SHAHEEN PRESSES FOR COST SAVINGS, EFFICIENCY, OVERSIGHT IN FY 2014 DEFENSE SPENDING
As Chair of Armed Services Subcommittee on Readiness and Management Support, Shaheen also reiterates opposition to Pentagon’s BRAC closure recommendation
(Washington, DC) – U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Chair of the Senate Armed Services Subcommittee on Readiness and Management Support, led a subcommittee hearing today to consider the FY 2014 Defense Authorization bill and budget priorities for the Department of Defense’s installation projects and environmental programs. Shaheen looked to the witnesses testifying – which included representatives from each of the military services and the Office of the Secretary of Defense – to identify savings in defense spending and military construction while maintaining critical national defense operations and pursuing environmental protection measures.
“The budget request broadly reflects the fiscal realities facing the Pentagon but in the absence of a resolution to sequestration, additional savings will need to be achieved,” Shaheen said. “Our subcommittee will again be looking for savings in this upcoming fiscal year by helping the Pentagon eliminate duplicative projects and programs, increase management efficiencies, and reduce waste.”
Under the President’s FY 2014 budget request, $11.1 billion would be appropriated to military construction and family housing, approximately $200 million less than what was requested last year. The budget also requests a new round of Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) in 2015 – implementation of which, as Shaheen noted in opposition, has proved more costly than expected in previous BRAC rounds.
“There is bipartisan opposition to another BRAC proposal. Now is not the time to spend billions of dollars on another BRAC round, especially as the Department of Defense grounds combat aircraft and cancels ship deployments due to sequestration,” Shaheen said.
Noting the cost overrides of the 2005 BRAC round, Shaheen said, “In this time of fiscal uncertainty, we clearly cannot afford another round like the last one.”
At the hearing, Shaheen also pressed for insight on construction priorities, overseas base operations and investments, and ways to improve military oversight.
Shaheen, who has championed advancements in energy efficiency and renewable energy use in the Navy and Marine Corps, emphasized, “One of the more immediate ways our military installations can save money is through the adoption of more energy efficient technologies.” The Pentagon was able to reduce its installation energy consumption by 2.4 percent and approximately $100 million in FY12. Shaheen urged that in a time of fiscal uncertainty, more needs to be done to increase efficiency across the military services.
Shaheen has consistently called for bipartisan compromise on a long-term deficit deal to replace sequestration, a call she repeated during a visit the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard last month. She has called on Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel to maximize flexibility to mitigate the sequester’s impact on workers, and voted last month for a responsible Senate Budget Resolution that would replace sequestration while still reining in the country’s debt and deficit. She has worked closely with Ranking Member Senator Kelly Ayotte (R-NH) as an advocate for New Hampshire’s military facilities, with a particularly strong commitment to the future strength of the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard.
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