The Intersect
May 17, 2011

House panel begins work on $553 billion DoD budget
Military Times
Lawmakers who believe President Obama didn't properly consult with Congress before launching air strikes on Libya approved legislation seeking Pentagon documents on all communications. The House Armed Services Committee, beginning a marathon session to craft a $553 billion budget for the Defense Department next year, approved the measure on Libya by voice vote.More

Pentagon's phantom savings
Defense News
Pentagon leaders love to tout the $330 billion they saved by cutting or killing weapons programs over the past two years, but that's not the whole story. Nearly 40 percent of that sum is going straight back into U.S. military programs that replicate the canceled ones, and it's unclear where another 10 percent came from at all, according to a Defense News analysis and to several analysts.More

Senators: GAO should investigate DOD
A bipartisan group of senators are questioning whether the Pentagon will meet a 2017 deadline for the first complete audit of its finances, and are calling for a Government Accountability Office investigation. In a statement that will be released, Sens. Tom Carper, D-Del., Scott Brown, R-Mass., John McCain, R-Ariz., Claire McCaskill, D-Mo. and Tom Coburn. R-Okla., said the latest Financial Improvement and Audit Readiness status report from the Pentagon raised concerns that the deadline set in a 1990 law won't be met, despite the plan it lays out to comply.More

Special pay, bonuses still available for some
Army Times
Special pay and bonus programs targeted at assignments and retention have survived a budget purge and are in force for at least the next five months. And the Army has requested that they continue in the next fiscal year. However, stop-loss special pay, which has generated payments of $64 million to $202 million, will expire June 30.More

Effort begins to guard pay before debt deadline
Military Times
Rep. Duncan Hunter, R-Calif., is among the lawmakers seeking to reassure service members and their families that they won't miss out on a paycheck, even if the government faces a financial crisis this summer. In the wake of the announcement that the U.S. has reached its $14.3 trillion debt limit — and is now using extraordinary means to keep paying bills — Hunter is urging quick passage of HR 1551, a bipartisan measure to guarantee military pay. He is the chief sponsor.More

New weapons, war dogs eyed to fight IEDs
Military Times
The Marine Corps could soon have two new weapons in the fight against improvised explosive devices: remote-control vehicles and improved detector dogs. The ideas are among the military's latest in the ongoing pursuit to protect troops from blast injuries as the U.S. enters its 10th summer of fighting in Afghanistan. More

US Navy drones: Coming to a carrier near China?
The Associated Press via Google News
The U.S. is developing aircraft carrier-based drones that could provide a crucial edge as it tries to counter China's military rise. American officials have been tightlipped about where the unmanned armed planes might be used, but a top Navy officer has told The Associated Press that some would likely be deployed in Asia.More

USMC pack could debut downrange by October
Marine Corps Times
The Marine Corps' search for a new standard-issue pack is complete. Officials have settled on a final design for the USMC Pack, which Marines will begin wearing downrange as early as October, according to Lt. Col. Kevin Reilly, the pack's program manager at Marine Corps Systems Command in Quantico, Va. The pack will look a lot like the gear carried by Army personnel and feature shoulder straps that fit better with and without body armor, offer more adaptable storage, and accommodate pouches with more webbing than the Improved Load Bearing Equipment system Marines use now.More

Critical care teams focus on safe returns
Military Times
When you work anywhere from 18 to 29 hours straight, uninterrupted sleep is something you relish. Col. Charles Chappuis felt pretty good leaving with eight hours of shut-eye under his belt. Chappuis needed his rest because he didn't know when he would be sleeping again. He's a physician for one of the four Critical Care Air Transport Teams, or CCATTs, based at Ramstein, Germany, and part of the only all-Air National Guard team.More

Gates will fight cuts in Marine Corps force
Military Times
Secretary of Defense Robert Gates told a group of Marines he will fight to ensure their ranks don't suffer severe cuts when the conflict in Afghanistan winds down, the way U.S. military forces were reduced in the post-Vietnam era. Troop levels are under scrutiny by Congress as lawmakers work on the 2012 defense budget.More

For US Navy, time to say 'no'?
Defense News
The high pace of operations demanded by combatant commanders in the wars in Afghanistan, Iraq and on terrorism is taking its toll on the U.S. military, a top commander said. As budget growth flattens at the Pentagon, the need is becoming stronger to re-examine those demands and, in the meantime, look for ways to dial back on the response.More

National Guard cost-effective solution in fiscally constrained times
National Guard Bureau
As part of the Total Force, the National Guard has successfully transformed into an operational force – a transformation impossible without the investments made in the Guard and Reserve, the top National Guard leader said. During a Senate Appropriations Committee hearing on Capitol Hill, Air Force Gen. Craig McKinley, chief of the National Guard Bureau, said the Guard must remain operational so "this significant investment is not squandered."More

Coast Guard, Army Corps of Engineers continue flood response
Coast Guard Compass
As communities along the Mississippi River system continue to be impacted by record high waters, Coast Guard men and women are deployed in support of Federal, state and local agencies throughout the Midwest while the South remains on alert as rising waters threaten major flooding in the days ahead.More

National Guard (in federal status) and Reserve activated as of May 10
U.S. Department of Defense
This week the Navy announced a decrease in activated reservists, while the Army, Marine Corps, Air Force, and Coast Guard, announced an increase. The net collective result is 545 more reservists activated than last week. At any given time, services may activate some units and individuals while deactivating others, making it possible for these figures to either increase or decrease.More