Defense Financial Highlights

U.S. military operations in in Iraq costing $7.5 million a day

Wednesday, September 3rd, 2014

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The cost of running U.S. military operations in Iraq has been averaging $7.5 million per day since mid-June, according to the Department of Defense (DoD).

Pentagon spokesperson Rear Admiral John Kirby told reporters last week that the costs of DoD’s humanitarian and military operations in Iraq have fluctuated daily since beginning on June 16th. Daily costs did not start out at $7.5 million per day, he stressed. “As our OPTEMO and as our activities have intensified, so too has the cost,” he said.

But, the latest figures DoD has compiled show that through those costs have averaged $7.5 million per day through August 26. That would mean that DoD has already spent over $500 million in Iraq.

Kirby said these costs are being funded from current Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO) funding. Congress provided $85.2 billion for OCO in FY2014. Kirby said OCO spending in FY2014 is “well within the limits that we need for 2014.”

Kirby cautioned that the situation in Iraq is still fluid and DoD and the State Department are continuing to plan and review options Costs will change as the level of operations, especially air strikes change. There have been 110 air strikes in Iraq since they began, Kirby said.

President recommends 1% pay raise in 2015 for federal civilian personnel

Tuesday, September 2nd, 2014

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President Obama last week notified Congress that he has determined that federal civilian employees should receive a 1 percent across-the-board pay raise in 2015. In March, the president included a 1 percent civilian pay raise in his FY2015 budget request.

The president also kept locality pay at the 2014 level.

President Obama acknowledged the sacrifices already made by federal civilian employees, such as a three-year pay freeze through January 2014. However, he cited the need to keep the country on a “sustainable fiscal course” as the reason for limiting the pay raise to 1 percent and freezing locality pay.

Each year the president is required under Title 5, section 5304a, U.S.C. to present an alternative pay plan for across-the-board pay and locality pay adjustments. Unless Congress acts the president’s alternative proposal will automatically go into effect.

To date, Congress has expressed general support for a 1% civilian pay raise.  The House-passed FY2015 Financial Services and General Government Appropriations bill was silent on the pay raise. This indicates passive support for the president’s 1% pay raise proposal in that it does not reject it. The Senate Appropriations Committee, in its approval of the FY2015 DoD Appropriations bill, also includes funds for a 1 percent civilian pay raise. No other appropriations committees’ action to date would prohibit a 1% civilian pay raise.

The military pay raise for 2015 will be at least 1 percent, as the president proposed in the FY2015 budget request. The House-passed FY2015 Defense Authorization bill provides a 1.8 percent military pay raise, while the Senate Armed Services Committee’s (SASC) approved bill includes a 1 percent military pay raise

Marine Corps changes special duty assignment pay rates

Friday, August 29th, 2014

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The Marine Corps has revised special duty assignment pay rates for FY2015. Starting on October 1, 2014 most Marines on special duty will receive lower rates than have been paid previously.

The new rates will apply to billets such as recruiters, drill instructors, combat instructors, and embassy security guards. However, special pays for Marines who began serving in special duty assignments before October 1 will not be affected.

The change, which will save the Marine Corps $35 million over five years, was made in response to ongoing budget limitations.

The Marine Corps (as well as the other services) have had to take a hard look at all programs, including some pay items, to meet budgetary constraints. “We spent a significant amount of time evaluating all relevant factors before making a final decision on the changes,” Marine Corps compensation chief 1st Lt. John Krahling said in a news release.

He pointed out that most of Military Pay cannot be changed because it is mandated by law. Only four percent of the Military Personnel Pay account, such as bonuses and special pays, can be adjusted to achieve cost savings.

Krahling emphasized that the Marine Corps is trying to maintain the integrity of the special pay program. “Every billet and assignment that receives special duty will continue to do so,” he said.

Air Force partners with GSA to improve buying efficiency

Monday, August 25th, 2014

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In a move to achieve savings while buying products and services more efficiently, the Air Force has entered into a partnership agreement with the General Services Administration (GSA).

The Air Force’s Sustainment Center (AFSC) and GSA’s Federal Acquisition Service (FAS) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) earlier this month. The MOU, announced by GSA on August 18, 2014, will “assist the AFSC to more effectively obtain the products and services they need to accomplish their mission and serve the American people,” according to a GSA Blog post.

The agreement sets up a working group to identify potential GSA contracts that the Air Force could use. Some of the FAS programs that might assist the Air Force include: professional services contracts; General Supplies and Services Fourth Party Logistics program; Federal Strategic Sourcing Initiative (FSSI); and Global Supply Special Order Program (SOP).

This agreement follows the MOU the Air Force signed with GSA in December 2013. That agreement was for the AF use of the One Acquisition Solution for Integrated Services (OASIS) and OASIS small business contracts to buy complex professional services.

The AFSC , headquartered at Tinker Air Force Base, Oklahoma City, “provides critical sustainment for the Air Force’s most sophisticated weapons systems, including: A-10 Thunderbolt II, AC-130, B-1 Lancer, B-52 Stratofortress, and C-5 Galaxy.”  

Per Diem rates for federal employees unchanged for FY2015

Tuesday, August 19th, 2014

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The General Services Administration (GSA) has announced the daily Per Diem reimbursement rates for federal employees in FY2015.

Per Diem rates in Standard areas in the Continental United States (CONUS) for lodging will be $83 in FY2015, unchanged from rates in FY2014. Rates for and meals and incidental expenses (M&IE) will also remain unchanged at $46.  The Standard area rate covers most of the continental CONUS counties. 

GSA sets per diem rates for locations in CONUS.  These rates are the maximum amounts a federal employee can receive as reimbursement for allowable expenses while on official duty travel. 

The GSA Per Diem Bulletin FTR 15-01 states that Per  Diem rates for lodging for the some 400 Non-Standard areas (NSAs) will vary depending on local conditions. The MIE rate for NSAs will to range from $46 to $71, also unchanged from FY2014. 

All rates are effective on October 1, 2014.

There will be two new NSAs in FY2014: Kayenta, AZ (Navajo County) and San Angelo, TX (Tom Green County).

GSA also announced changes for some locations in FY2015. Elmore County, ID will be included with Sun Valley, ID NSA. Middlebury, VT (Addison County) NSA will be combined with the Burlington/St. Alban’s, VT (Chittenden/Franklin Counties) NSA. And, the Manhattan NSA has will be renamed New York City (NYC). GSA no longer sets rates for individual NYC boroughs.

In addition, the following NSAs will move to the Standard category: Glenwood Springs/Grand Junction, CO; Lakeville, CT; Chesapeake/Suffolk, VA; Lake Geneva, and WI; Sheridan, WY.

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