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Old 02-05-2017, 10:09 AM
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Post Military Buildup Faces Obstacles In Congress

Military Buildup Faces Obstacles In Congress
By: By Jamie McIntyre, Washington Examiner 2-5-17
RE: http://nation.foxnews.com/2017/02/05...?section=10367

Defense Secretary Jim Mattis has issued sweeping guidance to military services to propose big spending hikes to increase readiness in the short term, and build a bigger stronger military in the long term.
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O Almighty Lord God, who neither slumberest nor sleepest; Protect and assist, we beseech thee, all those who at home or abroad, by land, by sea, or in the air, are serving this country, that they, being armed with thy defence, may be preserved evermore in all perils; and being filled with wisdom and girded with strength, may do their duty to thy honour and glory; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

"IN GOD WE TRUST"
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Old 02-05-2017, 10:13 AM
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Mattis' pricey military buildup faces obstacles in Congress
By JAMIE MCINTYRE • 2/5/17 12:01 AM
RE: http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/mi...rticle/2613946

Defense Secretary Jim Mattis has issued sweeping guidance to military services to propose big spending hikes to increase readiness in the short term, and build a bigger stronger military in the long term.

There's only one big problem: Congress, specifically the Budget Control Act of 2011, which created across-the-board spending caps for 10 years.

That's where "the rubber meets the road," said Kathryn Blakeley, research fellow at Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments. "The Budget Control Act of 2011 is still the law, and it needs to be amended by the regular legislative process, which means you need at least some democratic buy-in."

In his four-page memo issued this week, Mattis directed the services to find ways "to increase force structure in critical areas where doing so would have an immediate readiness impact," while also looking ahead toward what he called the "ultimate objective" of building a larger, more capable and more lethal joint force."

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The memo set three goals: product an amendment request to the fiscal 2017 budget by March 1; submit a fiscal 2018 budget request to the Office of Management and Budget by May 1; and begin work on a new National Defense Strategy covering 2019-2023.

"I read Secretary Mattis' memorandum as a crawl, walk, run plan to think about what defense really needs," Blakely said. "I think there is going to be an adjustment between expectations and reality after the budget is released.

"But there is also going to be a fairly strong political climate and messaging about the need to resource defense appropriately, which will provide the countervailing headwind."

Mattis is asking for both a short-term supplemental to boost spending in areas of crucial need such as shortages of smart bombs, and reduced flying hours for pilots, as well as long-term increases in troops and weapons to counter the slow decline in U.S military capacities experienced during the Obama years, when Pentagon budgets were constrained by congressionally mandated spending limits.

In his memo, Mattis says the Pentagon's fiscal 2017 budget will carry an increase over the Obama budget he inherited, but did not say by how much.

"We don't pick a number and fill it in with capabilities," said Navy Capt. Jeff Davis, a Pentagon spokesman. "We will come up with very real capabilities that we need to restore readiness and achieve in this program balance things that need to happen immediately for operations that are ongoing today, and then we will work to get the appropriate price tag on it."

Democrats have insisted that any increase in Pentagon spending must also include hikes non-defense spending. But they're not the only ones; Republican "deficit hawks" also believe the military wastes too much money to warrant opening the federal checkbook.

President Trump and his defense secretary have one powerful ally on Capitol Hill: Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman John McCain, who released a white paper last month calling for a $640 billion base national defense budget in fiscal 2018, which is $54 billion above President Obama's planned budget for that year.

McCain argues it will take about $430 billion increase above current Pentagon spending plans for fiscal 2018-2022 to make up for the limitations of the sequestration spending caps.

"The goal of the next five years is more digging out than building up," wrote McCain, "halting the accumulated damage done during the Obama administration through decreasing force size, depleted readiness, deferred modernization, and sustained high operational tempo."

While no one knows what the new top-line will be, it's certain not to be cheap.

"For fiscal 17, I am guesstimating about a $40 billion increase, split between readiness and procurement," said CSBA's Blakeley.
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O Almighty Lord God, who neither slumberest nor sleepest; Protect and assist, we beseech thee, all those who at home or abroad, by land, by sea, or in the air, are serving this country, that they, being armed with thy defence, may be preserved evermore in all perils; and being filled with wisdom and girded with strength, may do their duty to thy honour and glory; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

"IN GOD WE TRUST"
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