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 18, 2014

Business: Lockheed to Lose 17 F-35s Under Automatic Pentagon Cuts - Pentagon will cut 17 of the 343 F-35 fighters it planned to buy from Lockheed Martin in fiscal 2016 through 2019 unless Congress repeals automatic budget cuts, according to a new Defense Department report. DOD looking for ways not to break MH-60R helo deal - The...
 
 

News Briefs April 18, 2013

U.S. military deaths in Afghanistan at 2,177 As of April 15, 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. At least 1,802 military service members have died in Afghanistan as a result...
 
 
LM-F35-hours

F-35 fleet surpasses 15,000 flying hours

The Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II fleet recently surpassed 15,000 flight hours, marking a major milestone for the program.  “Flying 15,000 hours itself demonstrates that the program is maturing, but what I think is e...
 

 
nasa-cassini

NASA Cassini images may reveal birth of new Saturn moon

NASA’s Cassini spacecraft has documented the formation of a small icy object within the rings of Saturn that may be a new moon, and may also provide clues to the formation of the planet’s known moons. Images taken w...
 
 

NASA completes LADEE mission with planned impact on Moon’s surface

Ground controllers at NASA’s Ames Research Center in Moffett Field, Calif., have confirmed that NASA’s Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer spacecraft impacted the surface of the moon, as planned, between 9:30 and 10:22 p.m., PDT, April 17. LADEE lacked fuel to maintain a long-term lunar orbit or continue science operations and was intentionally sent...
 
 
Photograph courtesy of NASA Ames/SETI Institute/JPL-Caltech

NASA’s Kepler telescope discovers first Earth-size planet in ‘habitable zone’

Photograph courtesy of NASA Ames/SETI Institute/JPL-Caltech Kepler-186f resides in the Kepler-186 system about 500 light-years from Earth in the constellation Cygnus. The system is also home to four inner planets, seen lined up...
 




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>