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Posts Tagged ‘sequestration’

Emerging Threats Upend Assumptions behind Sequestration, Odierno Says

  • November 19, 2014
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Reductions in the size of the Army forced by the Budget Control Act spending caps need to be reconsidered given the emergence of multiple global threats over the past year, Chief of Staff Gen. Ray Odierno said Wednesday. Many of the assumptions made when officials decided to shrink the size of the active-duty Army — initially to 490,000 and now to about 440,000 — have not played out as planned. “We made assumptions that we wouldn’t be using Army forces in Europe the way we used to. We made assumptions that we wouldn’t go back into Iraq. We are back in Iraq. Here we are worried about Russia again …

Armed Services Leaders Split over Military Compensation Reforms

  • November 19, 2014
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Leaders of the House and Senate Armed Services committees negotiating a compromise fiscal 2015 defense authorization bill remain at an impasse over two DOD proposals intended to save billions of dollars in military benefit costs through FY 2019. Carl Levin (D-Mich.), the outgoing chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, said Wednesday it’s worth “fighting for” the reforms advocated by Pentagon leaders. One would slow the growth in the basic allowance for housing below the rate of inflation over the next three years so that the benefit only covers 95 percent of average rental costs. The other would increase pharmacy co-pays for prescriptions filled outside of military treatment facilities …

Incoming Armed Services Chairs Decry Strict Spending Caps

  • November 19, 2014
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Rep. Mac Thornberry (R-Texas), who will lead the House Armed Services Committee starting in January, on Wednesday urged his fellow lawmakers to reverse the stringent spending caps imposed on the Pentagon by the Budget Control Act. “Obviously that’s a big issue. [The] Armed Services Committee cannot solve that problem, but it needs to be solved and so working with others, we’re going to do our best to try to solve it,” Thornberry told reporters, according to the Hill. After being selected by the House Republican Steering Committee for the chairmanship on Tuesday, the House Republican conference affirmed his selection on Wednesday …

California Lawmakers Rattled by Hagel’s BRAC Remarks

  • November 18, 2014
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Southern California lawmakers remain skeptical that Congress will authorize a new BRAC round in the near future; nevertheless, they were caught off guard when Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said on Sunday that additional base closures are needed to free up spending for more pressing requirements. “Just the fact that he was at Fort Irwin when he did it, obviously raised my blood pressure quite a bit,” said Rep. Paul Cook (R). “Maybe he doesn’t realize how sensitive [the issue] is …

Pentagon Will Request a New BRAC Round in FY’16 Budget, Hagel Indicates

  • November 17, 2014
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During multiple stops this weekend, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel underscored the need for a new BRAC round as one way for the Defense Department to mitigate the fiscal constraints imposed by the Budget Control Act spending caps. “Despite numerous efforts and almost 10 years since the last round, DOD has been unable to secure another round of base realignment and closure. Today, DOD has 24 percent excess capacity in our basing and facilities — excess capacity that is costing us billions of dollars every year, money that could otherwise be invested in maintaining our military’s edge. We need Congress to help end this excess spending …

Armed Services Panels Close in on Compromise Bill

  • November 17, 2014
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The leaders of the House and Senate Armed Services Committees are aiming shortly to finish hammering out an agreement on a fiscal 2015 compromise defense authorization bill after negotiations stalled Friday. The chairmen and ranking members of each chamber’s panel continued to meet Monday to settle high profile issues, with the Army’s plan to shift 192 Apache attack helicopters from the National Guard to the active Army representing one of the most contentious sticking point …

DOD May Ask for $60B over Spending Caps for FY’16, Report Says

  • November 17, 2014
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The Defense Department’s base budget request for fiscal 2016 may exceed the Budget Control Act spending cap for that year by up to $60 billion, Defense News reported Sunday. In recent months senior officials have been saying that the FY 2016 budget would exceed that year’s $535 billion cap on defense, but the exact magnitude of the disparity had not been clear. But despite the Republican Party controlling the House and Senate next year, the prospects for Congress to offer the Pentagon relief from the stringent spending caps remain low, according to analysts as well as current and former lawmakers …

Army to Schedule Listening Sessions for Second Round of Troop Cuts

  • November 16, 2014
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The Army’s plan to shrink its active-duty end strength to 420,000 soldiers by fiscal 2020 will not require it to conduct an environmental impact statement, officials announced last week after concluding the realignment will not result in significant environmental impacts. The Army’s decision to issue a final “Finding of No Significant Impact” had been expected and means officials can begin to hold local community listening sessions to receive public input that will be considered when making force structure decisions. Officials also will rely on the analysis of environmental and socioeconomic impacts performed for the supplemental programmatic environmental assessment released in June to identify specific units and organizations that will be reduced in the upcoming years …

Lawmakers Shoot Down Air Force Compromise over A-10 Retirements

  • November 13, 2014
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Congressional advocates of the A-10 Warthog likely will reject an Air Force compromise to retire only 72 of the close air support aircraft, based on comments made Thursday at a media event rallying support for the aircraft. “I’ll give them this, they’re persistent,” Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.) said of the Air Force’s offer to retire only part of its A-10 Warthog fleet. “And even when they have heard directly from both bodies, they have continued to push this retirement, despite the fact that we are going to have a gap in capability at a time when the world has become even more dangerous for those who serve us on the ground …

Conservatives Could Upset Plans for an Omnibus

  • November 12, 2014
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The staffs of the House and Senate Appropriations committees are continuing to work toward an early December deadline to complete a fiscal 2015 omnibus spending bill for the entire federal government, but at the same time conservative lawmakers may act to disrupt those plans. The latest hurdle standing in the way of an omnibus is an effort by conservatives to include language blocking the president from taking executive action on immigration. Rep. Matt Salmon (R- Ariz.) has attracted the signature of 50 colleagues on a letter asking appropriators to include language barring the use of funds to carry out an executive order …

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