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Pushing an aggressive appropriations schedule, the Senate passes the FY2017 Transportation/HUD and Military Construction/

ASMC National News - Thu, 2016-05-26 16:57

The Senate continues its aggressive effort to move FY2017 appropriations bills to completion. 

Last week the Senate passed the second and third appropriations bills for FY2017:  Transportation/HUD bill and Military Construction/Veterans Affairs (MilCon/VA).  The two bills were combined in a single bill and passed the Senate by a significant majority, 89-8.  The Senate passed its first FY2017 appropriations bill, Energy & Water on May 12.

In addition to providing appropriations for military construction spending in the Department of Defense (DoD), the VA, the Departments of Transportation and Housing and Urban Development, the bill also would make available $1.1 billion “for medical and public health preparedness and response capabilities related to the Zika virus.”

Touting the Senate’s progress on FY2017 appropriations bills, Senate Appropriations Committee (SAC) Chairman Sen. Thad Cochran (R-MS) said, “Senators have now worked through three appropriations bills and I look forward to additional cooperation as other FY2017 bills are brought to the [Senate] floor.”

The SAC has approved another five bills (Agriculture, Commerce/Justice/Science, DoD, Homeland Security, and Legislative), which are now ready for full Senate action.

The House also has proceeded apace on FY2017 appropriations bills.  To date, the full House has passed one FY2017 appropriations bill (Military Construction/VA), while another (Energy and Water) failed to achieve enough votes to pass.  The House Appropriations Committee (HAC) has approved another five bills (Agriculture, Commerce/Justice/Science, DoD, Legislative, and Transportation/HD) that await final action by the full House.

The Military Construction portion of the Senate MilCon/VA bill would provide $7.9 billion for military construction projects, family housing, Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC), and the NATO Security Investment Program.  This is $486 million above the FY2017 request.

The House-passed FY2017 MilCon/VA bill provides $250 million more than the request.

The Senate bill would provide $5.9 billion for active and reserve military construction projects: $5.2 billion for active components construction ($170 million above the request) and $673 million for guard and reserve components construction (the requested level). Funding in the bill for Family Housing totals $1.320 billion, the requested amount.

The bill would fund the requested amounts for the North Atlantic Treaty Organization Security Investment Program (NSIP), $187 million and Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC), $200 million

The Senate-passed bill includes another $515 million to be used by the military services for projects identified on the service’s unfunded priority list provided to Congress.

Funding totaling $200 million would be rescinded from prior-year programs if the bill became law.

Congratulations to this year’s top membership recruiters!

ASMC National News - Fri, 2016-05-20 08:16
Congratulations to this year's Recruiters of the Year, an award given to the one member in each chapter size category who recruited the highest number of new members. These six dedicated members recruited almost 50 new members in a combined total.

This year's winners are:

  • Kimberly Cyr, Hampton Roads Chapter (A1)
  • Lawrence Leffler, Washington Chapter (A1)
  • Elodie Hicks, Middle Georgia Chapter (A)
  • Christina Diana Crisostomo, Land of Lincoln Chapter (A)
  • Beverly Hysmith, Greater Jacksonville Chapter (B)
  • Hiep Mai, West Central Louisiana Chapter (C)

House passes FY2017 Defense Authorization bill after White House veto threat

ASMC National News - Thu, 2016-05-19 15:48

Yesterday, the House passed its version of the FY2017 Defense Authorization bill, (H.R.4909) 277-147.  In the final vote, 40 Democrats joined 237 Republicans in the affirmative, while only five Republicans along with 142 Democrats voted against passage, 

House Armed Services Committee Chairman Rep Mac Thornberry (R-TX) said the bill protects U.S. national security by “beginning to correct shortfalls in our military readiness, reversing troop cuts, increasing investments in training and maintenance programs, and rebuilding crumbling facilities.”

During its two-day consideration of the bill, the House considered 180 floor amendments of which 170 were approved. Earlier, the House Rules Committee struck a provision from the House Armed Services Committee-approved bill that would have required women to register for the draft.

The House bill authorizes $543.4 billion for the Department of Defense (DoD) and the Department of Energy (DoE) nuclear weapons program. The authorized amount for the base DoD budget would be $523.6 billion, essentially the same as the president's request.

The bill authorizes $35.7 billion for Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO) available until April 2017.  After that the new Administration would, if needed, have to request additional OCO funds for FY2017.  The president's request included $58.8 billion for OCO in FY2017. 

The House bill would also authorize another $23.1 billion in OCO funding to be used for base budget requirements.  The administration request assumes that only $5 million of OCO funds will be used to pay for additional troops and readiness funding not included in the president’s budget request.

This approach to funding OCO caused the White House to issue a veto threat.  The Statement of Administration Policy (SAP) called it “dangerous” and “wasteful.”  “By gambling with warfighting funds, the bill risks the safety of our men and women fighting to keep American safe, [and] undercuts stable planning,” according to the SAP.  Secretary of Defense Ash Carter called the proposal a “raid on war funding that risks stability.”

The White House also takes strong issue with the bill’s restrictions on detainees at Guantanamo Bay, failure to adopt a proposal to begin another Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) round, and rejection of reform proposals for military compensation and health care. 

The House bill provides military personnel with a 2.1 percent pay raise, 0.5 percentage points higher than the administration's 1.6 percent request.  The bill also would increase active duty strength by 27,000 over the president's budget request and set total Army Guard and Reserve strength levels 25,000 higher than the request.

The bill adds funding for 14 more F/A-18's, 11 F-35s, three C-130J, and two MV-22 aircraft.  The bill also funds additional Army AH-64 and UH-60M helicopters and two more ships (one LCS and one DDG-51).  The bill rejects the administration’s proposal to retire the A-10 fleet and replace it with F-35’s.

House Appropriations committee approves FY2017 DoD spending bill

ASMC National News - Wed, 2016-05-18 17:28

Yesterday, the House Appropriations Committee (HAC) approved the FY2017 Department of Defense (DoD) Appropriations bill. The HAC bill would provide $517 billion for the DoD base budget (excluding military construction).

Committee chairman Rep. Hal Rogers (R-KY) said the bill “provides the resources needed to keep our military trained and well equipped, to ensure success in our missions now and in the future.”

The HAC followed the House Armed Services Committee’s (HASC) plan for funding Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO) only through April 2017 and using some requested OCO funding for base budget requirements.  The HAC bill would appropriate $42.9 billion for OCO requirements and another $15.7 billion to be used to meet base budget requirements.  This total for OCO matches the president’s $58.6 billion OCO request.

The HASC plan for funding OCO was one of the reasons the administration’s Statement of Administration’s Policy (SAP) cited for a potential veto of the HASC bill and will probably draw a veto threat on the HAC bill. Secretary of Defense Ash Carter called the proposal a “raid on war funding that risks stability and gambles with war funding.”

The HAC bill includes an additional $340 million to fund a 2.1 percent military pay raise that is authorized in the HASC-approved bill.  The president’s budget requests a 1.6 percent pay raise for military personnel.  The HAC also would fund the higher active duty (+27,000) and guard and reserve (+25,000) strength levels that would be authorized in the HASC bill.

The base budget bill would fund the Defense Health Program (DHP) at $33.4 billion, $100 million above the request, but another $450 million for base requirements in funded in the HAC OCO account.

Funding in the HAC bill for Operations and Maintenance (O&M) programs would total $179.3 billion for the base budget, about $2.4 billion above the total O&M request. OCO O&M funding of $30 billion includes $5.6 billion for base requirements.  The increase in the base bill funding includes $6.4 billion more than requested for readiness, $1.6 billion more for facility, sustainment, restoration, and modernization programs and another $750 million for depot maintenance.

The HAC bill would provide $104.2 billion for base budget procurement programs ($2.3 billion above the request).  OCO procurement funding totals $16.6 billion, with $7.3 billion for base requirements (including $3.1 billion for shipbuilding and conversion).  The bill would fund the procurement of 15 ships (including three Littoral Combat Ships), 74 F-35 aircraft, 16 F/A-18E/F planes, 72 UH-60 helicopters, 15 KC-46 tanker aircraft, and 123 Stryker upgrades.

Research and development (R&D) funding in the base budget would be $70.3 billion ($1.1 billion less than the request) with another $163 million for base requirements in OCO funding.  Major programs receiving R&D base budget funding include: the new Air Force bomber; a next generation JSTARS aircraft; RQ-4 Triton Unmanned Aerial Vehicle; the Ohio-class submarine replacement; and STRYKER lethality.

The bill rescinds $1.95 billion from prior-year programs in the base bill and $669 million in in prior-year rescissions from OCO funding.  The HAC also would achieve savings of $1.5 billion from lower fuel costs, and almost $600 million because of more favorable economic conditions.

The bill is now ready for consideration by the full House.

Senate committee approves the FY2017 Defense Authorization bill with major organizational and acquisition reforms

ASMC National News - Fri, 2016-05-13 15:47

Yesterday, the Senate Armed Services Committee (SASC) approved (23-3) its version of the FY2017 Defense Authorization bill.

The bill authorizes force levels, programs, and policies (including military pay raises) for DoD budgets and the programs and policies for the Department of Energy (DoE) nuclear weapons program.  Appropriations bills provide actual funding.

SASC Chair Sen, John McCain (R-AZ) praised the “collaborative, bipartisan process” that led to the committee’s approval.  He called the bill one of reform and innovation saying the bill “contains the most sweeping reforms of the organization of the Department of Defense in a generation” and” refocuses Pentagon leadership on preserving America’s military technological advantage and advances reforms to the defense acquisition system to harness American innovation.”

The SASC bill authorizes total of $602 billion, including $543 billion for the FY2017 DoD base budget and the DOE nuclear weapons program and $59 billion for Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO) costs in FY2017, the same amount requested by the president for OCO.  The House Armed Services Committee’s (HASC) bill provides only $36 billion for OCO through April 2017. The White House and DoD Secretary Ash Carter have been highly critical of the HASC approach to funding OCO for only part of FY2017.

The SASC approves the president’s request for a 1.6 percent military pay raise, rather than the 2.1 percent military raise included in the House Armed Services Committee (HASC) bill.  The SASC also did not follow the HASC in increasing the authorized active duty and reserve strength levels.  In another difference with the HASC, the SASC would authorize three new TRICARE health plans—TRICARE Prime, TRICARE Choice, and TRICARE Supplemental.  The HASC bill provides two TRICARE options—TRICARE Prime and TRICARE Preferred.

Citing the significant changes in the “strategic landscape” since the Goldwater Nichols Act was passed 30 years ago, the SASC bill seeks to recalibrate “the roles and missions of the senior officials in DoD, as well as their relationships with each other.”  The bill limits the National Security Council (NSC) staff of “permanently assigned professional staff and detailees from DoD and other U.S. departments and agencies” to 150.  The SASC also clarified the role of the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (CJCS) emphasizing joint readiness and leadership.

The bill would clarify the primary duties of the Combatant Commanders (COCOMs) “to execute the national defense strategy in consultation with the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, to prepare and plan for conflict, to take necessary actions to deter conflict, and command U.S. armed forces in combat.”  The SASC would establish a Combatant Commanders Council (COCOMs, Chairman and Vice Chairman of the JCS, and the Secretary of Defense) to assist in the execution of strategy and the global integration of military activities.  The Secretary of Defense would convene the council and set the agenda.

The bill would reduce by 25 percent the number of general and flag officers and cut the number of authorized four-star billets from the current 41 to 27.  The committee believes that the general and flag officer corps “has become increasingly out of balance with the size of the force it leads.”  The bill also would reduce the number of Senior Executive Service (SES) civilian employees by 25 percent.  In keeping with these reductions the bill would reduce spending on contractors by 25 percent by January 2019 from a FY2016 baseline.

The SASC bill continues the committee’s acquisition reform efforts by focusing on improving acquisition outcomes.  The bill establishes accountability, assesses new sources of innovation, removes unnecessary processes and requirements., adopts best business practices, and improves the acquisition workforce.

The bill would replace the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics (AT&L) with an Under Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering (R&E) and an Under Secretary of Defense of Management and Support.  The bill would also create a new Assistant Secretary of Defense for Acquisition Policy and Oversight to set defense-wide acquisition and industrial base policy eliminate four Assistant Secretaries and three Deputy Assistant Secretaries.

To improve access to commercial and global innovation, the bill includes provisions “to improve rapid acquisition authority and rapid prototyping and rapid field processes.”  Regulation of commercial items and off the-shelf commercial items is streamlined under the bill.  The SASC would also establish a preference for commercial services.

The bill would establish a preference for fixed-price contracts.  To curb the use of cost-type contracts, the bill would assess military department and agency heads a penalty for using of some cost-type contracts awarded over the next five years.

To improve the acquisition workforce, the bill would authorize more flexible hiring and compensation practices, improve the Defense Acquisition Workforce Development Fund, and establish competitively-selected senior military acquisition advisors in the Defense Acquisition Corps.

Senate leaders have not announced a schedule for full Senate consideration of the SASC bill.

Announcing the 2015-2016 Corporate Member of the Year!

ASMC National News - Thu, 2016-05-12 22:53
This award recognizes Corporate Members for outstanding contributions made to a local Chapter and the National Organization in the furtherance of the goals of the chapter and the society. To be nominated for this award a Corporation must have been a corporate member for two consecutive years. 

Kearney & Company, P.C. - Distinguished Winner

Established in 1985, Kearney & Company, P.C. (Kearney) is currently the largest Certified Public Accounting (CPA) firm dedicated exclusively to Federal financial management (FM).  Approximately half of Kearney’s business consists of work within the Department of Defense (DoD) and the United States Coast Guard (USCG).  Our success relies heavily on supporting ASMC’s mission to provide education, training, development and advancement of the profession of military comptrollership in our staff and in the military.  In keeping with this mission, Kearney actively participates in offering professional development programs to ensure our team is informed and well-prepared, encouraging team members to join ASMC and recognizing those who obtain their CDFM. They actively participate in ASMC chapters, sponsor and exhibit at the National PDI, and personnel play key roles is ASMC committees.

Gen. David Goldfein nominated to be Air Force Chief of Staff

ASMC National News - Fri, 2016-05-06 15:35

The Pentagon announced last week that the president has nominated Gen David L. Goldfein to be the next Air Force Chief of Staff.

In making the announcement, Department of Defense (DoD) Secretary Ash Carter called Gen Goldfein “one of the most proven strategic thinkers across our joint force.”  “Dave’s extensive politico-military experience will be to our great benefit as we continue to accelerate our efforts to deal ISIL a lasting defeat,” Carter said.

Air Force Secretary Deborah Lee James said “General Goldfein possess the experience and vision needed to address dynamic global challenges and increasing military demand.”  Goldfein “knows how to build and sustain key partnerships, has important warfighting experience, and will exercise the critical judgement required to balance our manpower and resources as we shape tomorrow’s Air Force,” said James.

Gen. Goldfein is currently the Air Force Vice Chief of Staff, a position he has held since August 2015.  Prior to that he was Director of the Joint Staff (August 2013-August 2015), Commander of U.S. Air Force Central Command, Southwest Asia (August 2011-August 2013), and Director of Operations, Air Combat Command, Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Va.

Goldfein is a pilot (T-37, T38, F-16C/D, F-117A, MQ-9 and MC-12W) who has over 4,200 cockpit hours and has flown missions in the Balkans, Afghanistan, and Iraq. Air Force leadership jobs he has held include: Commander 555th Fighter Squadron, Aviano AB, Italy; Commander 366th Operations Group, Mountain Home AFB, Idaho; Commander 52nd Fighter Wing Spangdahlem AB, Germany; and Commander 49th Fighter Wing, Holloman AFB, N.M. 
In addition to serving as the Director of the Joint Staff, his other Joint assignments include Special Assistant to the Commander, Allied Air Forces Southern Europe and 16th Air Force, and executive officer to the Commander, Allied Air Forces Europe.
Goldfein, if confirmed by the Senate, would become the 21st Air Force Chief of Staff replacing Gen Mark Welsh A. Welsh III who is retiring. Welsh has been the Air Force Chief since August 2012.

2016 Chapter Award Winners Announced

ASMC National News - Fri, 2016-05-06 10:38

Congratulations to all the winning chapters shown below! Chapter Awards for 2016 will be presented at the PDI in Orlando, May 31 – June 3.

Overall Chapter Competition

A-1 Category

  • Distinguished – Alamo City
  • Meritorious – San Diego

A Category

  • Distinguished – Buckeye
  • Meritorious – Pikes Peak

B Category

  • Distinguished – Great River
  • Meritorious – Central NY Leatherstocking

C Category

  • Distinguished – West Central Louisiana
  • Meritorious – Coastal Georgia
Chapter Communications

A-1 Category

  • Distinguished – San Diego 
  • Meritorious – Alamo City

A Category

  • Distinguished – Buckeye
  • Meritorious – Gulf Coast

B Category

  • Distinguished – Great River
  • Meritorious – TBD

C Category

  • Distinguished – West Central Louisiana
  • Meritorious – Coastal Georgia
Five Star Recognition*
  • Alamo City
  • Aloha
  • Aviation
  • Buckeye
  • Central NY Leatherstocking
  • Chesapeake
  • Cleveland
  • Fort Knox
  • Forty Niner
  • Great Plains
  • Great River
  • Greater Jacksonville
  • Greater Stuttgart
  • Hampton Roads
  • High Desert
  • Land of Lincoln
  • Middle Georgia
  • Pikes Peak
  • Redstone – Huntsville
  • San Diego
  • Southside Virginia
  • Tampa Bay
  • Utah
  • Washington
  • West Central Louisiana
  • Yankee
Community Service The following chapters have demonstrated exceptional community service and have met the required number of hours in their chapter size category in the 2015 – 2016. (75, 100, 125, or  150 hours)
  • Alamo City
  • Aloha
  • Aviation
  • Buckeye
  • Chesapeake
  • Cleveland
  • Crown of Maine
  • Fort Knox
  • Great Plains
  • Great River
  • Greater Jacksonville
  • Gulf Coast
  • Hampton Roads
  • Land of Lincoln
  • Middle Georgia
  • Pikes Peak
  • Redstone – Huntsville
  • San Diego
  • Southside Virginia
  • Utah
  • Washington
  • West Central Louisiana
  • Yankee
Membership Growth

Absolute Growth – Washington

Percentage Growth – West Central Louisiana

*If a chapter president believes their chapter should be listed, please contact awards@asmconline.org to review the points and documents submitted by 12 May.

Member Continuing Education Grant Winners Announced

ASMC National News - Wed, 2016-05-04 19:56
Congratulations to the winners of this year's Continuing Education Grants! ASMC wishes the winners and all nominees much success in their academic endeavors.  

Dick Vincent Award $3,000 Recipient

Jennifer Miller, Washington

$1,250 Recipients

Kathleen Augustine, High Desert 

Steven Cardon, High Desert     

Mahmud Islam, Buckeye          

Teresa Kemp, Buckeye      

Antoinette Rosinski, Central New York Leatherstocking                         

Rhonda Wold, Land of Lincoln         

              

OMB issues FY2018 budget guidance to support transition to next administration

ASMC National News - Wed, 2016-05-04 11:45

Federal agencies will not formally prepare a FY2018 budget in September, according to a memorandum issued last week by Shaun Donovan, Director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB).

Donovan said OMB will “lay the groundwork" for the next budget by gathering “budget and programmatic information from which the incoming administration can develop its budget proposals.”

With a new administration coming into office next January, OMB has told agencies they will not submit a budget request in September, as is usually the case, and OMB will not do a formal review or issue a budget “Passback” this year.  Rather, OMB will “prepare a budget database that includes a complete current services baseline.” 

Agencies will also not have to submit the usual set of policy materials that support budget requests until the new administration is “in place.”  However, agencies may be asked to provide some information on selected issues.

OMB said that agencies should continue with “internal review procedures” for the FY2018 budget and work with OMB staff by providing recurring and non-recurring cost information and personnel levels and costs so they can develop program-level current services estimates.  Agencies will also work with OMB to” identify key programmatic and budget issues that may require attention from the incoming administration.”

Agencies will also not have to submit the FY2018 performance plan, but should continue with internal review procedures so that the next administration can produce performance plans.

OMB directed agencies to continue to meet scheduled reporting requirements for information technology (IT) and cybersecurity.

A revised OMB Circular A-11 will be issued in June to include transition-related updates.  During the transition after the election OMB will issue guidance on policy development and the timing for submitting FY2018 agency requests.

ASMC Early Careerist Community Service Event

ASMC National News - Tue, 2016-05-03 14:32

The Washington Chapter of the American Society for Military Comptrollers (ASMC) participated in an event hosted by the Chesapeake & Ohio (C&O) Canal Trust National Historical Park and the National Park Services at Great Falls, Potomac, Maryland, on April 23, 2016. The group, about 15 chapter members, enjoyed 4 plus hours of adding new and fresh mulch to the park's picnic area and appreciated welcoming spring 2016. Afterwards the volunteers chowed down on some delicious BBQ! The event was part of one of many opportunities for ASMC Early Careerist activities to meet and fellowship. Keep a look out for upcoming community events and happy hours hosted by the Early Careerist.

(Pictured from left to right: Kathryne Rechel, Mike Sweeney, Stephanie Weatherspoon, Rennie Rechel, Tommy Marrero Cartagena, Daron Rechel, Cassandra Adams, Lisa Buhler, Robert Adams, Sarah Mazur, Kyle Brown, Kristen Walker, Savannah Hollister, Julie Johns, Jim Rish)

Congratulations to the winners of the 2015-16 Essay Contest

ASMC National News - Sat, 2016-04-30 22:22

Congratulations to the winners of this year's member essay contest!

This year's winners wrote essays on the current topic of:  “Identifying and adopting best practices can improve performance. Describe best practices from your career that may improve DOD financial management.” Congratulations to the winners – and watch for the winning essays soon.

First Place

Col Steven Minkin, Washington Chapter

Colonel Steven Minkin is the Chief of Budget Operations and Integration at  the Air Force Pentagon in Washington D.C. He holds a Doctorate in Management  from the University of Phoenix, and has been published in numerous journals  for his work on leadership and virtual teams. Colonel Minkin has served as the Chapter President for the Aloha Chapter in Hawaii and served as Adjunct  Faculty for the University of Phoenix's MBA and M.Ed. program.

Second Place

Jennifer Miller, CDFM-A, Gulf Coast Chapter

Jennifer Miller is a Deputy Branch Chief and Cost Analyst at the National Guard Bureau Headquarters in Virginia. In this role she serves both the Army and the Air Force. Prior to her current opportunity, she served in weapons systems program offices at Eglin Air Force Base, Headquarters Army Special Operations Command, and offices of Maxwell Air Force Base as a PALACE Acquire. Jennifer is a Certified Government Financial Manager affiliated with the Gulf Coast chapter of ASMC; a Certified Defense Financial Manager with acquisition specialty; and doctorate of business administration student.  

Third Place

Ginger L. Schmid, CDFM, Washington Chapter

Ginger Schmid serves as a Budget Analyst for the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense (Comptroller) Operations directorate.  She is a Certified Defense Financial Manager, has her Level 3 Financial Management Certification,  and is a member of the American Society of Military Comptrollers.  She holds a  master's degree in Business Administration from George Mason University and a bachelor's degree in Business Management from the Midwestern State  University.

ASMC is saddened over the loss of one of our own, the Honorable Helen Virginia Thomas McCoy.

ASMC National News - Fri, 2016-04-29 14:27

ASMC is saddened over the loss of one of our own, the Honorable Helen Virginia Thomas McCoy, a former Assistant Secretary of the Army (Financial Management and Comptroller), passed on April 1, 2016 – sincere condolences to her family and friends. (Full Obituary)

House committee approves FY2017 Defense Authorization bill with more base budget funds and a 2.1 percent military pay raise

ASMC National News - Thu, 2016-04-28 16:40

The House Armed Services Committee (HASC) today approved (60-2) the FY2017 Defense Authorization Bill (H.R. 4909). The HASC bill authorizes $543.4 billion for the Department of Defense (DoD) and the Department of Energy (DoE) nuclear weapons program. The authorized amount for the base DoD budget would be $523.6 billion, essentially the same as the president’s request.

HASC Chairman Rep Mac Thornberry (R-TX) praised the bipartisan vote on the bill. “It is encouraging that for the 55th straight year, this Committee can come together, work through difficult issues, and pass a defense policy bill that supports our servicemembers and our national security,” he said. Thornberry emphasized that the bill “stops cuts to our Armed Forces, provides a pay raise for our troops, and makes major reforms in several critical areas, including military health care, the commissary system, the Uniform Code of Military Justice, and the acquisition system.

The bill authorizes $35.7 billion for Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO) available until April 2017. After that the new Administration would, if needed, have to request additional OCO funds for FY2017. The president’s request included $58.8 billion for OCO in FY2017.

The HASC bill also authorizes another $23.1 billion in OCO funding to be used for base budget requirements. The administration request assumes that only $5 billion of OCO funds will be used for base requirements. Providing this amount brings the total funding authorized by the HASC for DoD in FY2017 to $602 billion, equal to the administrations request.

The HASC uses this extra base budget funding, which would not be counted against the budget cap because OCO funding is considered emergency, to pay for additional troops and readiness funding not included in the presidents budget request.

The HASC bill provides military personnel with a 2.1 percent pay raise, 0.5 percentage points higher than the administration’s 1.6 percent request. The bill rejects administration proposals for new fees for military retirees and enrollment fees for TRICARE for Life. The committee also approved giving at least 14 days leave to servicemembers whose spouses give birth. Also, couples who are both in the military and adopt a child would get two weeks leave.

The bill would increase active duty strength by 27,000 over the president’s budget request (20,000 for the Army, 3,000 for the Marine Corps, an 4,000 for the Air Force). The HASC would also set total Army Guard and Reserve strength levels 25,000 higher than the administration requested.

The HASC rejected an administration proposal to initiate another Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) round. The committee dismissed DoD’s recent report on facilities and force structure levels as not realistically describing the needed future force structure. HASC Ranking Minority member Rep. Adam Smith (D-WA) introduced an amendment to establish a base closure commission for another BRAC round. However, as he did last year, Smith withdrew the amendment before a vote could be taken.

The full committee added a provision on a vote of 32-30 that would require the registration of women for the draft. The amendment, offered by Rep Duncan Hunter (R-CA) who opposes drafting women, was proposed to openly discuss the issue. Opponents of drafting women hope that this provision will be soundly defeated on the House floor.

The HASC bill adds funding for 14 more F/A-18′s, 11 F-35s, three C-130J, and two MV-22 aircraft. The bill also funds additional Army AH-64 and UH-60M helicopters and two more ships (one LCS and one DDG-51).

The committee-approved bill rejects the administration’s proposal to retire the A-10 fleet and replace it with F-35’s.

The HASC bill includes acquisition reform proposals that accelerates the fielding of new technology more efficiently. It requires the design of weapon systems with open architectures to allow for easier upgrades. The plan also provides flexible funding to allow experimentation of new technologies and simplifies processes to expand “new avenues of competition for suppliers of all sizes,” according to the committee. The bill would provide DoD with “more tools to manage and and approve cost, schedule, and technological risk for major acquisition programs.” And, in a shift of decision authority, the bill would “grant Milestone Decision Authority for Joint Programs to Military Services after October 1, 2019.”

The full House is expected to take up the FY2017 Defense Authorization bill in May before the Memorial Day recess.

Total cost of DoD major acquisition programs increased slightly in 2015

ASMC National News - Thu, 2016-04-21 15:51

The total cost of 79 selected Department of Defense (DoD) major acquisition programs increased by $7.0 billion (+.43 percent) in 2015, according to a report issued by DoD last month.

The small increase reflects increased planned quantities (+$17.9 billion), higher costs due to engineering changes (+$7.1 billion) and program schedule changes (+$1.3 billon). Offsetting some of these increases were decreased program cost estimates (-$9.7 billion), lower escalation rates (-$4.8 billion), and a drop in support costs (-$4.8 billion).

When $7.1 billion is added to extend the funding for the Ballistic Missile Defense System (BMDS) through FY2021 (previous reports limited BMDS funding through FY2020) and adjustments are made for final and initial reports (+$8.3 billion), the total cost of DOD major acquisition programs as of December 31, 2014 is $1.644 trillion.

The cost estimates for selected programs are reported in the congressionally-required Selected Acquisition Reports (SAR).  SAR estimates of total program costs include actual costs to date and estimated future costs.  Program costs include research and development, procurement, military construction, and operations and maintenance costs that are acquisition-related. 

The DoD report for the December 2015 period also identified one program that experienced critical Nunn-McCurdy unit cost breaches—unit cost increases of 25 percent or more to the current Acquisition Program Baseline (APB) or 50 percent or more to the original APB. The breach occurred for the Navy Remote Minehunting System (RMS) was terminated after 2016 in the FY2017 president's budget resulting in a significant reduction in quantities (from 54 to the 10 already delivered).

Programs submitting their initial SAR reports are not represented in the total cost growth estimates for a particular year. For this reporting period, the initial report was submitted for the Armored Multi-Purpose Vehicle (AMPV) and the Joint Air-to-Ground Missile (JAGM) program.

DoD prepares these congressionally-required reports annually (with submission of the budget).  Quarterly reports are prepared for programs that experience cost increases of 15 percent or more, and schedule delays of at least six months.  DoD also submits quarterly reports for a program’s initial and final report, or for programs that are rebaselined during major milestone reviews.

House Armed Services Committee set to mark up FY2017 Defense Authorization bill

ASMC National News - Tue, 2016-04-19 11:59

The House Armed Services Committee (HASC) will begin to mark up the FY2017 Defense Authorization bill on Wednesday, April 20.

The HASC markup schedule calls for three subcommittees to mark up on Wednesday April 20: the Military Personnel Subcommittee (11:30 AM); the Tactical Air and Land Forces Subcommittee (1:30 PM) and the Seapower and Projection Forces Subcommittee (3:00 PM).

On Thursday, April 21 the remaining three subcommittee will mark: the Readiness Subcommittee (9:30 AM); the Emerging Threats and Capabilities Subcommittee (11:00 AM); and the Strategic Forces Subcommittee (12:00 NOON).

All HASC subcommittee markups will be open.

Check the committee website for information on live streaming of the markups on the committee's YouTube channel.

The full committee markup is scheduled for the following week on Wednesday April 27 at 10:00 AM. HASC chair Rep. Mac Thornberry (R-TX) hopes to take the bill to the House floor in early May.

Subcommittees may release draft markups on the HASC website before the subcommittees meet.

Proposed FY2017 House Budget Resolution would cut the deficit by $7 trillion, but increase defense spending

ASMC National News - Wed, 2016-04-06 15:35

The budget resolution reported out by the House Budget Committee (HBC) on a 20-16 vote would cut the federal deficit by almost $7 trillion over the next 10 years and reach a balanced budget in FY2026, according to the committee.

HBC Chairman Rep. Tom Price (R-GA) said the plan would balance the budget through commonsense reforms and greater economic growth; to create a healthier economy, more secure nation, and a more accountable Washington.”

The HBC emphasized that the proposal 1) balances the budget in 10 years by cutting spending and promoting fiscal discipline, 2) strengthens national defense by providing increased resources to the Department of Defense and closing the Guantanamo Bay detention facility, and 3) empowers U.S. Citizens and communities by repealing Obamacare, strengthening Medicare, and dismantling the Department of Commerce.

The annual budget resolution, often referred to as a “congressional budget blueprint,” sets revenue and appropriations targets for the tax writing and appropriations committees, so they can begin work on the president’s budget request.  This is an internal congressional procedure, so the passed budget resolution is not sent to the president for approval.

The HBC plan, using the same name as last year “A Balanced Budget for a Stronger America,” would set the FY2017 total federal spending level at $3.9 trillion, $186 billion less than current policy.

The $7 trillion reduction in the deficit for FY2017-2026 would come from $6.5 trillion reductions in spending, a small increase in revenue (+$225 billion ), and $241 billion cuts from resulting economic changes. Of the $6.5 trillion in spending cuts, $2 trillion would come from repealing Obamacare, $2.9 trillion from reforms to Medicare (-$449 billion), Medicaid (-$1 trillion), and other mandatory programs (-$1.5 trillion). The remaining reductions would result from cuts to discretionary programs (-$690 billion) and lower interest payments on the debt (-$856 billion).

The HBC took no action to end sequestration.

The discretionary budget authority for national defense (DoD plus other defense-related spending such as the Department of Energy’s nuclear program) would increase over the budget caps by $268 billion from FY2017 to FY2026, while non-defense budgets would be cut by $759 billion over the same period, according to the HBC budget. The budget agreement set the budget caps for 2017-2021 and the budget resolution calculates cap levels for 2022-2027 budget authority using Congressional Budget Office (CBO) baseline estimates.

For FY2017, the proposed budget would keep defense at the sequester level of $551 billion, would allow $23 billion in Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO) funding to be used for base budget requirements. 

The Defense budget proposal may prove to be a sticking point as defense hawks are pushing for a larger number than included in the budget agreement and there is still disagreement in Congress (primarily from Democrats) on whether or not to use the OCO account to fund base priorities as the HBC proposes.

To placate calls from the House Republican Caucus for larger cuts to total spending in FY2017, the HBC resolution includes an amendment calling for a separate vote on a proposed $30 billion cut to mandatory spending.

House floor action has not been scheduled.

House appropriations subcommittee approves FY2017 Military Construction spending bill

ASMC National News - Mon, 2016-03-28 15:40

Last week, the House Appropriations Military Construction/Veterans Affairs Subcommittee (HAC-MilCon/VA) approved FY2017 funding for Military Construction (included in the total Department of Defense (DoD) budget request) and the Department of Veterans Affairs.

The bill now goes to the full appropriations committee for consideration.

The MilCon/VA bill is the first FY2017 appropriations bill to advance in Congress. Noting the beginning of the appropriations season in the House, House Appropriations Committee chair Rep. Harold Rogers (R-KY) said “once again, the Committee is getting off to a fast and productive start. This Military Construction and Veterans Affairs bill is a critically important piece of legislation that will provide the resources our veterans and servicemen and women need and deserve.”

The Military Construction portion of the FY2017 MilCon/VA bill provides $7.9 billion for military construction projects, family housing, Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC), and the NATO Security Investment Program. This amount is $250 million billion above the president’s request. The bill also funds $172 million in the Military Construction Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO) appropriation.

Funding for specific active and reserve component military construction projects in the bill is set at $5.6 billion. However, another $515 million is provided in FY2017 for the Army ($41 million), Navy and Marine Corps ($294 million), Air Force ($26 million), Army national Guard ($68 million) and Army Reserve ($86 million) to be used for projects (identified in priority order) in unfunded priority lists provided to Congress.

The HAC subcommittee bill would fully fund the request for Family Housing projects ($1.3 billion) and the NATO Security Investment Program ($178 million) to support fixed and mobile infrastructure projects for NATO operations.

The bill also would rescind $144 million from prior appropriations Acts.

A provision in the bill would continue to prohibit the closure of the Guantanamo Bay Naval Station and would prohibit the use of funds for a facility within the United States to house detainees.

Sign Up Now for PDI Sessions!

ASMC National News - Mon, 2016-03-28 15:29

Have you been waiting to choose your PDI courses for this year's PDI in Orlando?  The schedule of PDI workshops is now final, and you may choose your personal selections. 

More information about the 2016 PDI is available at www.pdi2016.org.

What do you think of pdi2016.org?

ASMC National News - Mon, 2016-03-28 14:02

Your opinion matters!  Take the poll and let us know!

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