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Robert Hale

$750 Billion Or Bust? Trump’s (Latest) Big Defense Budget Bound For Big Fights

Posted by Paul McLeary on


Few of the experts we spoke to expect the administration to actually see the full $750 billion President Trump will reportedly propose this week. Between Trump himself calling the figure a “negotiating tactic” and the potential for it driving a $1.2 trillion deficit, the odds are awfully long.

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House Approps Chair Promises Pentagon ‘Flexibility’ On O&M Funds

Posted by Sydney J. Freedberg Jr. on


Legislators will probably loosen some rules on federal spending to help the Pentagon cope with Congress’s failure to pass funding bills until six months into the fiscal year. Budget dysfunction has gotten so bad it’s forcing even the famously strict appropriations committees to loosen the reins after years of resistance.

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Why DoD’s Year-End Spending Needs to Change

Posted by Robert Hale on


As the end of the fiscal year approaches at the Department of Defense (DoD), teams at most defense organizations are working hard to spend all the funds in the Pentagon’s day-to-day operating budgets, which are available for use only during the ourrent fiscal year. To do otherwise, they fear, would suggest that not all available funds… Keep reading →

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Army Commission’s Landmark Report Will Shape Budget Battle

Posted by Sydney J. Freedberg Jr. on


UPDATED: Pentagon official rejects Commission’s Apache plan as “too expensive” WASHINGTON: After nine months of often frantic effort, the National Commission on the Future of the Army delivered its final report yesterday afternoon. Now comes the hard part. It’s 2016, not 2015, that will be the year of the commission, because their 208-page report will… Keep reading →

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Army Commission: Pay More To Keep Apaches in Guard

Posted by Sydney J. Freedberg Jr. on


UPDATED: Retired Gen. Ham Adds Apache Cost Info At Friday breakfast WASHINGTON: The congressionally chartered National Commission on the Future of the Army recommends splitting the difference between the regular Army and the National Guard in a bitterly polarizing dispute over AH-64 Apache attack helicopters. That’s the most politically high-profile recommendation out of dozens, many of them… Keep reading →

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Army Commission Drops Hints On Final Report; Reorg Likely

Posted by Sydney J. Freedberg Jr. on


ARLINGTON: As it hustles towards a February 1st deadline, the National Commission on the Future of the Army remains pretty tight-lipped on what it’ll say in its report to Congress. Even our usually savvy sources are mostly shrugging their shoulders. However, the commissioners have dropped enough hints for us to make two educated guesses. First, the… Keep reading →

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Hale Holds Out (Slim) Hope For Sequester Deal

Posted by Sydney J. Freedberg Jr. on


WASHINGTON: The former top budgeteer at the Pentagon says he’s clinging to hope for a sequestration deal this fall — but he admitted the signs so far aren’t looking good. “I’ve got my fingers crossed for when Congress come backs next week,” Bob Hale told me this morning. Yesterday, the former Pentagon comptroller starred at… Keep reading →

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The Hare And The Tortoise: Slowing The Growth in Military Pay, Benefits

Posted by Robert Hale on


Robert Hale, former budget god (comptroller) at the Pentagon, is good with numbers, especially defense budget numbers. And he speaks about them in clear, simply structured and well expressed English. Here he tackles one of the two or three thorniest issues facing the leadership of the US military: how to rein in the enormous growth… Keep reading →

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Sequestration: Don’t Believe All The Hype

Posted by Robert Hale on


Bob Hale regularly demonstrated his better qualities during testimony before Congress, delivering highly complex facts and judgments about the Defense Department’s spending and budgets to the public with a knowing humor delivered with the sort of gravelly voice you’d expect from one of those old country lawyers.  Hale served as DoD comptroller from 2009 to 2014, and, before… Keep reading →

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So Many Defense Budgets; So Little Clear Direction

Posted by Mackenzie Eaglen on


After two weeks of covering the 2015 defense budget, I can assure you it is confusing. Every budget includes fudges, silliness and an enormous amount of information. They are hard to make sense of and often their import doesn’t become clear for a year or two. But this budget may be the most complex one… Keep reading →

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