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Defense Communities 360 Headlines

Defense Appropriations Panel Sticking to Budget Cap, Chairman Tells Navy Officials

  • February 26, 2015
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House Defense Appropriations Subcommittee Chairman Rodney Frelinghuysen pressed Navy Secretary Ray Mabus at a hearing Thursday to reveal what priorities would be cut from the service’s fiscal 2016 budget request if it is forced to adhere to the Budget Control Act spending cap. “We’d like, actually, a list of what you would have to do under [a] sequestration scenario,” Frelinghuysen told Mabus during his panel’s first budget hearing of the year. Mabus maintained that the administration’s proposal was the “minimum budget” for the Navy and Marine Corps to meet the defense strategy, but Frelinghuysen insisted the subcommittee needs to prepare for the likelihood that Congress does not strike a deal lifting the defense spending cap …

McCain Hones Strategy to Defeat Budget Caps

  • February 26, 2015
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Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, on Wednesday vowed to spearhead an effort to provide the Defense Department relief from the statutory spending caps. “I will not vote for a budget in the United States Senate that has sequestration in it. I can’t do that to the men and women who are serving,” McCain said at a New America Foundation conference, reported the Hill. “Next week, [Defense Secretary] Ash Carter is going to come over with a budget and then we’re going to have one hell of a fight over sequestration …

Anxiety over Cost-Cutting Reforms Prevalent, Enlisted Leaders Testify

  • February 26, 2015
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Questions about possible changes to compensation, benefits and support services are hurting the morale of service members and their families, the military services’ top enlisted leaders told lawmakers on Wednesday. Soldiers “see the future. They see it on the news every day, and they see uncertainty and it bothers them,” Sgt. Maj. of the Army Daniel Dailey told the House Military Construction and Veterans Affairs Appropriations Subcommittee. “What I really need is them focused on the mission and saving their fellow soldiers’ lives,” Dailey said. The hearing comes as stringent budget caps are forcing DOD to consider cost-cutting reforms to benefits, including housing allowances and commissary discounts, as well as programs supporting military families …

Budget Hearing to Focus on DOD’s Declining Investment in Facilities

  • February 26, 2015
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The House Armed Services’ Readiness Subcommittee next week will hold a hearing to assess the long-term impact of the steep cuts in spending on facilities spurred by the Budget Control Act. “The budget reductions, compounded by the deep cut of sequestration, have placed a significant strain on installation investment accounts and forced the acceptance of increased risk within aging infrastructure,” according to a statement from the committee …

Virginia Lawmakers to Consider Funding Encroachment Efforts at Hampton Roads Bases

  • February 26, 2015
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Virginia lawmakers are considering adding $2.4 million to the state budget to protect the Navy’s Fentress Auxiliary Landing Field in Chesapeake and Langley Air Force Base in Hampton from urban encroachment. Fentress would receive $2.1 million and Langley $250,000 under the budget amendments. Chesapeake and Langley have committed to matching the funds, reported the Virginian-Pilot. Chesapeake approved its program last year but has not yet started buying properties, said Deputy City Attorney Andrew Fox. The city plans to spend $2.5 million in municipal funds on the initiative. Officials now are evaluating about 6,000 acres and likely will target property that could be used for high-density development …

Army Bracing for Further Cuts under Budget Caps, McHugh Says

  • February 26, 2015
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If the statutory spending caps are fully imposed in fiscal 2016, all Army personnel and activities will be affected, Army Secretary John McHugh told reporters Wednesday. “There will virtually be no corner of the Army that will be untouched,” he said. “Obviously, the primary concern that we discuss in these very uncertain times are the readiness ratings for soldiers and whatever tomorrow’s missions might be.” McHugh ranked the budget as one of his top three priorities, along with any activity involving deployed forces, and combating sexual assault and sexual harassment …

Texas Lawmakers Advance Measure to Bolster Support for Defense Communities

  • February 26, 2015
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Texas would be able to provide more financial assistance to communities trying to support a neighboring military installation or cope with a downsizing, under legislation moving in the state Senate. On Wednesday, the Veterans Affairs and Military Installations Committee passed a bill raising the cap on grants from the Defense Economic Adjustment Assistance Grant program from $2 million to $5 million, reported the San Antonio Express-News. Senate Bill 318 now heads to the full Senate for consideration. The cap needs to be higher because of Texas’ population growth since the program was created in 1997, said state Sen. Juan “Chuy” Hinojosa (D), the bill’s author. It also would help Texas compete with other states fighting to preserve their military bases …

Leaders Highlight Alaska’s Strategic Advantages at Army Listening Sessions

  • February 26, 2015
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Almost 1,000 residents showed up at listening sessions in Anchorage and Fairbanks this week to tell the Army why Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson and Fort Wainwright should be spared cuts as the service determines how to realign its forces to eliminate up to 70,000 active-duty soldiers by fiscal 2020. At both public meetings, local leaders emphasized the state’s strategic location, vast training space, community support for the military and the quality of local schools. Alaska has more veterans per capita than any other state because it’s a great place to live, said Gov. Bill Walker (I). When considering Alaska’s strategic importance, one needs to look at Alaska from the top down, as on a globe, not a two-dimensional map, Walker said …

Native Landscaping, Drip Irrigation Slashes Water Use at Laughlin AFB

  • February 25, 2015
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With this month’s completion of the first phase of a water conservation project at Laughlin Air Force Base, Texas, the installation is one step closer to saving more than 61 million gallons of water per year and an estimated $500,000 in annual utility and maintenance costs. The project employs xeriscaping, the process of removing conventional landscaping and replacing it with native, drought-tolerant plants and rock features, and a centrally controlled drip line irrigation system. The approach has been carried out at a number of other Air Force installations, reported AFCEC Public Affairs. Prior to the project, Laughlin consumed an average of 216 million gallons of potable water each year, much of it through conventional manual irrigation of base landscaping …

Navy Agrees to Cover Cost of Filtering Water outside Closed Philadelphia-Area Bases

  • February 25, 2015
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The Navy could spend up to $12 million to filter contaminated drinking water near two former installations in suburban Philadelphia, Naval Air Station Joint Reserve Base Willow Grove and Naval Air Warfare Center Warminster, after elevated levels of perfluorinated chemicals were found last year in the wells of several nearby towns. The Navy signed an agreement with the Warminster Municipal Authority to install a carbon filtration system on three contaminated wells in the city. Horsham has asked the Navy for a similar system for five of its wells. Warrington has not yet developed a plan for addressing contamination in three of its wells, reported the Philadelphia Inquirer. Until the filters are in place, the three municipalities will continue buying water from neighboring towns, according to the story. The Navy has agreed to pay for cleanup costs but the Environmental Protection Agency is investigating whether there are other sources for the contamination, which stems from industrial products such as firefighting foam.

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