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CongressFY16 BudgetOCO BudgetFriday, May 1, 2015

Letter to House Urges “No” Vote on Budget Resolution Conference Report

NSN Letter to House Urges “No” Vote on Budget Resolution Conference Report May 1, 2015 Dear Representative: On behalf of the undersigned organizations and our combined memberships, we urge you to oppose the Fiscal Year 2016 Budget Resolution conference report scheduled for votes this week. The conference report contains serious fiscal concerns, particularly related to billions of dollars being allocated toward the Pentagon’s war budget for ill-defined purposes. The conferees agreed to add $39 billion to the Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO) account, an emergency account that has been used to pay for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. This brings the new total to $90 billion in addition to the $523 billion 050 defense budget. An additional $6 billion has been added in the Overseas Contingency… Read More ›

CongressFY16 BudgetOCO BudgetWednesday, April 29, 2015

Letters to Congress on Defense Budget Reform Covered by Defense News

Analysts Call for Bipartisan US Budget Reform April 29, 2015 WASHINGTON — A group of 38 defense analysts and former US Department of Defense officials from across the ideological spectrum are calling for “bold action” on the Pentagon’s budget. In an open letter posted Wednesday on a number of websites, the group laid out its goal for major cuts to the military’s infrastructure and civilian workforce to coincide with a modernization of benefits. “Too much of the defense budget is currently consumed by institutional inefficiencies, some of which are mandated by law,” the authors wrote. “This is leaving a smaller share of the budget to pay for the manning, training and equipping of our armed forces that make the US military without peer. Now is… Read More ›

diplomacyIranMarco RubioTuesday, April 14, 2015

Rubio’s Platform Is All Criticism, No Alternatives

Rubio’s Platform is All Criticism, No Alternatives April 14, 2015 Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) punted on foreign policy and national security issues in his speech  announcing his candidacy for president,  limiting his discussion of these issues to a single paragraph. Still, his positions are as clear as they are familiar: Sen. Rubio espouses the same Cold War mentality that made Sen. John McCain such a troubling candidate for commander-in-chief in 2008. He is quick to criticize what he sees as American weakness, from the nuclear negotiations with Iran to U.S. policies toward Russia and China, but he fails to present credible alternatives. As he builds his platform in the months to come, he will need to make a compelling case for not just what’s wrong… Read More ›

Rand PaulWednesday, April 8, 2015

What is Sen. Rand Paul Actually Advocating on Foreign Policy?

What is Sen. Rand Paul Actually Advocating on Foreign Policy? April 8, 2015 Yesterday Sen. Rand Paul announced his candidacy for the Republican presidential nomination in a speech in Louisville, Kentucky. Sen. Paul has been an outlier among conservatives in the Senate and has set himself apart from the hawks within his party, particularly on civil liberties and foreign intervention issues. Last December, he cited the National Security Network while discussing the precedent for placing limitations on the U.S. intervention in Iraq and Syria during a Senate markup of a proposed authorization for use of military force (AUMF). But his speech yesterday showed a marked departure from his previous positions – arch-neoconservative Bill Kristol noted his policies were more hawkish. The result was a confusing… Read More ›

FY16 BudgetMedicareOCO BudgetWednesday, March 18, 2015

Republican Pentagon Proposal: Gimmicks Inside Gimmicks

Yesterday, House Republicans released a budget that included a massive increase in Pentagon spending to $613 billion for Fiscal Year 2016. The core of the proposal is a $39 billion plus-up to the Department of Defense by funding Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO) accounts at artificially high levels so that OCO money can be spent on what should really be base-budget functions. Because OCO is not covered by the Budget Control Act spending caps, the proposal amounts to a massive budget gimmick that would skirt the budget caps on the Department of Defense by playing a budgetary shell game with funds roughly the size of the GDP of Lebanon. In fact, the gimmick is so brazen that it has been harshly criticized by top Republicans themselves.… Read More ›

AUMFCubaIranIslamic StateRussiaUkraineFriday, February 20, 2015

Jeb Bush Lays out Limited Foreign Policy Vision

Jeb Bush Lays out Limited Foreign Policy Vision February 20, 2015 On Wednesday, Jeb Bush laid out the foreign policy framework for his anticipated presidential campaign in a speech at the Chicago Council on Global Affairs. Bush’s remarks covered a broad range of subjects, and while he identified many of the pressing international challenges facing the United States, his remarks lacked clarity or solutions. As the presidential race moves forward, the national security debate will require more depth of understanding on issues including resolving Iran’s nuclear program, addressing the threat from the Islamic State, the fighting in Ukraine, normalizing relations with Cuba, and ongoing Pentagon spending debates, and we will look for candidates that back up emerging positions with effective policies. Bush doesn’t seem to… Read More ›

FY16 BudgetOCO BudgetThursday, February 5, 2015

President Obama’s National Security Budget: Strategic and Sustainable?

President Obama’s National Security Budget: Strategic and Sustainable? Hosted by NSN, Council for a Livable World, and the National Taxpayers Union February 5, 2015 National Security Network, the Council for a Livable World, and the National Taxpayers Union co-host two Pentagon budget briefings, one for the House and the other for the Senate. The President’s FY16 Budget Request is expected to bust the Pentagon budget caps set by the Budget Control Act–and that doesn’t even include the Overseas Contingency Operations account. The Air Force and Navy are also jockeying to create off-budget accounts for nuclear weapons modernization costs. Is this spending properly aligned with our national security priorities? Where can strategic cuts be made? Join the National Security Network, the Council for a Livable World, and the National Taxpayers Union for a briefing… Read More ›

BRACF-35Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Pentagon Budget: Failure to Adapt to 21st-Century Threats

Pentagon Budget: Failure to Adapt to 21st-Century Threats This week, the Pentagon submitted its annual budget to Congress, requesting $585.3 billion total, including a base budget of $534.3 billion and $50.9 billion for Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO). The request blew past the spending caps imposed by the Budget Control Act (BCA), which limits base spending to $499 billion – nearly $100 billion more than  the amount collectively spent by either Europe or  Asia on their national militaries. By ignoring the caps, the Pentagon is punting on aligning its ends and means in a coherent, realistic, and effective defense strategy. Despite some important forward-looking programs, the budget also over invests in weapon systems – like the F-35 and nuclear aircraft carriers – that are designed to… Read More ›

Ashton CarterGuantanamoIslamic StateOCO BudgetRussiaUkraineMonday, February 2, 2015

Top 5 Questions for Ashton Carter’s Confirmation Hearing

Top 5 Questions for Ashton Carter’s Confirmation Hearing Later this week, the Senate is scheduled to consider Ashton Carter’s nomination for Secretary of Defense. New leadership at the Pentagon provides an opportunity for policy changes that require careful thought and effective dialogue with Congress. The nomination hearing can begin this process by digging into some of the critical questions facing the Department of Defense and its role in foreign policy, including the future of Overseas Contingency Operations funding, fiscal discipline at the Pentagon, the way forward on the Guantanamo Bay detention facility, the fight against the Islamic State, and potential changes with U.S. involvement in the war in Ukraine. On these critical issues to the future of U.S. defense policy, key questions include: With the… Read More ›

Compensationretirement benefitsTRICAREFriday, January 30, 2015

Tackling Compensation and Personnel Challenges at the Pentagon

Tackling Compensation and Personnel Challenges at the Pentagon Ahead of the Pentagon’s budget request next week that is expected to ask for a sizable increase, a host of recent studies have highlighted ways to reduce top-line spending while addressing pressing challenges within the Department of Defense. The Military Compensation and Retirement Modernization Commission – headed by retired officials from the Pentagon, military and former lawmakers – just released a report that outlines options to modernize compensation to increase access to key benefits while also reducing costs. The options presented by the Commission would save $12 billion per year once in full effect, forestalling personnel costs from consuming the entire Pentagon budget by 2039 – as is currently projected. While compensation reform has historically been very difficult… Read More ›

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