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NDAAOCO BudgetTuesday, May 12, 2015

Hill Briefing: Unpacking the NDAA

Unpacking the National Defense Authorization Act May 12, 2015   On May 6th, National Security Network and the Pentagon Budget Campaign co-hosted a lunch panel discussion, “Unpacking the NDAA” for over 30 Hill staffers. The panel included presentations from Todd Harrison, Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments, Mandy Smithberger, Project on Government Oversight, and Ben Friedman, Cato Institute, and was moderated by Wendy Jordan, Taxpayers for Common Sense. Harrison outlined budget caps levels under the Budget Control Act and discussed areas of efficiency reforms that were included and not included in the NDAA. Friedman discussed budgetary gimmicks in the Overseas Contingency Operations account and key areas where the Pentagon needed to make strategic choices. Smithberger highlighted particular weapons programs full of waste that were cut… Read More ›

CongressFY1NDAAOCO BudgetFriday, May 1, 2015

An Updated NDAA Falls Short of Real Reform

An Updated NDAA Falls Short of Real Reform May 1, 2015 This week, the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) was marked up in the House Armed Services Committee and now waits to head to the floor for additional work. While the bill takes the important step of modernizing the outdated military retirement system, it stops well short of the kind of reforms and choices needed to sustain American military power efficiently and effectively. Overdue cost-savings reforms like paring down the Pentagon’s bloated civilian work force or closing excess bases were either not tackled or explicitly prohibited in the bill. Meanwhile, Congress is keeping its Overseas Contingency Operation (OCO) funding $38 billion above the president’s request, ensuring that the war fund actually serves as a slush… Read More ›

CongressGuantanamoNDAAWednesday, April 29, 2015

Defense Bill Creates Needless New Obstacles for Guantanamo Transfers

Defense Bill Creates Needless New Obstacles for Guantanamo Transfers April 29, 2015 The House Armed Services Committee is reviewing the proposed National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) today. The legislation, which covers a range of subjects, would authorize new restrictions on the transfer of detainees from Guantanamo Bay, including the 57 individuals who have been cleared for release by all relevant government agencies. The NDAA would also impose new reporting requirements on released detainees and recidivism rates based on concerns that have been inflated by misleading statistics. These new, unwarranted restrictions are a step away from President Obama’s stated goal of closing the detention facility, which remains a threat to U.S. national security. The Guantanamo provisions in the NDAA would hinder or prevent the transfer of… Read More ›

NDAAFriday, December 5, 2014

The NDAA and Defense Challenges Ahead

The NDAA and Defense Challenges Ahead This week, the House passed the FY 2015 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) after an extended period of behind-the-scenes negotiation. The Senate is expected to vote on the measure next week. The bill authorizes $495.6 billion in discretionary base funding for the Pentagon and $63.7 billion in Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO) funds. While the proposed legislation excised some of the more counterproductive measures that were part of previous versions and takes on modest reforms in tough areas like compensation, the final version of the bill makes clear that nominee for secretary of defense Ash Carter will have his hands full in trying to rein in the Pentagon to be more cost-efficient and effective. F-35 development and production is fully… Read More ›

AUMFGuantanamoNDAAOCO BudgetWednesday, May 21, 2014

Improving the House NDAA: Top 5 Amendments

Improving the House NDAA: Top 5 Amendments May 21, 2014 This afternoon, the House will debate and vote on floor amendments to the FY 2015 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). The NDAA has so far been riddled with problematic provisions in terms of both Pentagon budget andpolicy issues. But a number of the offered amendments can improve the House version of the bill. In terms of policy, Congress has the opportunity to approve measures that would clear the way for closing the Guantanamo Bay detention facility and allow the trial of detainees in the U.S. federal court system. There is also a measure that would sunset the 2001 Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF), something consistent with avoiding the risk of perpetual war and capitalizing on gains… Read More ›

FY15 BudgetGuantanamoIranNDAARussiaWednesday, May 14, 2014

Top Policy Problems in the NDAA

Top Policy Problems in the NDAA May 14, 2014 Last week, NSN discussed key ways the current House version of the FY 2015 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) hampers smart and effective Pentagon spending. But problems with the NDAA are not only budgetary. The bill also includes policy provisions that would undermine U.S. national security. The legislation that was marked up by the House Armed Services Committee last week includes measures that would hurt the chances of a comprehensive deal with Iran over the nuclear issue by suddenly changing the subject to broader and non-nuclear concerns and provisions that would continue to forestall the closure of Guantanamo despite the cost the facility imposes on America’s image and ability to conduct diplomacy abroad. The bill also… Read More ›

F-35FY15 BudgetNDAAOCO BudgetFriday, May 9, 2014

Playing Politics with the Post-War Drawdown

Playing Politics with the Post-War Drawdown May 9, 2014 This week, the House Armed Services Committee completed its markup of the FY 2015 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). While the bill respects the caps on Pentagon spending, it misses the opportunity to make hard and smart choices about weapons programs and reforms to help the Pentagon adapt to future threats and budgetary realities. By forestalling these choices to protect pet in-district projects, the current bill exacerbates the challenge of responsibly managing the post-war drawdown. The bill includes funding for weapon systems the military didn’t ask for – like upgrades to tanks the Army doesn’t want and more funding for aircraft carriers the Navy didn’t request – that ultimately tie the Pentagon’s hands in adapting the… Read More ›

F-35FY15 BudgetNDAAOCO BudgetWednesday, April 30, 2014

Putting Pentagon Spending in Context

Putting Pentagon Spending in Context April 30, 2014 This week, House Armed Services subcommittees are preparing their portions of the Fiscal Year 2015 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) that will go before the full committee next week. This year’s NDAA and appropriations process will have to navigate a number of tough issues, especially the addition of more money to the Administration’s $496 billion request for the Pentagon by way of budget gimmicks to skirt the caps on spending imposed by the Budget Control Act. Such back-door increases are unnecessary and fail to appreciate the proper context in which Pentagon spending should be assessed. In a global and strategic context, total U.S. military expenditures remain well above the Cold War average and are multiple times larger… Read More ›

Department of DefenseNDAAThursday, December 12, 2013

Paul Eaton Quoted In National Defense Magazine On DoD Budget

Budget Deal Moves Goalposts to 2016 By Sandra I. Erwin December 12, 2013 | National Defense A bipartisan budget accord reached this week by congressional negotiators — and not yet approved by the House or Senate — gives the Defense Department a big break from the sequester. The concern now for the defense sector is whether the Pentagon will seize the budget deal as an opportunity to shape a new debate on defense priorities. “The question now is how does the Defense Department get ready for 2016?” asked Charles F. Wald, retired Air Force general and head of the Deloitte defense practice.   For the original piece, click here. Read More ›

Civil RightsdetaineesGuantanamoNDAAright to trialThursday, November 21, 2013

Paul Eaton Mentioned In Human Rights First Blog On Guantanamo

Retired Generals and Admirals Make their Voices Heard on Guantanamo By Patrick Hanley November 21, 2013 | Human Rights First blog This week, the Senate is considering the annual defense spending bill, the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), and the first contentious amendments related to Guantanamo came up for a vote on Tuesday. The Senate version of this year’s bill is special: it restores authority to transfer Guantanamo detainees to the United States for prosecution, incarceration, or emergency medical treatment.  The Senate NDAA also clarifies and streamlines the process for transferring detainees who have been cleared by our intelligence and defense agencies to foreign countries for repatriation or resettlement. Last week, while senators were preparing for the bill to come to the floor, 38 retired generals and… Read More ›

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