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Congratulations to this year’s top membership recruiters!

Friday, May 20th, 2016

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Congratulations to this year's Recruiters of the Year, an award given to the one member in each chapter size category who recruited the highest number of new members. These six dedicated members recruited almost 50 new members in a combined total.

This year's winners are:

  • Kimberly Cyr, Hampton Roads Chapter (A1)
  • Lawrence Leffler, Washington Chapter (A1)
  • Elodie Hicks, Middle Georgia Chapter (A)
  • Christina Diana Crisostomo, Land of Lincoln Chapter (A)
  • Beverly Hysmith, Greater Jacksonville Chapter (B)
  • Hiep Mai, West Central Louisiana Chapter (C)

House passes FY2017 Defense Authorization bill after White House veto threat

Thursday, May 19th, 2016

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Yesterday, the House passed its version of the FY2017 Defense Authorization bill, (H.R.4909) 277-147.  In the final vote, 40 Democrats joined 237 Republicans in the affirmative, while only five Republicans along with 142 Democrats voted against passage, 

House Armed Services Committee Chairman Rep Mac Thornberry (R-TX) said the bill protects U.S. national security by “beginning to correct shortfalls in our military readiness, reversing troop cuts, increasing investments in training and maintenance programs, and rebuilding crumbling facilities.”

During its two-day consideration of the bill, the House considered 180 floor amendments of which 170 were approved. Earlier, the House Rules Committee struck a provision from the House Armed Services Committee-approved bill that would have required women to register for the draft.

The House bill authorizes $543.4 billion for the Department of Defense (DoD) and the Department of Energy (DoE) nuclear weapons program. The authorized amount for the base DoD budget would be $523.6 billion, essentially the same as the president's request.

The bill authorizes $35.7 billion for Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO) available until April 2017.  After that the new Administration would, if needed, have to request additional OCO funds for FY2017.  The president's request included $58.8 billion for OCO in FY2017. 

The House bill would also authorize another $23.1 billion in OCO funding to be used for base budget requirements.  The administration request assumes that only $5 million of OCO funds will be used to pay for additional troops and readiness funding not included in the president’s budget request.

This approach to funding OCO caused the White House to issue a veto threat.  The Statement of Administration Policy (SAP) called it “dangerous” and “wasteful.”  “By gambling with warfighting funds, the bill risks the safety of our men and women fighting to keep American safe, [and] undercuts stable planning,” according to the SAP.  Secretary of Defense Ash Carter called the proposal a “raid on war funding that risks stability.”

The White House also takes strong issue with the bill’s restrictions on detainees at Guantanamo Bay, failure to adopt a proposal to begin another Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) round, and rejection of reform proposals for military compensation and health care. 

The House bill provides military personnel with a 2.1 percent pay raise, 0.5 percentage points higher than the administration's 1.6 percent request.  The bill also would increase active duty strength by 27,000 over the president's budget request and set total Army Guard and Reserve strength levels 25,000 higher than the request.

The bill adds funding for 14 more F/A-18's, 11 F-35s, three C-130J, and two MV-22 aircraft.  The bill also funds additional Army AH-64 and UH-60M helicopters and two more ships (one LCS and one DDG-51).  The bill rejects the administration’s proposal to retire the A-10 fleet and replace it with F-35’s.

House Appropriations committee approves FY2017 DoD spending bill

Wednesday, May 18th, 2016

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Yesterday, the House Appropriations Committee (HAC) approved the FY2017 Department of Defense (DoD) Appropriations bill. The HAC bill would provide $517 billion for the DoD base budget (excluding military construction).

Committee chairman Rep. Hal Rogers (R-KY) said the bill “provides the resources needed to keep our military trained and well equipped, to ensure success in our missions now and in the future.”

The HAC followed the House Armed Services Committee’s (HASC) plan for funding Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO) only through April 2017 and using some requested OCO funding for base budget requirements.  The HAC bill would appropriate $42.9 billion for OCO requirements and another $15.7 billion to be used to meet base budget requirements.  This total for OCO matches the president’s $58.6 billion OCO request.

The HASC plan for funding OCO was one of the reasons the administration’s Statement of Administration’s Policy (SAP) cited for a potential veto of the HASC bill and will probably draw a veto threat on the HAC bill. Secretary of Defense Ash Carter called the proposal a “raid on war funding that risks stability and gambles with war funding.”

The HAC bill includes an additional $340 million to fund a 2.1 percent military pay raise that is authorized in the HASC-approved bill.  The president’s budget requests a 1.6 percent pay raise for military personnel.  The HAC also would fund the higher active duty (+27,000) and guard and reserve (+25,000) strength levels that would be authorized in the HASC bill.

The base budget bill would fund the Defense Health Program (DHP) at $33.4 billion, $100 million above the request, but another $450 million for base requirements in funded in the HAC OCO account.

Funding in the HAC bill for Operations and Maintenance (O&M) programs would total $179.3 billion for the base budget, about $2.4 billion above the total O&M request. OCO O&M funding of $30 billion includes $5.6 billion for base requirements.  The increase in the base bill funding includes $6.4 billion more than requested for readiness, $1.6 billion more for facility, sustainment, restoration, and modernization programs and another $750 million for depot maintenance.

The HAC bill would provide $104.2 billion for base budget procurement programs ($2.3 billion above the request).  OCO procurement funding totals $16.6 billion, with $7.3 billion for base requirements (including $3.1 billion for shipbuilding and conversion).  The bill would fund the procurement of 15 ships (including three Littoral Combat Ships), 74 F-35 aircraft, 16 F/A-18E/F planes, 72 UH-60 helicopters, 15 KC-46 tanker aircraft, and 123 Stryker upgrades.

Research and development (R&D) funding in the base budget would be $70.3 billion ($1.1 billion less than the request) with another $163 million for base requirements in OCO funding.  Major programs receiving R&D base budget funding include: the new Air Force bomber; a next generation JSTARS aircraft; RQ-4 Triton Unmanned Aerial Vehicle; the Ohio-class submarine replacement; and STRYKER lethality.

The bill rescinds $1.95 billion from prior-year programs in the base bill and $669 million in in prior-year rescissions from OCO funding.  The HAC also would achieve savings of $1.5 billion from lower fuel costs, and almost $600 million because of more favorable economic conditions.

The bill is now ready for consideration by the full House.

Senate committee approves the FY2017 Defense Authorization bill with major organizational and acquisition reforms

Friday, May 13th, 2016

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Yesterday, the Senate Armed Services Committee (SASC) approved (23-3) its version of the FY2017 Defense Authorization bill.

The bill authorizes force levels, programs, and policies (including military pay raises) for DoD budgets and the programs and policies for the Department of Energy (DoE) nuclear weapons program.  Appropriations bills provide actual funding.

SASC Chair Sen, John McCain (R-AZ) praised the “collaborative, bipartisan process” that led to the committee’s approval.  He called the bill one of reform and innovation saying the bill “contains the most sweeping reforms of the organization of the Department of Defense in a generation” and” refocuses Pentagon leadership on preserving America’s military technological advantage and advances reforms to the defense acquisition system to harness American innovation.”

The SASC bill authorizes total of $602 billion, including $543 billion for the FY2017 DoD base budget and the DOE nuclear weapons program and $59 billion for Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO) costs in FY2017, the same amount requested by the president for OCO.  The House Armed Services Committee’s (HASC) bill provides only $36 billion for OCO through April 2017. The White House and DoD Secretary Ash Carter have been highly critical of the HASC approach to funding OCO for only part of FY2017.

The SASC approves the president’s request for a 1.6 percent military pay raise, rather than the 2.1 percent military raise included in the House Armed Services Committee (HASC) bill.  The SASC also did not follow the HASC in increasing the authorized active duty and reserve strength levels.  In another difference with the HASC, the SASC would authorize three new TRICARE health plans—TRICARE Prime, TRICARE Choice, and TRICARE Supplemental.  The HASC bill provides two TRICARE options—TRICARE Prime and TRICARE Preferred.

Citing the significant changes in the “strategic landscape” since the Goldwater Nichols Act was passed 30 years ago, the SASC bill seeks to recalibrate “the roles and missions of the senior officials in DoD, as well as their relationships with each other.”  The bill limits the National Security Council (NSC) staff of “permanently assigned professional staff and detailees from DoD and other U.S. departments and agencies” to 150.  The SASC also clarified the role of the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (CJCS) emphasizing joint readiness and leadership.

The bill would clarify the primary duties of the Combatant Commanders (COCOMs) “to execute the national defense strategy in consultation with the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, to prepare and plan for conflict, to take necessary actions to deter conflict, and command U.S. armed forces in combat.”  The SASC would establish a Combatant Commanders Council (COCOMs, Chairman and Vice Chairman of the JCS, and the Secretary of Defense) to assist in the execution of strategy and the global integration of military activities.  The Secretary of Defense would convene the council and set the agenda.

The bill would reduce by 25 percent the number of general and flag officers and cut the number of authorized four-star billets from the current 41 to 27.  The committee believes that the general and flag officer corps “has become increasingly out of balance with the size of the force it leads.”  The bill also would reduce the number of Senior Executive Service (SES) civilian employees by 25 percent.  In keeping with these reductions the bill would reduce spending on contractors by 25 percent by January 2019 from a FY2016 baseline.

The SASC bill continues the committee’s acquisition reform efforts by focusing on improving acquisition outcomes.  The bill establishes accountability, assesses new sources of innovation, removes unnecessary processes and requirements., adopts best business practices, and improves the acquisition workforce.

The bill would replace the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics (AT&L) with an Under Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering (R&E) and an Under Secretary of Defense of Management and Support.  The bill would also create a new Assistant Secretary of Defense for Acquisition Policy and Oversight to set defense-wide acquisition and industrial base policy eliminate four Assistant Secretaries and three Deputy Assistant Secretaries.

To improve access to commercial and global innovation, the bill includes provisions “to improve rapid acquisition authority and rapid prototyping and rapid field processes.”  Regulation of commercial items and off the-shelf commercial items is streamlined under the bill.  The SASC would also establish a preference for commercial services.

The bill would establish a preference for fixed-price contracts.  To curb the use of cost-type contracts, the bill would assess military department and agency heads a penalty for using of some cost-type contracts awarded over the next five years.

To improve the acquisition workforce, the bill would authorize more flexible hiring and compensation practices, improve the Defense Acquisition Workforce Development Fund, and establish competitively-selected senior military acquisition advisors in the Defense Acquisition Corps.

Senate leaders have not announced a schedule for full Senate consideration of the SASC bill.

Announcing the 2015-2016 Corporate Member of the Year!

Thursday, May 12th, 2016

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This award recognizes Corporate Members for outstanding contributions made to a local Chapter and the National Organization in the furtherance of the goals of the chapter and the society. To be nominated for this award a Corporation must have been a corporate member for two consecutive years. 

Kearney & Company, P.C. - Distinguished Winner

Established in 1985, Kearney & Company, P.C. (Kearney) is currently the largest Certified Public Accounting (CPA) firm dedicated exclusively to Federal financial management (FM).  Approximately half of Kearney’s business consists of work within the Department of Defense (DoD) and the United States Coast Guard (USCG).  Our success relies heavily on supporting ASMC’s mission to provide education, training, development and advancement of the profession of military comptrollership in our staff and in the military.  In keeping with this mission, Kearney actively participates in offering professional development programs to ensure our team is informed and well-prepared, encouraging team members to join ASMC and recognizing those who obtain their CDFM. They actively participate in ASMC chapters, sponsor and exhibit at the National PDI, and personnel play key roles is ASMC committees.

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