• County Economic Development Director Underscores Challenges in Finding New Uses for Closed Bases

    County Economic Development Director Underscores Challenges in Finding New Uses for Closed Bases0

    A new round of base closures may allow the Pentagon to redirect spending on unneeded facilities into higher priority requirements, but advocates for a sixth BRAC round shouldn’t promote the process as one defense communities can readily recover from, says the head of an economic development organization helping to address a realignment in south central Pennsylvania. “No one should think it’s an easy process,” said L. Michael Ross, president of the Franklin County Area Development Corp., which has been supporting the Letterkenny Industrial Development Authority in its efforts to convert almost 1,500 acres to commercial use since Letterkenny Army Depot was realigned following the 1995 round of BRAC …

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  • White House Budget Plan Doesn’t Add Up

    White House Budget Plan Doesn’t Add Up0

    With defense hawks and Democrats alike blasting President Trump’s proposal to offset a $54 billion increase in military spending above the statutory budget cap with a corresponding cut in domestic programs, the consensus of budget watchers is that the administration’s fiscal 2018 budget request will be merely the opening salvo in what is likely to

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  • DOD Outlines Process for LRAs to Request Protection under Environmental Statute

    DOD Outlines Process for LRAs to Request Protection under Environmental Statute0

    The Defense Department has proposed a rule outlining the process for local redevelopment authorities (LRAs), owners and others in control of BRAC sites to request legal representation from DOD according to a federal statute intended to protect them from liability for undiscovered contamination. The proposed rule, published in the Dec. 7 Federal Register, stems from Section 330 of the 1993 defense authorization act, which indemnifies owners of former military base property from lawsuits, judgements and other actions arising out of claims for personal injury or property damage. To date, the statute primarily has been relied on by LRAs and their insurers to recover damages from the military after they encounter previously unknown contamination …

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  • Compromise Defense Policy Bill Would Boost Force Levels

    Compromise Defense Policy Bill Would Boost Force Levels0

    The House and Senate Armed Services committees have settled on a compromise fiscal 2017 defense authorization bill that would halt planned cuts in the end strength of the Army, Air Force and Marines in the coming year, while jettisoning several provisions that were likely to draw a presidential veto. The conference report likely will be filed today. The House is expected to vote on the agreement Friday, and the Senate is expected to take it up next week, reported Military Times. Perhaps the most far-reaching impact of the legislation for defense communities is its rejection of the Pentagon’s plans to reduce the size of the Army and Marine Corps …

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  • Expanding Goals of BRAC Could Improve Its Political Prospects, O’Hanlon Says

    Expanding Goals of BRAC Could Improve Its Political Prospects, O’Hanlon Says0

    BRAC has always been a hard sell, a point borne out by the Obama administration’s failure to persuade lawmakers to authorize one or more base closure rounds over the past five years. Maybe if the Pentagon were to broaden the aims of the BRAC process from simply winnowing unneeded infrastructure to an effort that simultaneously reinvests in the neglected facilities at enduring installations. Reconceptualizing BRAC possibly could improve its prospects in Congress, Michael O’Hanlon, a senior fellow in foreign policy at the Brookings Institution, told On Base. A more comprehensive BRAC effort could both rightsize the military’s portfolio of installations as well as reverse the deterioration of facilities that have been underfunded in recent years as DOD has been forced to operate under a budget cap …

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