FY2017 Budget and Appropriations Update – April 29, 2016

House

The House Appropriations Committee did not mark up any bills this week, nor was any action taken on the House floor on the three bills already passed out of committee (Agriculture, Energy and Water, and Military Construction-Veterans Affairs). Since the House has not passed an FY17 budget resolution, they can’t move their appropriations bills to the floor until May 15. House Appropriations Committee Chairman Harold Rogers (R-KY) said that he hopes the first appropriations bill that will be brought to the floor after May 15 is the Military Construction-VA bill, but no final decisions have been made on that matter.

FY17 Agriculture Appropriations Report Language:

https://www.congress.gov/114/crpt/hrpt531/CRPT-114hrpt531.pdf

FY17 Energy and Water Appropriations Report Language:

https://www.congress.gov/114/crpt/hrpt532/CRPT-114hrpt532.pdf

FY17 Military Construction-Veterans Affairs Report Language:

https://www.congress.gov/114/crpt/hrpt497/CRPT-114hrpt497.pdf

The House Republican Conference held a meeting this morning to discuss their budget resolution. Republicans are still searching for a compromise on spending levels. Conservative members of the party want to accept only $1.04T in discretionary spending levels this year to comply with what was agreed to in the Budget Control Act of 2011 rather than the $1.07T in discretionary spending set by the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015.

Senate

The Senate resumed consideration of their FY17 Energy and Water appropriations bill on the Senate floor this week, but was unable to complete action on the measure. The Senate voted twice on cloture on the bill and both times failed to muster the 60 votes needed. The first vote failed 50 to 46 and the second vote failed 52 to 43. The Senate will vote again on cloture when they reconvene on Monday, May 9.

Senate Democrats are objecting to an amendment offered by Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR) that they have called a “poison pill.” The Democrats won’t vote for cloture without assurance that Cotton’s amendment will not be offered. The amendment would prohibit the use of FY17 funds to purchase heavy water from Iran. Heavy water can be used in reactor research and the development of nuclear weapons. As part of last year’s deal with Iran, Tehran must reduce its heavy water inventory to a preset limit by July by either selling, diluting, or destroying it. The US agreed on Friday to buy 32 metric tons for $8.6M but doesn’t have plans to buy any more after that. And Iran is in negotiations with Russia to sell off more. Cotton’s amendment would only apply after Oct 1 when the new fiscal year starts, so it would not apply to the agreement the US made last week with Tehran. Cotton wants to hold the administration to their promise that this is only a one-time deal.

Given the uncertainty of the appropriations process at this point in time, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) withdrew the cloture motion for the FY17 Transportation HUD spending bill.

Zika Virus

Negotiations over bringing an emergency supplemental package to combat the Zika virus to the Senate floor also reached an impasse this week with each side blaming the other. Democrats are blaming Republicans for not responding to the President’s request for $1.9B to combat the virus, while Republicans are blaming the White House for failing to detail how and when the money would be spent. Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) sought unanimous consent to bring up the Zika package (S 2843) for a vote knowing that it lacked support and Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn (R-TX) objected. On the House side, House Democrats introduced their own $1.9B bill on Monday while House Republican leaders have said that they want any Zika money to be offset with cuts to other programs.

Subcommittee House Senate
Agriculture Subcommittee: April 13

Full Committee: April 19

 
Commerce-Justice-Science   Subcommittee: April 19

Full Committee: April 21

Defense    
Energy & Water Subcommittee: April 13

Full Committee: April 19

Subcommittee: April 13

Full Committee: April 14

Floor: May 9

Financial Services    
Homeland Security    
Interior    
Labor HHS Education    
Legislative Branch Subcommittee: April 20  
Military Construction – Veterans Affairs Subcommittee: March 23

Full Committee: April 13

Subcommittee: April 13

Full Committee: April 14

State Foreign Operations    
Transportation HUD   Subcommittee: April 19

Full Committee: April 21

FY17 Budget and Appropriations Update – April 22, 2016

House of Representatives

The House Appropriations Committee met this week and marked up its FY17 Agriculture and Energy and Water spending bills in full committee, and its FY17 Legislative Branch spending bill in subcommittee. The committee also approved its 302(b) allocations for these three spending bills.

House Freedom Caucus Chairman Jim Jordan (R-OH) said this week that conservatives in his caucus might support some of the FY17 appropriations bills that adhere to the $1.07T topline spending limit set by last year’s budget agreement. Members of the caucus are opposed to bringing the spending bills to the floor before May 15, but could support certain bills that fund defense, military construction, or veterans affairs after the budget resolution deadline. Members of the House Freedom Caucus are holding up adoption of a FY17 budget resolution because it reflects the higher $1.07T discretionary spending limit. They are insisting that the topline be lowered to $1.04T or that Congress passes and the President signs into law at least $30B in spending cuts.

Agriculture

The House Appropriations full committee approved a $21.3B FY17 Agriculture spending bill this week. The bill is $451M below the enacted FY16 level and $281M below the President’s FY17 budget request.

The full committee adopted the following amendments to the FY17 Agriculture Appropriations bill:

  • Aderholt – The amendment makes technical and noncontroversial changes to the bill and report. The amendment was adopted on a voice vote.
  • Cole – The amendment adds bill language to modernize the February 2007 predicate date for tobacco products. The amendment was adopted on a vote of 31-19.
  • Farr – The amendment adds language to the bill to prevent the slaughter of horses for human consumption within the United States. The amendment was adopted on a vote of 25-23.
  • Palazzo – The amendment adds bill language delaying a new rule by USDA that changes requirements for approved SNAP retailers. The amendment was adopted on a voice vote.
  • Harris– The amendment adds bill language halting new FDA sodium guidance until the completion of an Institute of Medicine review. The amendment was adopted on a voice vote.
  • Valadao– The amendment adds bill language that prevents the CFTC Swap Dealer de minimis level from automatically being lowered by 60 percent. The amendment was adopted on a vote of 30-19.
  • Lee – The amendment adds bill language to use $1 million in USDA funding within the bill for loans and grants under the Healthy Food Financing Initiative. The amendment was adopted on a vote of 28-22.
  • Harris –The amendment adds bill language to stop the implementation of a Grain Inspection, Packers and Stockyards Administration regulation that would place restrictions on poultry, beef and pork marketing arrangements. The amendment was adopted on a vote of 26-24.
  • Rogers– The amendment adds bill language to clarify that certain existing, unobligated funding within the Departments of State and Health and Human Services shall be available to prevent, prepare for, and respond to the Zika crisis, both domestically and internationally. The amendment was adopted on a vote of 30-20.

Bill Text:

http://appropriations.house.gov/uploadedfiles/bills-114hr-fc-ap-fy2017-ap00-agriculture.pdf

Report Language:

http://appropriations.house.gov/uploadedfiles/hrpt-114-hr-fy2017-agriculture.pdf

Agriculture Adopted Amendments:

http://appropriations.house.gov/uploadedfiles/hmtg-114-ap00-20160419-sd004.pdfhttp://appropriations.house.gov/uploadedfiles/hmtg-114-ap00-20160419-sd004.pdf

Energy and Water

The House Appropriations full committee approved its $37.4B FY17 Energy and Water spending bill this week. Only a manager’s amendment making technical and noncontroversial changes to the report was adopted by the full committee before the bill was reported out. The bill is $259M above FY16 enacted levels and $168M above what the President requested for FY17.

The bill provides a total of $12.9B for DOE’s nuclear weapons security programs – a $327M increase above the FY16 enacted level. The Army Corps of Engineers is funded at $6.1B, an increase of $100M above FY16, and environmental management activities are funded at $6.15B – $66M below FY16. Funding for energy programs within DOE is $11.08B – an increase of $56M above FY16, and the bill includes $5.4B for science research – an increase of $50M above FY16. The bill also contains $1.1B ($131M below FY16) for the Department of the Interior and the Bureau of Reclamation. Finally the bill continues congressional efforts to support the Yucca Mountain nuclear repository, providing $150M for the Nuclear Waste Disposal program and $20M for the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to continue the adjudication of DOE’s Yucca Mountain License application. The legislation also denies the Administration’s funding proposals for non-Yucca nuclear waste activities.

Other policy items included in the bill prohibit any changes to federal jurisdiction under the Clean Water Act and to the definition of “fill material” and “discharge of fill material” for the purposes of the Clean Water Act, and restricts the application of the Clean Water Act in certain agricultural areas, including farm ponds and irrigation ditches. Democrats objected to this last provision, but their effort to remove the rider was defeated on a 32 to 18 vote. The bill also includes language allowing the possession of firearms on Corps of Engineers lands and prohibits new nuclear nonproliferation projects in Russia.

Bill Text:

http://appropriations.house.gov/UploadedFiles/BILLS-114HR-FC-AP-FY2017-AP00-EnergyWater.pdf

Report Language:

http://appropriations.house.gov/uploadedfiles/hrpt-114-hr-fy2017-energywater.pdf

Energy and Water Adopted Amendments:

http://appropriations.house.gov/uploadedfiles/hmtg-114-ap00-20160419-sd005.pdf

Legislative Branch

The House Legislative Branch Appropriations Subcommittee met this week and approved their $3.48B draft FY17 spending bill by voice vote.

The bill provides annual funding for the offices of Members of the House of Representatives, the support agencies of Congress, security and police forces, services for visitors, and Capitol operations and maintenance.

The total included for the House and joint operations, excluding Senate-only items, is $73M above the FY16 enacted level and $152 million below the President’s FY17 budget request. The Capitol Police received an increase of $16.3M above the FY16 enacted level, the Architect of the Capitol received an increase of $31M, the Library of Congress received an increase of $29M, and GAO received an increase of $2.1M.

The legislation also includes a provision to freeze the pay of Members of Congress, preventing any pay increases in FY17. A freeze on the salaries of Representatives has been in place since 2010.

Bill Text:

http://appropriations.house.gov/uploadedfiles/bills-114hr-sc-ap-fy2017-legbranch-subcommitteedraft.pdf

Senate

While the House isn’t likely to see any appropriations bills on the floor before May 15, the Senate started the appropriations process on the floor with its FY17 Energy and Water spending bill. This is the earliest ever start to appropriations work in the Senate. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) said that he is prepared to devote up to 12 weeks of floor time for consideration of the 12 bills. After Energy and Water, Senate Leadership has hinted that Military Construction-Veterans Affairs or Commerce-Justice-Science might be considered next.

The process was kicked off with Senate Budget Committee Chairman Michael Enzi (R-WY) officially setting the discretionary spending limits for FY17 – $551B for defense and $518.5B for domestic programs. These are in line with the $1.07T budget agreement reached last year. Enzi’s action allowed the Senate to start floor consideration of the 12 annual spending bills. Enzi is also considering the possibility of overhauling the budget process this year. He is hopeful that he can produce a bipartisan plan next month that would create a process allowing two-year (biennial) budgets. Those opposing the effort are concerned about relinquishing Congress’ oversight role that gets played through the annual appropriations process. On the House side, House Budget Committee Chairman Tom Price (R-GA) said that he thinks that a new budget process will have to wait for a new president.

Senate Appropriators also began talking this week about a bipartisan emergency spending measure that would provide funding to combat the Zika virus. The President had requested $1.9B in February. Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Thad Cochran (R-MS) expects that a supplemental funding measure will be offered to an appropriations bill on the Senate floor in the near future. How much funding will be provided is still in question as is to which bill it will be attached and whether or not any other funding requests (Flint, opioids, Middle East, etc.) will be attached.

Commerce-Justice-Science

The Senate Appropriations Committee marked up its FY17 Commerce-Justice-Science (CJS) spending bill in subcommittee and full committee this week. The $56.3B spending bill is $564M above the FY16 enacted level and $1.6B above the President’s FY17 budget request.

The bill contains $27.8B in discretionary funding for the Justice Department (an increase of $156M over FY16), $9.3B for the Commerce Department (an increase of $70.8M over FY16), $19.3B for NASA (an increase of $21M over FY16), $7.5B for the National Science Foundation (maintains FY16 level), $395M for the Legal Services Corporation (an increase of $10M over FY16), and $59.3M for the US Trade Representative (an increase of $4.9M over FY16).

Bill Text:

http://www.vantagepointstrat.com/govdoc20160421-172947-pdf/

Report Language:

http://www.vantagepointstrat.com/govdoc20160421-172951/

Energy and Water

The Senate began consideration of its $37.5B FY17 Energy and Water Appropriations bill on the Senate floor this week. Senate Energy and Water Appropriations Subcommittee Chairman Lamar Alexander expects to complete work on the bill next Tuesday.

Several amendments will be up for a vote next week including these three – one offered by Sens. Harry Reid (D-NV) and Dean Heller (R-NV) that would provide an additional $50M toward projects to increase water in Lake Mead, another offered by Sen. Jeff Flake (R-AZ) that would cut $69M from the Army Corps of Engineers’ construction account, and the last offered by Sens. Jeff Merkley (D-OR) and Chuck Grassley (R-IA) that would direct $95M to wind energy.

The Administration issued a Statement of Administration Policy providing their views on the Senate’s FY17 Energy and Water bill in which they objected to the funding levels for ARPA-E, energy R&D activities, and the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy. They threatened a veto over these funding levels as well as other issues. The Office of Management and Budget’s Statement of Administration Policy can be found at:

https://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/default/files/omb/legislative/sap/114/saphr2028s_20160420.pdf

Senate FY17 Energy and Water Bill Text:

https://www.congress.gov/114/bills/s2804/BILLS-114s2804pcs.pdf

Senate FY17 Energy and Water Report Language:

https://www.congress.gov/114/crpt/srpt236/CRPT-114srpt236.pdf

Transportation Housing and Urban Development

The Senate Appropriations Committee marked up its FY17 Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies (THUD) spending bill this week in subcommittee and full committee. The $56.474B bill is $827M below the FY16 enacted level and $2.9B below the President’s FY17 budget request. The bill provides $16.9B for the Department of Transportation ($1.7B below FY16) and $39.2B for Housing and Urban Development ($891M above FY16).

Bill Text:

http://www.vantagepointstrat.com/govdoc20160421-172949/

Report Language:

http://www.vantagepointstrat.com/govdoc20160421-172952/

Subcommittee House Senate
Agriculture Subcommittee: April 13

Full Committee: April 19

 
Commerce-Justice-Science   Subcommittee: April 19

Full Committee: April 21

Defense    
Energy & Water Subcommittee: April 13

Full Committee: April 19

Subcommittee: April 13

Full Committee: April 14

Floor: DATE

Financial Services    
Homeland Security    
Interior    
Labor HHS Education    
Legislative Branch Subcommittee: April 20  
Military Construction – Veterans Affairs Subcommittee: March 23

Full Committee: April 13

Subcommittee: April 13

Full Committee: April 14

State Foreign Operations    
Transportation HUD   Subcommittee: April 19

Full Committee: April 21

 

FY17 Budget and Appropriations Update – April 15, 2016

FY17 Budget and Appropriations

House

House Republicans missed the statutory deadline today to adopt an FY17 budget resolution. However, the Appropriations Committee is moving forward with their bills marking up the FY17 Military Construction-Veterans Affairs bill in full committee and the FY17 Energy and Water and Agriculture spending bills in subcommittee this week.

While House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-WI) said last month that spending bills would not be considered on the House floor without a budget in place, he left the door open to that possibility at a press conference this week. House Appropriations Committee Chairman Hal Rogers (R-KY) would like to bring bills to the floor before May 15 because of the shortened year. And he wants to complete committee action on all 12 bills by late June and enact them before the beginning of the new fiscal year on October 1.

Rogers did get some pushback from Democrats on the committee for moving forward on bills without providing allocations, or 302(b)s for all of the subcommittees. The committee voted 30 to 20 to adopt an “interim” allocation for the Military Construction-Veterans Affairs bill, but left allocations for the other 11 bills in the dark. Ranking Member Nita Lowey (D-NY) expressed concern about proceeding with bills without knowing how much money would be left over for the remaining spending bills.

Military Construction-Veterans Affairs

The House Appropriations full committee marked up the FY17 Military Construction-Veterans Affairs (MilConVA) bill this week and passed it out of committee by voice vote. The committee allocates $81.47B in discretionary budget authority for the bill, along with $172M in Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO) funding. The bill includes additional funding to address management problems and health care shortages, and to increase the speed, efficiency, and effectiveness of its services to veterans.

Three amendments were adopted during full committee consideration of the bill. The first was a manager’s amendment from Rep. Dent (R-PA). The second was an amendment offered by Rep. Rooney (R-FL) prohibiting funding for the next phase of construction of a Joint Intelligence Analysis Complex Consolidation in Croughton, England unless it is authorized in the FY17 NDAA. And the last amendment was from Chairman Rogers (R-KY) adding bill language to clarify that certain existing unobligated funding within the Departments of State and Health and Human Services shall be available to prevent, prepare for, and respond to the Zika crisis, both domestically and internationally. The amendment was adopted on a vote of 30-20.

The bill text can be found at:

http://appropriations.house.gov/uploadedfiles/bills-114hr-sc-ap-fy2017-milcon-subcommitteedraft.pdf

Draft report language can be found at:

http://appropriations.house.gov/uploadedfiles/hrpt-114-hr-fy2017-milcon.pdf

And a summary of the bill can be found at:

http://appropriations.house.gov/news/documentsingle.aspx?DocumentID=394474

Agriculture

The House Agriculture Appropriations subcommittee approved a $21.3B FY17 spending bill by voice vote this week. The bill will be considered in full committee next Tuesday. The panel made no changes to the bill, which is $451M below the enacted FY16 level and $281M below the President’s FY17 budget request.

The subcommittee’s draft bill text can be found at:

http://appropriations.house.gov/uploadedfiles/bills-114hr-sc-ap-fy2017-agriculture-subcommitteedraft.pdf

Energy and Water

The House Energy and Water Appropriations subcommittee approved its $37.4B FY17 spending bill on Wednesday by voice vote. The bill is $259M above FY16 enacted levels and $168M above what the President requested for FY!7.

The subcommittee’s draft bill text can be found at:

http://appropriations.house.gov/UploadedFiles/BILLS-114HR-SC-AP-FY2017-EnergyWater-SubcommitteeDraft.pdf

House Rules Committee Hearing on Proposed Rule XXI Changes

Meanwhile, the House Rules Committee members also met this week to consider changes to House Rule XXI that would allow entitlement programs to be cut as part of the appropriations process, instead of through separate legislation. Rule XXI prohibits spending bills from including changes to existing law or sending money to unauthorized programs. The proposed changes could provide the guarantee that conservatives are seeking to ensure that spending cuts would be enacted in exchange for their acceptance of a higher overall discretionary budget limit. This hearing was the first in a series of hearings regarding House process that Republicans are undertaking as part of a comprehensive review that House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-WI) promised upon becoming Speaker. Critics of the proposed changes charge that Republicans are trying to change the House rules in order to enact priorities that are too politically unpopular to pass through regular order.

Senate

On the Senate side, Appropriators got an earlier than usual start on their FY17 spending bills. On a 29 to 1 vote, the committee adopted its 302(b) spending allocations, which allows the 12 subcommittees to begin writing their individual spending bills. The numbers reflect the $1.07T discretionary spending level agreed to in last year’s budget agreement. The one “no” vote came from Sen. Jerry Moran (R-KS). The subcommittee allocations are as follows:

Agriculture: $21.2B

Commerce-Justice-Science: $56.3B

Defense: $515.9B (OCO: $56.8B)

Energy and Water: $37.5B

Financial Services: $22.4B

Homeland Security: $41.2B

Interior-Environment: $32B

Labor-HHS-Education: $161.9B

Legislative Branch: $4.4B

Military Construction-Veterans Affairs: $83B

State-Foreign Operations: $37.2B (OCO: $14.9B)

Transportation-HUD: $56.5B

There are some winners and losers based on these allocations. The MilCon-VA bill received the biggest funding boost over FY16 levels with a $3B increase, while the Transportation-HUD bill was cut by about $1B as was Financial Services. DOD is about $2B higher this year, while State Foreign Operations was cut by more than $800M and Agriculture lost about $500M.

Energy and Water

The Senate Appropriations Committee passed its FY17 Energy and Water spending bill out of subcommittee and full committee this week. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) then filed cloture on the bill setting it up for consideration on the Senate floor early next week. The Senate will use a House-passed FY16 appropriations bill (HR 2028) as a legislative vehicle for the measure. The bill provides $37.5B for the Energy Department and the Army Corps of Engineers, which is $355M over current year funding levels and $261M above the President’s FY17 budget request. The bill includes $6B for the Army Corps of Engineers, $12.9B for nuclear security programs, and $1.14B for the Bureau of Reclamation. The bill was approved without amendment and is free of controversial riders, but could face some of these as amendments when it is considered on the floor.

Military Construction-Veterans Affairs

The Senate Appropriations Committee also passed its $83B FY17 Military Construction-Veterans Affairs (MilConVA) bill out of subcommittee and full committee. This is a $14.7B increase over current year funding.

Senate Appropriations Committee Ranking Member Barbara Mikulski (D-MD) said that she expects to markup the Transportation-HUD appropriations bills next week

Subcommittee House Senate
Agriculture Subcommittee: April 13

Full Committee: April 19

 
Commerce-Justice-Science   Subcommittee: April 19

Full Committee: April 21

Defense    
Energy & Water Subcommittee: April 13

Full Committee: April 19

Subcommittee: April 13

Full Committee: April 14

Financial Services    
Homeland Security    
Interior    
Labor HHS Education    
Legislative Branch Subcommittee: April 20  
Military Construction – Veterans Affairs Subcommittee: March 23

Full Committee: April 13

Subcommittee: April 13

Full Committee: April 14

State Foreign Operations    
Transportation HUD   Subcommittee: April 19

Full Committee: April 21

FY17 Budget and Appropriations Process Update

Senate Appropriations Ranking Member Barbara Mikulski (D-MD) said this week that the she expected the appropriations subcommittees to officially receive their FY17 302(b) allocations on April 14. That is also when the first FY17 spending bill could be marked up in a Senate subcommittee. Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN) hinted that his appropriations bill could be up for consideration next week, and could be on the floor as soon as April 18. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) said that the Senate would move forward on the FY17 spending bills by adhering to the $1.07T discretionary spending limit agreed to in last year’s bipartisan budget deal. Subcommittee chairmen including Military Construction-Veterans Affairs chairman Mark Kirk (R-IL), have indicated that they have received “working targets” but have declined to disclose the dollar figures. And while the Senate’s preferred path forward is one in which the House passes the spending bills and then they act on them, they are considering using four FY16 House-passed measures to get around the provision in the Constitution requiring the House to go first. These four measures would allow the Senate to bring their FY17 spending bills to the floor before the House does.

On the House side, the House Rules Committee is scheduled to hold a hearing next Thursday to consider changes to the appropriations process that could help them find a compromise and persuade fiscal conservatives to support a higher level of discretionary spending. The changes to Rule XXI could include a measure allowing appropriators to cut mandatory spending as conservatives are looking for a way to guarantee mandatory spending cuts in exchange for agreeing to higher discretionary spending.

U.S. Defense Secretary Carter’s Speech at CSIS April 5, 2016

At the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) this afternoon, U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter spoke about key long-term strategic management questions DOD is currently addressing. Since the Goldwater-Nichols Act was enacted 30 years ago this fall, the world has changed. Secretary Carter said, “It’s time that we consider practical updates to this critical organizational framework, while still preserving its spirit and intent.”

Last fall Secretary Carter ordered a comprehensive, department-wide review of organizational issues spanning the Office of the Secretary of Defense, the Joint Staff, the combatant commanders, and the military departments. The task force identified potential redundancies, inefficiencies, or other areas of possible improvement and provided preliminary recommendations to the Secretary. The four areas identified are:

1. Transregional and Transfunctional Integration and Advice

Background: The challenges the U.S. faces today are not likely to confine themselves to neat regional or functional boundaries (e.g. the fight against ISIL involves CENTCOM, EUCOM, AFRICOM, SOCOM, STRATCOM, and CYBERCOM). Our decision chain cuts across the combatant commands only at the Secretary of Defense level so we’re not as agile as we could be.

Recommendations: Clarify the role and authority of the Chairman of Joint Chiefs and the Joint Staff to A) help synchronize resources globally for daily operations around the world, enhancing our flexibility and ability to move forces rapidly across the seams between combatant commands; B) provide objective military advice for ongoing operations, not just future planning; and C) advise the Secretary of Defense on military strategy and operational plans.

2. Combatant Command Updates and Streamlining Headquarters

Background: The combatant commands need to be adapted to new functions including how they manage themselves in cyberspace, while DOD needs to continue to aggressively streamline headquarters.

Recommendations: DOD should consider changes to cyber’s role in DoD’s Unified Command Plan. And instead of combining commands (e.g. AFRICOM and EUCOM) to reach the goal of reducing management HQ by 25%, DOD should focus on integrating functions like logistics, intelligence, and plans across the Joint Staff, the combatant commands, and subordinate commands. Additionally, DOD will look to simplify and improve command and control by filling billets currently staffed by four-star generals and admirals instead with three-stars in the future.

3. Acquisition Reform

Background: There is more that we can and must do to deliver better military capability while making better use of the taxpayers’ dollars. Better Buying Power began 6 years ago and we’re now on our third iteration. While we’re seeing compelling indications of positive improvements, there’s still a constant need for improvement – particularly as technology, industry, and DOD’s own missions continue to change.

Recommendations: Involving the service chiefs more in acquisition decision-making and accountability. Streamlining the acquisition system including evaluating and, where appropriate, reducing other members of the Defense Acquisition Board. Reducing burdensome acquisition documentation requirements in a meaningful way. And pushing approval authority lower down when a program is on the right track eliminating redundant reviews and shortening review timelines.

4. Changes to Joint Personnel Management

Background: Secretary Carter started the Force of the Future endeavor last year to ensure the high quality of the future all-volunteer force even as generations change and job markets change. DOD has taken several steps already – building on-ramps and off-ramps so technical talent can more easily flow between DoD and America’s great innovative communities; opening all combat positions to women who meet service standards to expand our access to 100 percent of America’s population for our all-volunteer force; and doing more to support military families to improve retention, like extending maternity and paternity leave, and giving families the possibility of some geographic flexibility in return for additional commitments.

Recommendations: Change the requirements for joint duty assignments to broaden the definition of positions for which an officer can receive joint duty credit, going beyond planning and command-and-control to include joint experience in other operational functions, such as intelligence, fires, transportation and maneuver, protection, and sustainment, including joint acquisition. And shorten the amount of time required to accumulate joint duty, from three years to two years, so top personnel have more flexibility to take on command assignments and other opportunities to broaden and deepen their careers.

DOD will execute some of these decisions under their own existing authority, but where legislation is needed, they will work with the House and Senate Armed Services Committees as they consider their FY17 National Defense Authorizations. Secretary Carter said that DOD will be detailing and discussing these questions with congressional committees in the coming weeks.

The full text of the Secretary’s speech can be found at: http://www.defense.gov/News/Speeches/Speech-View/Article/713736/remarks-on-goldwater-nichols-at-30-an-agenda-for-updating-center-for-strategic

Congressional Budget Office Analysis of President’s FY17 Budget Request

CBO Analysis of President’s FY17 Budget Request

The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) released its analysis of the President’s FY17 budget request this week. The analysis is based on CBO’s economic projections and estimating models, rather than on the Administration’s. And the estimates of the effects of the President’s tax proposals were prepared by the staff of the Joint Committee on Taxation (JCT).

In its analysis, CBO estimates that under the President’s proposals, the federal budget deficit would decline in FY17 and FY18. CBO projects the 10-year deficit would be $2.4T smaller under the President’s FY17 budget primarily as a result of higher tax revenue that Republicans oppose. After that, however, outlays would increase more quickly than revenues so deficits would grow as would federal debt levels. CBO’s projections are not as “rosy” as the White House projects as CBO’s are based on assumptions that all current tax and spending policies remain unchanged while the White House assumes positive economic effects from its budget proposal.

CBO Analysis:

https://www.cbo.gov/publication/51383