most Republicans and Democrats in the House also agree with that — that there needs to be a fix to sequestration,” he said. The chairman acknowledged, however, that it is not clear how the two parties could strike a deal to lift the defense spending cap in the 2011 Budget Control Act …

Air Force Confirms Intention to Ask Congress for BRAC Authorization

  • January 15, 2015
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Air Force Secretary Deborah Lee James on Thursday acknowledged DOD would be asking Congress to hold another BRAC round as part of the fiscal 2016 budget request. James, who was delivering a “State of the Air Force” briefing at the Pentagon along with Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Welsh, also told reporters that the new budget would ask to retire fleets of aging aircraft, including the A-10 Warthog, as it did last year. “We are going to be asking the Congress of course to eliminate sequestration, we will renew that call, as well as to allow us to get rid of excess base infrastructure. We’ll be renewing that as well. And we will once again ask for the authority to divest some of our older aircraft in order to free up money to plow back into people, readiness, and modernization …

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