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tv   Washington Journal  CSPAN  May 20, 2016 11:03pm-11:44pm EDT

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convention, my name is geraldine ferraro. [cheering and applause] stand before you to proclaim , america is the land here dreams can come true for all of us. [cheering and applause]. announcer: in 1984, vice president acceptance speech of new york congresswoman geraldine democratic he national convention in san francisco. she was the first woman to be ominated for vice president by a major party. for the complete american history tv weekend schedule, go to announcer: now, a look at the elements of the national defense passed by the ct house on wednesday. from "washington journal," this minutes. 40
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week, covering congress for military times is leo shane. this is the bill that projects pentagon's programs for the coming fiscal year. what stood out in your mind in in this the items authorization bill. guest: every year, this has a ot of different procedures and policies in it that are of importance. this is the second year where is real headline on it exactly how they're funding the measure. it's another controversy over this. the white house has issued a veto threat saying, look, you're going beyond the budget caps and we got the agreement last fall. basically what we got it down to aside about 18et billion of the temporary war funding, of the contingency funding, and put that back in the base budget. what the white house is saying is, look, that's not the deal. we have that separate. you're not supposed to use that money that way.
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what republicans are saying is, look, this is a readiness issue. we've got to get the money in up our end o plus strength, got to better fund troops and equipment and if we don't put the money in, it will cause bigger problems down the road. out the difference in between the house version and the senate, quite a difference to fund y they choose the military. the senate follows a budget agreement struck last year, the that extra $18 billion of war funding to cover the president's request. that means the country would run out of money to pay for u.s. military campaigns abroad next spring, probably necessitating an emergency spending measure. chairman oncern, the of the armed services committee? guest: the concerns of the concerns of the white house. what chairman thornburg has look, there is a new administration coming in. we have new priorities. to did this from bush obama. they had a temporary
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point.mental at that this fund oversees operations i believe through april, different extend that a little bit more but there's a big concern about democrats and pentagons saying, look, funding for the whole year, there's of ntial for all sorts problems. host: this is a start of a debate on funding and other issues. explain how this sets up he debate on the spending measure for the pentagon. guest: we had over in the house appropriations committee pass their version this week too, which follows the same sort of guidelines. this is how we'll fund things. we're going to use that temporary war spending money to supplement the base and make sure that we've got enough there. the senate takes up its defense authorization bill next week. one of the senate committees will take up the defense appropriation bill next week and said we'd stay in the budget caps, but senator mccain said he'll go to the floor and argue there needs to be a $17 billion
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floor there e busting these budget cuts. all of this goes back to the issue of the 2011 budget control act and sequestration of spending caps and the fact that congress hasn't been able to find a way to get around that it.find a long term fix for we've seen several two-yore deals and short-term deals but what the democrats and white house are pointing out right now is if they go ahead with this spending plan next year when the budget caps go into ffect we'll see spending gaps come down and a fiscal cliff that the military jumps off of. this how does this budget time around compare to previous udgets for the obama administration for the defense department, not in terms of dollar figures necessarily but in terms of priorities. guest: this is the same that we've seen. drastic or a dramatic shift. in of the things unusual here are coming from congress, some of them good and bad.
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there's been recent talk in years about reforming medical care, in the health system and senate and house have pretty broad ranging plans on that that would mean some new hours at the facilities, some new structure of how that's delivered. there's a lot of acquisition both of again, it's coming from congress and not necessarily the white house. there's parts that the white house poses, and parts they don't. there's quite a few things in here, and the big bugaboo for the white house beyond funding guantanamo and the white house closing the and the s down there folks on capitol hill continuing to say no, we're going to keep that open. host: and democrats trying to keep that policy included to shut guantanamo and it was down, wasn't it. guest: it was. it's been a frustration. it's one of the reasons that the ned to vetoas threate on this measure eight consecutive years now. e got a clean sweep of his presidency. every time it's come up, he's
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cited some funding issue or some issue with guantanamo this year and it was both. signs a ry year, he bill. guest: he signed the first veto that came through and the second year, they came to an combraement agreement and he signed one. host: they have just finished up their work on the confuse authorization bill and your piece purporting some of that, saying a bigger army military pay raise. no.te house says house votes yes. tell us about the bigger army. another source of frustration for the white house said e what congress has is the cuts the white house has proposed in coming years to army and strength, army and strength in particular but some of the other services as well, is too leave the will military not prepared to face the threats of the future. obama administration request for next year, we're looking at about 20,000 more soldiers added to the bottom line.
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what folks on capitol hill, the republicans will say, is we're actually keeping it fairly steady, a slight increase, but we're looking at maintaining the it down as tting much as obama wants to and you now, adding more people means adding more personnel cost, healthcare costs, family and housing costs and stuff like that so it's a compounding problem that they can't figure out how to pay for it past next year. host: and the military pay increase, you said, the measure calls for 2.1% military pay rate start nothing january. guest: if that goes through, it would be the first time military private pace with sector wages, first time in four years that that has come up and source of en a major contention within the military advocacy groups. keep e saying look, you pulling little bits off of us it's ng a pay gap, and really frustrating us. senate is ntagon and saying, 1.6, and it's really not that much and will save us $330
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million. it in better t training and equipment, things that help the overall welfare of doesn't put money in troops' pockets. ost: it's reflected by the passage of the defense authorization bill. eo shane, we'd love to hear from our callers too. 202-748-8000. independents and others, 202-748-8002. and for active and retired military folk, that number is 202-748-8003. south bend, indiana. democrat's line. caller: good morning. tack r $610 billion to onto the national debt. i was going to make a comment, defer to george washington who said, stay out of other countries' worries and squabbles, u.s. military, in 158 countries. and also eisenhower, the
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military industrial complex will bankrupt america. here we are $19 trillion in that the i think solution and way to solve this problem is we should look to the one. on this we need to beat our swords into plow shares. i think that's the solution to this whole nightmare, this over-militarization, that it's making america less safe every day. host: outside of guantanamo, is here about the placement of military troops overseas. guest: the money is money for afghanistan, continued operations in the middle east against isis, there's money in here dealing with the ukraine russia.n and so this is affecting all spending world-wide and the military does have a pretty big foot print across the globe. got to re there, you've figure out a way to pay for them. host: another take on that from a 28er, who says that isn't it
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very difficult to make a dod budget with the drifting undefined pentagon mission statement hard to plan spending? guest: it's been frustrating, i assume, that that person is fight ng to isis and the in the middle east, you know, there's much broader defense spending policies and priorities out five years, 10 years, for g and eneral base spendin national defense but the isis issue has been a source of here.ration all over d.c. largely because the congress won't take up the issue of the ew authorization of military force, and the parameters of it. the white house has sent a to ion of what they'd like see, eliminating the presidential scope, eliminating operations to certain things, and what you've got on capitol hill are democrats saying it's too broad and republicans saying narrow and it might hamstring future administrations. gosh, been stalled for, 18 months now. i mean, we're just not getting resolution on that and as a result, the
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pentagon has to move forward ith the sort of loose instructionos what they have. host: to our military line, mark ocala, florida. go ahead. caller: good morning, gentlemen. of questions couple for you. you follow the subject way more than i obviously ever could or have but leo, i would ask for you to explain to the listeners, f you don't mind, just on a side note, i was a sergeant in desert ne corps in storm, i'm a citizen soldier now, a veteran, a person proud to have served his country and i'm a union democrat so i want to let the listeners know where i'm coming from. leo, what percentage of the $610 illion actually goes to the soldiers and sailors and also, that her question is, in budget, if you could describe the amount of generals and admirals, i know that's a question right now, we might be a little top-heavy when it comes also, leo, ifucn
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just touch on the -- in this budget, how much of it really goes to the proliferation of weapons manufacturing here domestically and to be sold overseas. is the er 1 export selling of weapons to other countries, which is making the place.a more dangerous if you could touch on that, leo, i'm all ears. e, guest: and thanks for this question. a lot to unpack. let me take the easiest one first. both the senate and house versions of this bill include language to start cutting down on as you call it, top-heavy four stars there. i believe the senate version has of 25% of the generals and admirals in the version has house a similar number. i don't think it's the exact ame but both are looking at this idea that the military infrastructure and the amount of and the have up top staff they carry has gotten too big, and that can be pulled back down. in terms of unpacking personnel
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versus weapons, and where all of a little tough to define some of that, because training money goes to folks. there is equipment money that you can argue is for the troops and how that works, but know, the you complaint has been personnel into the larger budget and estimates have it from a third to a half, depending on how you want to divy all of that up and which group you want to listen to. say is, advocates will look, just because some of this stuff is costly doesn't mean you have to immediately attack that part. case in point with this bill, part of the $18 million, they hifted the controversial part here, is to fund some extra shifts, some pieces of equipment that were on the pentagon's list.ded mandate these are things that the pentagon said they'd like to there's not enough money so they put it aside. what lawmakers have come back look, we think it's important so we'll give you
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extra money for the equipment so we add things in, and we get into that fight. host: when the bill passed this week, speaker paul ryan issued a the things they do, is it helps close the readiness gap. ight now, there are real and documented short falls in our ability of troops to execute their missions. that issue was addressed by the chairman of the armed services thornbury, our guest on "newsmakers" this week. here's what he had to say. this re not going to fix readiness problem by putting more money into maintenance and operations. for example, aircraft mechanics, we don't have enough and the nes we have are working harder and harder seven days a week and some of them are leaving to go to the airlines. we've got to stop the personnel cuts as well as the other items in order to really fix this. readiness, has it
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gotten to the point where servicemembers' lives are at risk because of these budget cuts? >> i don't know, but maybe. the really -- the alarm bell i t went off for me was when saw the class a mishap rate, and aircrafts you lose the or somebody dies, go up, marines, andfor the also up for the army. as we dig deeper, and we're still digging, by the way, into what's happening out there, it ooks like the air force has real problems, navy has real problems. what's lives are exactly at stake here. it's not just a matter of budget or political leverage. when they don't get the training, when the aircraft are maintained, it is lives, and that's why i feel so strongly about it. >> part of our conversation on newsmakers," with mac thornberry, the chair of the
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committee.ices he's talking about readiness of personnel there. and also heard from donald trump an event we heard last night in new jersey talking about pilots stripping the parts off of old jets. does this bill address any of that? guest: the republicans say it does. they say that, you know, as you heard the chairman say there, there's only so much you can do to address some old parts, problems, some supply issue problems. so they're hoping that extra infusion, that extra $18 billion can provide newer planes and newer systems, things that can actually replace some of these aging planes. we've heard this from donald trump last night, we've heard this from the chairman quite a bit. actually, my colleague jeff has been covering these issues and some of these. you know, we're hearing from to that they do, they have find old planes and old parts and figure out ways to make things work, just to keep aging
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systems flying. ow, that's -- you can argue that that's an issue that just means they're not funded enough or if it's a systemic issue about the priorities, the obama administration wants lesser and newer equipment and they don't see investing in some of these systems as much of a priority as the chairman does and some republicans do. martha's s go to vineyard in massachusetts, democrats' line. caller: good morning. thank you, c-span producers for hat incredible replay of the that y amendment colloquy happened between representative highwayer of the democrats and for the ative sessions republicans. i would like to ask c-span to colloquoy and ole
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context, because it was extraordinary. american public to understand it's cut so thin on just a hand, it's fascinating interplay of multiple issues. a passion passionate democrat d as a passionate american, i want colloquy at that etween the two of them, the mutual respect is what we'd like it see. host: appreciate your comments, barbara and that video is available on she's talking about the conversation between pete sessions and benny hoyer at the end of the day talking about what happened and pulling that back a little bit, the headline in the washington post house floor turns into battleground over lgbt rights. also civil and c
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ahead of that. guest: this is a fight that started wednesday night during the defense authorization debate and it spilled over into the military construction and veterans' affairs appropriations a ate the next day, completely separate bill. what we've got here is an amendment that was added to the the rization bill, republicans say protects religious rights. contractors, chaplains to exercise their religious liberties. democrats have critics have said it's actually condoning lgbt imination of individuals and workers, going against federal executive orders that folks make sure are protected on the account of sexual orientation. so the religious exemption rule, lgbt ne that is right community is against, got the ded the next day, representative brought up an amendment that would erase that of a next g as part
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appropriations bill, and we saw nowhere that it appeared that had won, the language would be stripped out for he vote was held open 10-15 minutes as republican leaders went around to folk. t the last second, it failed 212 to 213. host: seeing a little bit of video yesterday as well. and for c-span listeners, it makes great radio as well. guest: and that chance of shame, shame, shame on the floor. discussion of heated on the house floor, and it was and it shows how can unrelated issues become part of the larger larger budgets and any debate. host: quick question on military discussion. why does that come up in a separate bill and the pentagon measure? uest: they've handled that separately with the veterans
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affairs budget and it has to do with the committees and how they're divided up and separated. it makes for some complicated math problems. yesterday, we had the house pprove their military construction of the va budget, and the military construction, a budget, transportation, housing and urban development budget so when it comes time for negotiations, nal staff has their work cut out for them, but to separate all that what money re out goes where approximate how it fits in. host: let's hear from ashville, good carolina, dan morning, republican line. caller: good morning. me on.for having and not tryingan to push any political party, but anymilitary shouldn't be in country fighting anywhere, spilling blood, and paying them, and they're rich countries to start with. i'm thinking of all the oil countries over in iraq and all of that over there and to come
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over and over again, and they should be paid the oil in the places they fight or any minerals, if we spend any blood there, or not go. host: this speaks to what we heard from donald trump on the campaign trail, promises that allies ng to make receive military systems pay more of a share, asked questions u.s. nato and how much the has to pay. it's a complicated issue, one hat's not really dealt with in these annual budget bills because they're looking at what the foot print is now and what with, what areeal the national security needs and overseas and folks how they're funded. certainly a lot of frustration out there about what it means to assistance and ust what the u.s. owes and is owed to the rest of the world. host: and a reminder, we have active and ide for retired military.
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that number is 202-748-8003. tollsboro, kentucky. caller: good morning. host: hi, jim. wanted to make a couple of quick comments and i'd mr. ciate the comment from shane. in regard to the amount of money wonder if we , i afford to ge fwe can paying for mple, howmbled eggs and bacon and our soldiers have to wait for a text message to find out if they are allowed to have their gun or ot, and hundreds of armored vehicles for isis it use after we leave a country. seems to me we have plenty money for the military. i'd appreciate your comment. thank you. guest: several different things there.ack the issue of isis and the somes, that's getting into foreign military aid, and what
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exactly was that equipment intended for and whether or not there is a risk with any foreign toitary aid when you give it one group, it ends up in the hands of another group. we've certainly seen a lot of frustration there with what's going on in the middle east. i know the house services started looking into this, where does it fit in, are there different parameters and controls? in terms of some of the other issues in there, defense contract suggest something when these committees on capitol hill have looked at ways to save money, they've looked at, are there efficiencies in the places, that is being pulled apart. the some fighting with special investigator, and pecial inspector general for afghanistan, over what he sees is wasted money and what the money, sees as wasted how some of the money is tracked and classified and who ends up with it. issue, and icated when they issue defense contracts, it's not something that can be quickly undone and
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not something that's just immediate. it's not like going to the store and buying some tools or groceries here, and that's one of the reasons that we've seen the pay raise on some of the personnel issues getting hit. you can get some immediate satisfaction, and some immediate cost reductions, just by pulling own the pay raise, just by cutting troops, because you have savings, whereas a five-year six-year contract to provide food overseas or to some equipment. hat takes procurement, and legal ramifications if you do pass it. passed its use defense bill this week and the armed services committee and the senate approved on thursday its version of the defense policy bill, which adheres to the request and udget rejects a plan in the house for budget ion in base needs. john mccain, the chairman of the seek tee saying he would
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more dollars on the senate floor. a $551 billion base budget and billion oversea contingency operation. when do you think the senate bill?begin to consider the guest: if not on monday, on tuesday. for it hoping to apply it this week. bring said he's hoping to up the issue of $18 billion, $18 they n, whatever figure settle on. not pproach he's taking is to try to skirt around the budget caps that are currently on congress right now. straight up ng to say look, when you add $17 billion, let's add the budget caps and forget all of this. that approach hasn't been successful in several years. ongoing site of republicans adding more for defense and democrats saying if defense, add more for domestic spending as well. good morning,
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from missouri, democrats line. caller: good morning. i have a question. this defense department stuff that's going on, how much from us beingm is at war for 15 years, and having redo all of this, to find out where we're really standing on the situation. i mean, how many trillions of dollars under george w. bush was wasted? uest: so a lot of the underlying defense issues here do have to do with the wars in iraq and afghanistan, less so with going back in now. that's some issues being dealt supplemental, but we are still in afghanistan, which is something when i talk and troops, roups they would like the american public to remember there are there 0,000 troops over fighting and risking their lives. but when you're looking at some of the problems and the equipment run down that needs to be replaced, when you're looking at the pressure being put on families and some of
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the stresses, it does go back to more than a decade of war and how does the and military recapitalize, how does he military modernize and retrain folks when they still have to figure out budget short ofls that came from the cost conducting that war. host: former defense secretary robert gates reminding the administration there are still troops in iraq and syria saying he accused the white house hursday of engaging in back flips to avoid describing u.s. forces in iraq and syria as engaged in a combat medication. hours later, president obama's pokesman performed more gymnastics on the subject saying sometimes troops are in a combat situation but not a combat mission. former secretary gates made ms nbc. ments on guest: the white house has backed itself into a corner on this. they promised no new boots on the ground or combat in the middle east. 3,000 new troops floating around the area and three u.s. service members have and the ed over there
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white house is desperately trying to say this is not a slippery slope escalation into another iraq war. host: next call in cooper, texas, margaret on our democrats' line. caller: good morning, c-span. host: good morning. question. have are a i'm one of the 65,000 or so plus widows whose husband died from a service-connected illness, and d.i.c. and f.b.p. wondering if was there was anything in this budget to finally fund it to here we could be able to get back our f.b.p. that my husband and i paid into during our marriage, and now i'm being denied because i'm receiving d.i.c. to you know if anything like that was in the budget this year? guest: there is. and e back up a minute explain to everyone because this is one of those incredibly complicated issues that i think heartbreaking to americans if they followed this closer. what the caller is referring to are some of the benefits that
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military widows receive once a away.e member passes because of the way it's structured, there are certain benefits they can receive. if they receive others, it off sets that and they end up losing thousands of dollars. there's contingencies in there if a widower or widow gets remarried, they lose all of their benefits and doesn't receive any of that. array of a come plex really frustrating things for lost a service member to an illness or in the line of duty and can't get their benefits. in this bill, there is a temporary fix. ssia 's a temporary fund, is the abbreviation if you want to look it up. extended it over to another year. and this is just a temporary fix. his is another supplemental to sort of offset some of this, wouldn't get the military widows entire sum oftheir money but would get a little more money while congress troiz how to pay for the
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larger issue. ost: on that line, a question tweeted asked, where are the military contractor pensions? under the general budget? guest: i'm actually not sure on that one. i would have to look it up. military contractors are becoming a bigger issue on clil the military draws down and as we look at how the the militaryucted, is dependent on them. there's a lot of functions that they have either become ependent on or asked them to take over so you are seeing more attention being paid on capitol hill not just to how much are we spending but are we treating right and what are the rules for employment and what protections are we giving them. what assurance are we giving them that if you help the country in this way, we'll watch out for you. host: rich in pennsylvania. good morning. caller: good morning. we have ated that
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troops in 158 countries. from ile, we're borrowing china to support these troops, like to know st have china ntries sent. guest: getting a little bit outside of my scope here, again, a u.s. footprint ofthe agreements with dozens countries overseas. in some cases, it's the emporary operations like in afghanistan or iraq. in some cases like germany where we have a permanent presence there. we have an agreement, certain cost-sharing agreements with the military bases and with the folks living there. so you know, it's one of the things done on the campaign trail, how much can we pull it back and the pentagon has looked at what is the foot print overseas and we have a base dation round or consoli round for some of those things in recent years, we have seen he u.s. draw down more from
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europe and talked about more in the pacific. host: on the equipment replacement, one of the issues that came up was replacing a fleet of u.s. helicopters. an issue? t guest: you know, it's cost and age and who gets some of the goes, pters and where it and this is a complexity of all of these. size, xactly is the right how many helicopters is enough, what the pentagon -- you know, in the agon is caught middle of a lot of these things and some people see it as political actions by the pentagon. some people see it as a reality. but the pentagon is told by the administration, here's a budget, you need to match. they make all the numbers work and give certain priorities congress comes back and says did you get enough helicopters? the pentagon says we'd always like more but this is the money we were given. and the white house fight over how much money there is to have and if they're given more money, they get helicopters. does that go to better dealing fleet or to the
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military pay raise or healthcare issues? host: let's go to active military line in penbrook, georgia, and curtis. caller: good morning. how you doing, mr. shane. i live right here near active duty post, i'm 19 miles from an active duty post, and i'm real concerned with everything that's going on as far as missions and deployments and everything, and i pay attention to what's going on. i go on base usually about three times a week, and i've noticed that i don't see many soldiers combat around with the patch on their right shoulder, and it seems like every time hat we've had a democrat in office, that you see a big withdrawal of forces. i mean, it's like the democrats seem to just cut budgets. we lose all our experienced soldiers. those are the ones we need to pay and keep. ones that have all
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the experience and all the knowledge to pass down to the soldiers. and as far as budgets go, they really think about personnel a little bit more. that's pretty much my comment. host: retention has been a big issue and a big concern of the services, especially given all the years of war. i can't speak specifically to that base but i can tell you for a lot of folks who did two, three, four even more deployments in iraq and enoughstan, there wasn't money in those and there are those exhausted from the making financial decisions. what we've seen in recent years from the obama administration congress is an effort to look at those retention issues. last year, we saw a major reform of the military retirement system, and is there a way to get more money to younger to younger ops, officers, 401k style plan that ight be more appealing than private sector stuff.
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this year, they're diving into military medical care issues, and will that make it more attractive than having to find private healthcare. but it's something they're and to the ng at caller's point, you know, there mid-career folks with a lot of experience they want to keep in to make sure the experience andat knowledge. host: also on our military line, it's don in west chester, pennsylvania. hey, there. caller: hi. how you doing. host: just fine, don. go ahead. caller: my question is related to rand paul's 2012, when he was president, kept asking the question of why do we need so many overseas bases. let's close the bases, bring the let them walk on nobody ever nd followed up on any of that, but it seemed like a great place to
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reduce our spending, defense spending, without reducing our security. guest: does the new authorization bill address it at all. language in t has there about not closing any u.s. bases. one thing the caller said in the last several years, the pentagon has looked into what the overseas foot print should be. the idea of pulling everybody complicated t of diplomatic issues. e've got allies, agreements, joint training agreements and germany is one example and we've een pretty significant draw backs of troops, but the u.s. is excited, we need to keep presence there because of our and responsibilities because of the strategic value of having troops over there and deployed rward equipment but does it need to be quite as big as the. ons in some ofucti our bases in england and the obama administration has made agreed thatagon has
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we need to be puffing up some of our presence in the pacific. overtroops, more equipment there to react to terrorist threats worldwide, to react to potential problem spots down the line. host: finish up with one more comment or question on twitter asks, why do contracts and negotiations take years, no different than wal-mart, anybody else doing a deal. guest: it's a little different than wal-mart. on the has got things shelf and you can go get that, if you can find a 35 on the shelf at wal-mart, give the pentagon a call. up and ove to pick one get a bulk discount there. a lot of ment, it's stuff, top-speaker technology in a lot of cases, talking about restricted. are missilet have a javelin on the shelf either so there are some long term complications. that in this ing priority have made a
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of dealing with the acquisition reform and does it need to be as pentagon has the made it. they're saying there are ways to make it more sufficient and thing. the whole host: the authorization bill will move over to that side. thanks so much. and reporting, you can follow his reporting on twitter @leoshane. thank you again for being here. guest: anytime. announcer: on the next "washington journal," tom manger, discusses a recent report discussing homicide rates on the rise in dozens of u.s. joseph lawler looks at the puerto rico debt relief legislation introduced in the week. this as always, we will take your calls and you can join the facebook and n twitter. "washington journal" live at 7:00 a.m. eastern on c-span. [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit]. announcer: this sunday night on columnist and r
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slate affair columnist michael insley, talks about old age, living with parkinson's disease. >> parkinson's is a brain that was a nonsensical question. ut what i really meant, obviously, was thinking. is it going to affect my thinking? and thinking is how i learn a living. important.ame pretty nd i asked this neurologist what's going to happen, and he says, he was trying to tell me a big lose your edge, as if that was just nothing. gee, my edge is how i earn a living. it's why i have my friends. maybe why i have my wife. announcer: sunday night at 8:00 eastern and pacific on c-span's q&


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