The Air Force plans to ask Congress again this year to let it close some bases and retire aging aircraft, even though Congress has continually rejected those requests over the last few years. Air Force Secretary Deborah Lee James told reporters in a Jan. 15 press conference that due to tight budgets, the service will need to make adjustments elsewhere when it proposes its fiscal 2016 budget request in the coming months.
A marketing campaign aimed at raising the profile of the Veterans Affairs Department's open source electronic health record is in full swing. The Veterans Health Information Systems and Technology Architecture, or VistA, now has a website, Twitter account and LinkedIn group- just as the Defense Department considers a VistA proposal for its new EHR.
The Defense Department updated the way it buys products by emphasizing a tailored approach to buying individual products and services in a Jan. 7 DoD memo. The DoD updated its Instruction 5000.02 document which lays out how the agency buys its goods and services.
With Congress continually denying the Defense Department base consolidation in the United States, the DoD has taken to consolidating bases in Europe to cut costs. While the DoD needs congressional approval for a Base Realignment and Closure round in the United States, it doesn't need that approval to consolidate bases abroad.
The Defense Department's contracting office didn't comply with government auditing practices when it rejected nearly $7 million in costs claimed by an unnamed contractor, a Dec. 23 DoD inspector general report says. The Defense Contracting Audit Agency determined in 2008 that there wasn't enough documentation based on a sample of 70 subcontractor invoices worth $13.5 million to justify the full payout, the report (pdf) says.
Most military members will be receiving a one percent pay bump in the new year, a Dec. 22 Defense Department statement says. The DoD announced its 2015 military pay and compensation rates Monday. Congress froze pay raises for general and flag officers so they won't be seeing a pay raise in 2015.
Three federal agencies responsible for directing funds to help women in Afghanistan didn't track their spending or results, so no one knows if the programs worked, says a Dec. 18 Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction report. The agencies involved reported spending at least $64.8 million on 652 projects, programs and initiatives to support Afghan women in fiscal years 2011 through 2013.
The Defense Department doesn't know if its testing ranges are vulnerable to foreign spying, a Dec. 16 Government Accountability Office report says. "DOD has not conducted a risk assessment that includes assessing the degree to which foreign encroachment could pose a threat to the mission of the ranges," the GAO report says.
House and Senate leaders Tuesday night released an omnibus spending bill that would fully fund the federal government through fiscal 2015, except the Homeland Security Department, which would only get funding through February. The $1.1 trillion fiscal 2015 bill (H.R. 83) would fund every government agency with the exception of DHS through Sept. 30. That number includes $521 billion for defense functions of several agencies and $492 billion for non-defense agency functions.
A recent Defense Department report says the number of sexual assaults reported by military members rose by 8 percent in 2014 as compared to last year – an increase that Secretary Chuck Hagel attributes to confidence among survivors. DoD fielded almost 6,000 sexual assault reports in 2014, up 5,500 reported in 2013.