Magazine article National Defense

Washington Pulse

Magazine article National Defense

Washington Pulse

Article excerpt

Depot Daze-There already are rumblings of a Clinton veto on the Defense Department's Fiscal Year 1998 authorization measure. According to veteran Capitol Hill watchers, a number of sticky wickets have been imposed by the House. Among them is tough depot language that would provide sole source prerogatives to Air Force logistics centers, a provision to further curtail government/industry competition, and needless duplication of capabilities at federal centers that already exist in industry. A House-Senate conference could ease matters, but most observers aren't holding their breath.

BRAC Facts-Sen. Thad Cochran (R-MS), a ranking member of the Appropriations Committee, recently told Old Master breakfast clubbers gathered in the Cannon House Building Caucus Room that despite a strong recommendation from the Quadrennial Defense Review, there would be no new round or rounds of base closings at this time. He suggested that it is far too soon to be addressing BRAC (base realignment and closure) issues.

Base closings play a critical role in Defense Department plans to produce funds to underwrite much needed weapon systems modernization.

Line Item Veto Tussle-Another legal challenge to the president's line item veto authority is expected to arise in the pursuit of balanced budget legislation. More specifically, sources point to the tax bill as a source of this renewed combat.

Coveted Programs Remain Safe-Former Army Acquisition Executive Gilbert Decker predicts the service's Crusader next generation artillery and Comanche advanced scout helicopter programs will be spared from major cuts, despite the budget crunch. "I don't think anybody wants to have to choose between Comanche and Crusader," he explained to a select group of defense reporters shortly before his departure from the Pentagon. "That's like asking which one of your kids do you love the most."

A Few Good Barbs-The Marine Corps' publicized effort to provide emergency response nationwide for victims of terrorist chemical gas exposure received a less-than-ardent endorsement from a senior Army expert. The chemical-biological incident response force (CBIRF) of specially trained personnel can detect chemical agents and provide emergency medical services to military and civilian victims.

But, according to the official, this force is "oversold and overrated." In comments made during ADPA/NSIA's recent Chemical Conference at Fort McClellan, Alabama, he said the Marines are effective at conducting "guard" type functions but that they still have a way to go before they can be deemed a full-fledged emergency response capability. …

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