The head of the House subcommittee on military readiness said the Defense Department needs train soldiers for a broader set of missions during tough fiscal times, at a Center for Strategic and International Studies discussion last week. "People have extraordinary experience, but in a very narrow range of operation. I can guarantee you that the challenges they face in the future will not be exactly like what they have faced in Iraq and Afghanistan. So the question is how do you make sure you train to develop that capability?" said Rep. Robert Wittman (R-Va.), chairman of the House Armed Services Committee subcommittee on readiness at the event.
The Defense Department's decreased war budget request comes as a result of the war in Afghanistan winding down, Deputy Defense Secretary Robert Work told a House panel. The DoD requested $58.6 billion for Overseas Contingency Operations funding for fiscal 2015--about $26.7 billion less than the fiscal 2014 enacted level. And it comes in at about $100 billion less than the OCO request from fiscal 2011.
Myriad challenges face Defense Department acquisition and many of them have been exacerbated budget cuts and pay freezes, DoD officials told a House panel July 10. "The fiscal challenges, shifting operational requirements, the current budget instability deriving from sequestration, years of pay freezes, furloughs, military end-strength reductions and the requirement for commensurate reductions in our civilian workforce, more than a decade of conflict--inevitably all of these things have affected the acquisition workforce," said Acting Assistant Secretary of Defense Stephanie Barna at the hearing.
The House Thursday passed the annual defense authorization bill that would bump military pay by 1.8 percent, but denied several cost cutting requests from the Defense Department. The bill (H.R.4435) came in nearly identical to the one passed by the House Armed Services Committee.
An amendment submitted May 19 to the 2015 National Defense Authorization Act would forbid furloughing Defense Department employees whose salaries are paid for by fees. More than 170,000 DoD civilian employees are paid using working capital funds, which do not receive direct funding through the annual appropriations process but by fees collected from customers for goods and services the civilian workers provide.
Military personnel would get a 1.8 percent pay bump under legislation approved by the House Armed Services Committee. In a marathon markup of the fiscal 2015 national defense authorization act (H.R. 4435) May 8 that lasted more than twelve hours, HASC unanimously voted in favor of the bill that establishes funding levels and policies for agencies responsible for defense.
A House subcommittee wants congressional investigators to provide an update next year on the Defense Department's efforts in deploying a highly secure, anti-jamming signal for Global Positioning System satellites.
A significant unsolved challenge to cyber threat information sharing between the federal government and the private sector is how to address liability, said outgoing National Security Agency head Gen. Keith Alexander.
A Defense Department effort to restructure its information technology infrastructure is not a program of record, although it is subject to program of record-like oversight, said DoD Chief Information Officer Teri Takai.
Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel told service leaders to ignore sequestration in the out years when drawing up force levels in the DoD five year budget plan.