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 April 23, 2014

News: U.S. conducts spy flights over Russia - After a tit-for-tat series of delays, the United States conducted an Open Skies Treaty intelligence flight over Russian territory April 21, a State Department official said.  Army paratroopers heading to Poland after Russian annexation of Crimea - U.S. Army paratroopers are arriving in Poland to begin a series of...
 
 

News Briefs April 23, 2014

U.S. military deaths in Afghanistan at 2,177 As of April 22, 2014, at least 2,177 members of the U.S. military had died in Afghanistan as a result of the U.S.-led invasion of Afghanistan in late 2001, according to an Associated Press count. The AP count is one less than the Defense Department’s tally. At least...
 
 

Australia lifts F-35 order from 14 to 72 fighters

Australia announced April 23 that it had increased its order for F-35 Joint Strike Fighters by 58 to 72 to be fully operational by 2023 in a declaration of confidence in the troubled stealth war plane. The government expects the additional 58 U.S. jets, developed by Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Co., will cost 12.4 billion Australian...
 

 

Textron eliminating 750 Cessna, Beechcraft jobs

Just over a month after buying Beechcraft for $1.4 billion, Textron announced 750 job cuts at that company and at its Cessna division. The layoffs will occur over the next 60 days. Both aircraft makers are based in Wichita, Kansas, and Textron says about 575 of the affected jobs are based in Kansas. Management and...
 
 

Headlines April 21, 2014

News: Former Ranger breaks silence on Pat Tillman death: I may have killed him - Almost 10 years after the friendly fire death of former NFL star turned Army Ranger Pat Tillman, a fellow ranger admits that he may have been the one who fired the fatal shot.   Business: Ship study should favor existing designs -...
 
 

News Briefs April 21, 2014

Navy OKs changes for submariners’ sleep schedules The U.S. Navy has endorsed changes to submarine sailors’ schedules based on research into sleep patterns by a military laboratory in Connecticut. With no sunlight to set day apart from night on a submarine, the Navy for decades has staggered sailors’ working hours on schedules with little resemblance...
 




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>