• Lawmakers Review Need for Overhauling Medical Facilities

    Lawmakers Review Need for Overhauling Medical Facilities0

    Military hospital commanders warned lawmakers on Wednesday against making drastic changes to a military health care system that allows a large degree of flexibility in training doctors and nurses. The witnesses acknowledged their hospitals could serve patients in a more timely manner, but said they are looking at innovative solutions to improve care, reported Military Times. “I would urge caution before we begin entertaining thoughts of changing the system. It works pretty well. Could it be better? Absolutely. Do we have to have better access? Absolutely,” said Army Col. Mike Place, commander of Madigan Army Medical Center, Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash. …

  • Defense Budget Degrades Military Capability, Thornberry Says0

    Mac Thornberry (R-Texas), chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, criticized the fiscal 2017 budget request that Defense Secretary Ash Carter outlined Tuesday for shortchanging national security. Carter included extra funds in the request to boost the U.S. footprint in Europe and wage the fight against the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq, but Thornberry slammed the secretary for failing to fund those priorities by sticking additional dollars in the department’s overseas contingency operations account. “The secretary should not be allowed to mislead anyone …

  • House Armed Services Pledges ‘Intense’ Schedule of Hearings in Run-up to Drafting Policy Bill

    House Armed Services Pledges ‘Intense’ Schedule of Hearings in Run-up to Drafting Policy Bill0

    The House Armed Services Committee will commence a “pretty intense” schedule of hearings in preparation for drafting the fiscal 2017 defense authorization bill after the Obama administration delivers its new budget request next week, Committee Chairman Mac Thornberry (R-Texas) told reporters Monday. The committee’s goal will be to complete work on the annual policy bill before appropriators start marking up annual spending measures, Thornberry said. “We’re going to be working pretty steadily over the next few weeks …

  • Funding Constraints Impede Range Modernization for Marine Corps, Officials Say

    Funding Constraints Impede Range Modernization for Marine Corps, Officials Say0

    The tradeoffs required for the Marine Corps to cope with stringent budget caps over the past several years have come at the expense of efforts to upgrade its training ranges to handle new operational challenges, senior officials from the service told the House Armed Services’ Readiness Subcommittee last month. “In recognition of the currently constrained fiscal environment, the Marine Corps has been required to sacrifice further range modernization for the sustainment and recapitalization of existing capacities and capabilities,” Maj. Gen. Charles Hudson, commander of Marine Corps Installations Command and assistant deputy commandant for installations and logistics, said during a Dec. 3 hearing on the impact of reduced funding for infrastructure and installation support …

  • House Rules Sends Policy Measure on to Floor Debate0

    The House Rules Committee voted late Wednesday night to send the fiscal 2016 defense authorization bill to the chamber floor to start debate today on the underlying measure along with 135 amendments. One of the most divisive amendments allowed would strike language encouraging the defense secretary to consider allowing recipients of the Obama administration’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program to serve in the military, reported the Hill. The amendment’s sponsor, Mo Brooks (R-Ala.), and 24 other Republican lawmakers had asked House Rules for the original language to be stricken from the defense policy measure because immigration issues are the responsibility of the Judiciary Committee …

  • Panel Votes to Rescue A-10 Fleet before Completing Authorization Bill Markup0

    After more than 18 hours of deliberations, the House Armed Services Committee early Thursday morning approved the fiscal 2016 defense authorization bill by a 60-2 vote. The legislation, which authorizes $523 billion in national security spending and $89 billion in funding for DOD’s overseas contingency operations account, now heads to the House floor later this month, reported the Hill. The measure rejects a number of cost-cutting reforms proposed by the Pentagon, including a request to hold a BRAC round in 2017, plans to trim support for commissaries and housing allowances for troops, and retiring the A-10 close air support jet …