Tuesday, December 20, 2011

12/16/11 RD Bulletin: Hawks Ramp Up Efforts to Spare DoD From Cuts

State of Play

Legislative: A group of conservative senators held a press conference on Wednesday where they vowed to introduce legislation next year that would reduce the deficit while sparing the Defense Department from sequestration cuts and avoiding raising new government revenue.  Meanwhile, HASC Chairman Buck McKeon (R-CA) has introduced legislation (H.R. 3662) that would prevent all sequestration cuts for one year by cutting the federal workforce by ten percent.  Congressional leaders appear to have avoided a federal funding lapse, agreeing to a last-minute omnibus appropriations bill to fund the government through September 2012.  However, the measure could still be held hostage by the unresolved payroll tax cut extension.  The House and Senate have completed action on the conference report for the annual defense authorization bill – sending the measure to the President’s desk for his "reluctant" signature.  The White House had dropped an earlier veto threat despite FBI reservations about detainee provisions contained in the legislation.

Executive: Speaking in Iraq yesterday, Secretary Panetta declared an end to the U.S. military mission in the country.  This comes one day after Panetta declared that the United States is “winning” in Afghanistan.  Bloomberg Government reports that Secretary Panetta has required Pentagon officials preparing the upcoming strategy review to sign non-disclosure agreements.  President Obama has notified members of Congress, pursuant to the War Powers Resolution, that Special Forces in Africa are ready to begin forward deploying in host countries to assist in the capture or killing of the head of the Lord’s Resistance Army.  An investigation by the Air Force into a fatal F-22 crash has blamed the pilot for not being able to switch on his emergency oxygen supply system when multiple systems failed shutting down primary oxygen supply.  


The Will and the Wallet: Shell Games
Russell Rumbaugh covers the latest shifting of funds from DoD and State Department base budgets into the OCO account in the omnibus appropriations bill for FY12.  (12/15/11)

Project on Government Oversight:
Leaked Pentagon Report Reveals Slew of Joint Strike Fighter Problems
Nick Schwellenbach reports on the F-35 recently leaked “quick look review” and questions the large amount of concurrency built into the JSF program.   (12/15/11)

The Will and the Wallet:
Bad Recipe
The defense authorization bill directs the Pentagon to craft Quadrennial Defense Reviews without consideration of budget constraints prompting Matthew Leatherman to warn that “strategy and spending are inseparable.”  (12/15/11)

AOL Defense: House, Senate GOP To Team Up on Deficit Plan, McKeon Says
Carlo Munoz covers recent and planned efforts by the GOP to spare the Defense Department from sequestration cuts mandated by the Budget Control Act.  (12/15/11)

Other News and Commentary

Foreign Policy: After its EFV and Aviation Blunders, the Marine Corps Needs to Strive to Regain Its Old Reputation of Doing More With Less
After allowing three major weapons systems to consume the majority of its procurement budget, retired Marine Corps Colonel T.X. Hammes argues that the service needs to refocus on combining “value for money and readiness to fight.”  (12/16/11)

USA Today: Senators Throttle Pentagon Over $720M in Late Container Fees
Over the past ten years, the Pentagon has paid $720 million in late fees to container companies for failing to return shipping containers on time.  (12/15/11)

DoD Buzz: Can Congress Save the QDR?
Rep. J Randy Forbes (R-VA) offered an amendment to the defense authorization bill, which was adopted, declaring “the QDR a critical strategic document that should not be influenced by budget pressures.”  (12/115/11)

DoD Buzz: Eisenhower’s Nightmare
SASC Ranking Member McCain took to the Senate Floor this week to blast the military industrial complex, including over-cost, troubled weapons systems like the F-22, V-22, F-35, Littoral Combat Ship, and DDG-1000.  (12/15/11)

Government Executive:
Final Defense Bill Contains Key Contractor Provisions
The annual defense authorization act expands an existing cap on reimbursements for contractor personnel to cover all contractors instead of just the five highest paid employees at a contracting firm.  (12/14/11)

Stars and Stripes: Air Force Easing Civilian Hiring Freeze
The Air Force has formally ended a civilian hiring freeze that began this past August, and has cut by 9,000 its civilian workforce.  (12/14/11)

Danger Room: Buyer’s Remorse: How Much Has the F-22 Really Cost?
David Axe sifts through different estimates for the F-22’s per-unit cost, and reminds the reader that the multi-hundred-million dollar aircraft has never flown in combat.  (12/14/11)

New York Times: U.S. Troops Could Stay in Afghanistan Past Decline, Envoy Says
While acknowledging that no final decisions have been made, U.S. Ambassador to Afghanistan, Ryan Crocker, admitted recently that U.S. troops may remain in a combat role in Afghanistan past the planned-2014 exit date.  (12/10/11)

Reports and Publications:

Government Accountability Office:
DOD Health Care: Actions Needed to Ensure Full Compliance and Complete Documentation for Physician Credentialing and Privileging  (12/15/11)

Government Accountability Office:
Nuclear Proliferation: Action Needed to Address NNSA’s Program Management and Coordination Challenges (12/14/11)

Center for American Progress:
It All Starts With Training: Crisis Prevention and U.S. Foreign Affairs Agencies
In a new report, CAP concludes that “improved training courses and professional development opportunities are critically needed at… the Department of State and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).”  (December 2011)

United States Air Force Scientific Advisory Board:
Report on Operating Next-Generation Remotely Piloted Aircraft for Irregular Warfare  (April 2011)