In the news...

June 12, 2013

Panel rejects request for military base closings

Richard Lardner
Associated Press

Another round of military base closings has hit a dead end.

A Senate panel June 11 approved legislation rejecting the Defense Department’s request to shutter installations and facilities in the United States that are no longer needed as the military branches cut the number of troops in uniform.

The House Armed Services Committee last week also said no to more base closings, and even took the additional step of adding a provision barring the Pentagon from even planning for another round.

The House and Senate refusals effectively ensure that a final defense policy bill approved by Congress for the 2014 fiscal year won’t give the department permission to close excess bases even as lawmakers clamor for ways to cut the federal deficit.

Defense Department leaders have argued the troop drawdown will leave them with more installations than they need. The money saved by closing unused facilities can be spent on training and other essential operations.

But military installations are often the economic lifeblood of the communities that surround them and any discussion about shutting bases is a political hot button.

Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H., the chairwoman of the Senate Armed Services readiness subcommittee, said the upfront costs of starting a new round of closures are too high.

The Pentagon’s budget for the 2014 fiscal year sought $2.4 billion over five years to cover the initial expense of base closings. Decisions on which bases to close would start to be made in 2015 and implemented a year later, according to the military’s plan.

But Sen. Kelly Ayotte, the subcommittee’s top Republican, said the last round of base closings in 2005 ended up costing $13 billion more than estimated.

To put that in perspective, that’s three fewer nuclear submarines or seven fewer destroyers for our undersized Navy fleet, Ayotte said

To help offset the negative impact of the automatic spending cuts on the readiness of the armed forces, the readiness subcommittee trimmed $1.3 billion from unspecified military construction projects and another $400 million in ìexcessî spending for operations and maintenance. The $1.7 billion total is being ìput back into critical readiness accounts for all the services in an attempt to restore flying hours, steaming days, unit training and essential depot maintenance in our hangars and shipyards,î Shaheen said.

The automatic cuts, known as sequestration in Washington speak, kicked in March 1 and are the result of Congress’ failure to trim the deficit by $1.2 trillion over a decade.

The Pentagon must reduce its 2013 budget by roughly $41 billion by the end of the fiscal year on Sept. 30. The reductions have forced the military to furlough hundreds of thousands of civilian workers and scale back essential training and maintenance programs.

If sequestration remains in effect, the Pentagon likely will have to cut $52 billion from its 2014 budget to meet the numbers dictated by the law, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel told the Senate Appropriations defense subcommittee Tuesday.

And, if there are no changes, continued sequestration will result in roughly $500 billion in additional reductions to defense spending over the next 10 years, Hagel said.

Separately, the military also has to absorb a $487 billion reduction in defense spending over the next 10 years mandated by the Budget Control Act passed in 2011.




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 

Headlines May 22, 2015

News: Second Marine killed in Hawaii Osprey crash identified - Marine Corps officials have identified the second Marine to die as a result of the May 17 MV-22B Osprey crash as Lance Cpl. Matthew J. Determan of Maricopa, Ariz.   Business: Israel defense exports plunge to seven-year low - Israeli defense sales last year plunged to their...
 
 

News Briefs May 22, 2015

Ukrainian officer hit with third charge in Russia A third charge has been filed against a Ukrainian military officer who has been behind bars in Moscow for nearly a year over the deaths of two Russian journalists in Ukraine. Nadezhda Savchenko, who worked as a spotter for Ukrainian troops fighting separatist rebels in eastern Ukraine,...
 
 

Headlines May 20, 2015

News: Top secret X-37B space plane blasts off on fourth mission - One of the most mysterious craft ever to go into orbit blasted off on a top secret mission this morning.   Business: R&D budget request rises for U.S. Special Operations - The leadership of U.S. Special Operations Command said the force and its acquisitions –...
 

 

News Briefs May 20, 2015

North Korea ‘many years’ from developing submarine missile A top U.S. military officer says North Korea is many years away from being able to launch ballistic missiles from a submarine. But vice chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, Adm. James Winnefeld, said May 19 such missiles could eventually present a hard-to-detect danger to...
 
 

House panel approves $578.6 billion for defense spending

The House panel that decides defense spending approved a $578.6 billion blueprint May 19 that fully funds a 2.3 percent pay raise for military men and women, prevents the retirement of the A-10 aircraft that protects ground troops and funds the U.S. fight against terrorism. The spending bill, which mirrors the broad defense policy bill...
 
 

News Briefs May 18, 2015

Military leaders gather in Hawaii to talk amphibious skills Amphibious military capabilities are on the agenda as the U.S. Marine Corps and Navy host defense leaders from around the Pacific in Hawaii this week. The first-of-its kind meeting comes as territorial disputes over islands grow more heated in the region. U.S. treaty allies Japan and...
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>