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Posts Tagged ‘deficit reduction’

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 …

Western Pennsylvania County Seeks to Recover from Defense Cutbacks

  • January 15, 2015
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Cambria County officials last week approved a $350,000 grant from DOD’s Office of Economic Adjustment to revitalize Johnstown, Pa., following cuts in the local defense industry. “The main reason they approached us really is because of the amount of job cuts that our defense industry has experienced in the region,” John Dubnansky, county grant writer, told WTAJ News. The county will use the funds for several renovation projects including one to convert a building in downtown Johnstown so it can house college classrooms, retail space and a rooftop restaurant. “This is an economic development project for us to create jobs in the area versus just seeing job losses like we have had,” said Dubnansky. The county also will conduct a study to look at the region’s economic strengths, he said. “We’ve tailored this great opportunity to what our community needs were,” said Doug Lengenfelder, the county’s president commissioner.

Residents, Leaders Highlight Contribution Played by Ft. Eustis

  • January 15, 2015
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Local leaders on Tuesday highlighted the devastating impact a reduction of up to 4,200 soldiers and civilians at Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Va., would have on the surrounding Hampton Roads region, during the Army’s seventh listening session devoted to the community impacts of shrinking the service’s active-duty end strength to 420,000 by fiscal 2020. “This base is so central to our community,” Newport News Councilwoman Sharon Scott said during the meeting attended by about 300 people. “You’re going to take away dollars, you’re going to take away businesses, you’re going to take away jobs. That is going to be so critical …

Budget Deal Will Be Difficult to Justify, Sessions Says

  • January 14, 2015
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Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions, a senior member of the Senate Armed Services and Budget committees, says the bar will be relatively high for fiscal conservatives to sign off on an agreement to relax the Budget Control Act cap on defense spending. “I believe if people want to raise the defense cap, then they’re going to have to justify it,” Sessions told DefenseNews. “We’re going to have to talk about it, and we’re going to have to go to more than just general rhetoric but specific justifications because it doesn’t do any good to have … the Budget Control Act if we’re not going to adhere to it but [for] a year or two …

Ft. Bragg Airlift Wing Earns Temporary Reprieve in Policy Bill

  • January 7, 2015
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The Air Force will not be able deactivate the 440th Airlift Wing, an Air Force Reserve unit based at Fort Bragg’s Pope Field, as soon it had planned as a result of language in the fiscal 2015 defense authorization bill sponsored last year by then-Sen. Kay Hagan (D-N.C.). An amendment halting all C-130H and C-130J aircraft transfers until 60 days after the Air Force issues a report outlining a justification of its decision that was added to the Senate version of the measure was included in the compromise legislation enacted last month. The language also calls for the Government Accountability Office to review the Air Force report …

New Players Mean Budget Deal Remains a Long Shot

  • January 5, 2015
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With new lawmakers heading up the House and Senate Budget committees in the 114th Congress, the likelihood that Congress is able to duplicate the late-2013 agreement that lifted the fiscal 2014 and 2015 defense spending caps by a total of $31 billion appears remote. That deal was negotiated by Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) and Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.), but both are moving to new committee assignments this year. At this point, it’s not entirely clear how their replacements, Rep. Tom Price (R-Ga.) and Sen. Mike Enzi (R-Wyo.), plan on addressing sequestration. If Congress does not revise the 2011 Budget Control Act, the topline for defense spending would rise only $1.7 billion to $523 billion in FY 2016 …

Commission to Focus on Modernizing Military Benefits, Not Slashing Them

  • January 5, 2015
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The recommendations of a nine-member commission established by Congress to review military compensation will focus on updating pay and benefits offered by the military so they are more appropriate for 21st Century personnel, rather than trimming them, according to a spokesman for the panel. “It’s fair to say we have identified a number of efficiencies,” Jamie Graybeal, spokesman for the Military Compensation and Retirement Modernization Commission, told the Hill last week. The commission’s chief aim was to preserve the all-volunteer force by improving benefits not valued by service members and eliminating redundancies …

One Group Objects to Local Effort to Build Support for Army Installations in Hawaii

  • January 5, 2015
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Local leaders striving to retain the Army’s presence in Hawaii in the face of a restructuring intended to eliminate up to 70,000 troops by fiscal 2020 are being forced to compete with one group that is embracing an Army proposal to shed up to 19,800 soldiers and civilians at Schofield Barracks and Fort Shafter. The Chamber of Commerce Hawaii — in conjunction with the office of Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell — has been asking residents to sign a petition demonstrating support for the Army mission on Oahu as part of its “Keep Hawaii’s Heroes” campaign. The chamber said the loss of the soldiers, civilians and 30,000 family members would represent about 5 percent of Hono­lulu’s population …

Quality-of-Life Milcon Projects Shortchanged in Budget, Appropriators Point Out

  • December 23, 2014
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Cuts in the services’ military construction budgets to free up funds for operational readiness are placing the needs of service members in peril as essential quality-of-life milcon requirements such as child development centers, physical fitness facilities and troop housing are going unfulfilled, according to the House and Senate Military Construction and Veterans Affairs Appropriations subcommittees. “Deferral of needed QOL [quality-of-life] investment can adversely impact troop readiness and jeopardize the health and safety of service members,” according to the joint explanatory statement accompanying the FY 2015 omnibus spending bill signed into law last week by the president …

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