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Defense Communities 360 Headlines

Senate Committee to Conduct Comprehensive Review of Military Forces, Capabilities

  • May 26, 2015
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DOD infrastructure will be one of a multitude of issues the Senate Armed Services Committee intends to dive into during a far-reaching, 18-month review of the roles, capabilities and size of the armed forces prompted by the evolving threats posed by a handful of powerful adversaries. “In short, for the first time in three decades, the United States faces a potential turning point where our nation’s long-standing military advantages threaten to be eroded by new shifts in the balance of military power,” the committee states in its report accompanying the fiscal 2016 defense authorization bill, S. 1376. The comprehensive assessment will look at force structure and posture, and overseas basing and infrastructure, among other topics …

Civilian Ambassadors Forge Links between Grand Forks AFB, Community

  • May 26, 2015
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A group of civilian ambassadors appointed by the wing commander of Grand Forks Air Force Base has been staying busy, keeping the Grand Forks community in eastern North Dakota up to date about activities at the installation, organizing military appreciation day events and traveling to Washington to meet with Pentagon officials. “Having a close relationship between the community and the base is very important. We always want the community to know what we’re doing out here, so we’re not a mystery,” said Wing Commander Col. Paul Bauman. The ambassadors are briefed on Air Force and air base activities during at least one event annually, and are invited to attend events planned for visiting high-ranking military leaders and other important visitors …

Construction Projects Need to Consider Potential for Coastal Erosion, Milcon Panel Says

  • May 26, 2015
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The Defense Department should consider the potential for coastal erosion and flooding risks in the siting of proposed military construction projects, according to the Senate Military Construction and Veterans Affairs Appropriations Subcommittee. The committee notes that coastal erosion is a growing concern of DOD and points to a 2014 report from the Government Accountability Office (GAO) which looked at 15 existing sites at defense installations in the United States that are vulnerable to coastal erosion. “The GAO noted that DOD officials are concerned that increased erosion on the Alaskan coast threatens several Air Force radar early warning and communication installations,” the committee says in its report accompanying the fiscal 2016 milcon spending bill. “Furthermore, Navy officials are concerned that if a storm surge occurs while a submarine is undergoing maintenance while sitting in a dry dock, the damage would be substantial and costly.” The Appropriations Committee passed the FY 2016 milcon spending bill last week.

Ft. Hunter Liggett Poised to Reach Net Zero

  • May 26, 2015
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Design work on a project to outfit dozens of building with solar panels and install a battery storage system at Fort Hunter Liggett is scheduled to begin shortly, putting the central California Army Reserve installation on a path to net zero energy use. The $22 million project, funded through the energy conservation investment program, includes 5 megawatts of photovoltaic power generation and a 3-megawatt-hour battery energy storage system. The 5-megawatt solar project will include about 500,000 square feet of roof-mounted photovoltaic arrays …

Maryland Offers Low-Interest Loans, Financial Aid to Military Homebuyers

  • May 26, 2015
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Maryland is offering active-duty service members and veterans two strong incentives to purchase a home in 86 designated communities, under a $20 million initiative introduced on Memorial Day by Gov. Larry Hogan. The “You’ve Earned It!” initiative is offering a 2.75 percent fixed-rate, 30-year mortgage and $10,000 in down payment assistance to active-duty military, including Reserves and National Guard, as well as honorably discharged veterans …

Heightened Security Could Exacerbate Traffic Woes outside Bases, Panel Says

  • May 25, 2015
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Constraints on military construction funding are hampering the ability of DOD to address traffic congestion on the roads leading to a number of U.S. installations, including those that have experienced significant population growth due to BRAC, according to the Senate Military Construction and Veteran Affairs Appropriations Subcommittee. The constraints are limiting the ability of DOD to fund urgent defense access roads and entry control point projects at installations coping with growth due to BRAC as well as those serving as host commands for a wide variety of military services and agencies, the panel says in its report accompanying the fiscal 2016 milcon spending bill …

Senate Bill Embraces DOD’s Commissary Reforms

  • May 25, 2015
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The Senate Armed Services Committee adopted the Defense Department’s proposal to slash funding for commissaries by $322 million as an initial step to scaling back the federal subsidy for military grocery stores, under the fiscal 2016 defense authorization bill the panel approved May 14. DOD’s cost-cutting plan would trim the overall savings for military families and veterans from an average of 30 percent to 28 percent, reported Stars and Stripes. More than half of the savings — representing a 23 percent funding cut for the Defense Commissary Agency — would come from operating efficiencies, including reducing staff, store hours and the days stores are open …

Senate Democrats Promise Rough Going on Appropriations

  • May 25, 2015
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Senate Democrats will participate in committee work on fiscal 2016 spending legislation but once the bills move to the floor, the party will block them from advancing, Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.), ranking member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, vowed last week. “Unless there is a new [spending] agreement before these bills come to the floor, we will vote against the motion to proceed,” Mikulski said Thursday after the panel approved its first spending bill of the year. The gambit is designed to pressure Republicans to negotiate on a new budget deal to raise the statutory spending caps …

Army Reserve Looks to Industry to Support its Real Estate Initiatives

  • May 25, 2015
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The civilian responsible for running the Army Reserve’s installations is asking the commercial real estate industry for creative solutions to help it manage and maintain its massive portfolio through more public-private partnerships. “We’re inviting you to come to us with any concepts, theories, solutions, even revolutionary thinking, across all operational areas — policy, contracting, private sector investments, property use, energy security and renewable energy — that will help us reduce costs while also becoming more effective in the capabilities we need to achieve our mission,” said James Balocki, the Army Reserve’s CEO and director of services and installations …

Connecticut Sub Base Not Threatened by BRAC, Commander Says

  • May 25, 2015
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Naval Submarine Base New London is well positioned to weather the next BRAC round, the base commander said Thursday at a meeting sponsored by the Groton Business Association. “I think we have a compelling case for staying open,” said Capt. Carl Lahti. While the Army and Air Force are clamoring for the authority to close bases, senior Navy officials, including Secretary Ray Mabus, have said the department has the right amount of shore infrastructure for the current level of naval strength. Lahti said he believes certain base functions could be moved around but the Navy is not expecting any base closures during the next BRAC …

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