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Defense Communities 360 Headlines

Talk of Potential Shutdown Emerges in Wake of Planned Parenthood Videos

  • August 4, 2015
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A growing number of Republicans are calling for the party’s leaders to link fiscal 2016 spending bills, including a continuing resolution, to language denying funds to Planned Parenthood, in response to a series of undercover videos showing the organization’s executives discussing the sale of fetal tissue. A failed procedural vote in the Senate Monday to debate a measure cutting off federal funding for Planned Parenthood is unlikely to slow a rising outcry over the issue from conservatives. The effort began in the House last week with 18 members pledging to oppose any spending bills that continue funding for the organization, reported the Hill. And now Senate Republicans, particularly three of the members running for president, have taken up the mantle …

Policy Bill Talks Stuck on Military Benefits

  • August 4, 2015
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A proposed increase in co-pays for prescriptions has emerged as one of the thorniest issues in negotiations between the House and Senate Armed Services committees over the fiscal 2016 defense authorization bill. As of last week, the ranking members of the two committees had sided with Senate Armed Services Chair John McCain (R-Ariz.) against House Armed Services Chair Mac Thornberry (R-Texas) over the health care fees. McCain, along with Sen. Jack Reed (D-R.I.) and Rep. Adam Smith (D-Wash.), favor DOD’s plan to increase co-pays for drugs purchased through Tricare by mail or at retail pharmacies while continuing to allow prescriptions to be filled at military clinics for free …

Army Seeks Community Input over Plan to Train Rocket Units at JBLM

  • August 4, 2015
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The Army is seeking input from residents of the South Sound region of Washington state about a plan to conduct a three-day test at Joint Base Lewis-McChord to determine whether it can conduct rocket firing training without disturbing surrounding communities. The High Mobility Artillery Rocket System can create a sonic boom and likely will be more noticeable to residents than the howitzer cannons currently used in training at the installation, reported the News Tribune. The Nisqually Reservation is the closest community to the installation firing range and likely would experience the loudest noises. Officials will host an open house this week for residents …

Brooks City Base Issues $55M in Bonds for Infrastructure Upgrades

  • August 4, 2015
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Brooks City Base issued $54.9 million in revenue bonds for infrastructure improvements needed to support further growth at the redevelopment project in San Antonio, officials announced Monday. The bond package will fund a variety of projects: restoration of historic Hangar 9, the only surviving hangar from World War I; parkway and drainage improvements; repairs and upgrades to Aeromedical Drive and Louis Bauer Drive; and engineering and design work for South New Braunfels road extension to Loop 410. A portion of the funds also will be used for the construction of the Embassy Suites by Hilton at the city base …

Plans to Attract Defense Firms to Eastern Oklahoma Advance

  • August 4, 2015
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Plans to foster the defense industry in McAlester moved ahead last week after the city council voted to accept a $193,257 award from the Oklahoma Strategic Military Planning Commission. Leroy Alsup, the city’s community and economic development director, proposed dedicating $93,000 of the award to a planned defense industrial park that may be located next to the McAlester Army Ammunition Plant in eastern Oklahoma, reported McAlester News. The city is waiting for the Army to update the plant’s strategic plan before determining where the industrial park would go, Alsup said. A site outside the plant’s gates would make sense if a defense company were willing to move to McAlester …

Northern California Community Needs JLUS for Travis AFB

  • August 4, 2015
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Solano County, Calif., is seeking proposals from qualified firms to prepare a joint land use study (JLUS) for Travis Air Force Base, including the associated special use airspace and C-17 assault landing zone. The DOD OEA provides grants to state and local governments to conduct a JLUS planning process to support the long-term sustainability and operability of the military installation complex. Solano County has received an OEA grant to assist in the preparation of a JLUS for Travis AFB located in Fairfield, Calif. The county will be the project sponsor. Interested firms must demonstrate knowledge and experience in community planning, development and land use issues, fiscal impact analysis, economic development, and military installation management and operations. Proposals should be submitted to: Jim Leland, principal planner, Solano County Department of Resource Management, 675 Texas Street, Fairfield, CA 94533, no later than 5 p.m. Pacific Time, on Aug. 31. The request for proposals can be viewed on the county website …

McCain, Thornberry to Continue Talks over Defense Bill

  • July 31, 2015
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Senate Armed Services Chairman John McCain and his House counterpart, Mac Thornberry, are expected to continue negotiations over the fiscal 2016 defense authorization bill during Congress’ August recess with the goal of completing a conference report in September. “We’re not going to stay in town, but there are phones and all kinds of ways of communicating and engaging,” McCain said. The two committee leaders planned to meet Thursday night to see if they could make progress on some of the most contentious issues separating the two sides, reported CQ Roll Call. Differences over military benefits have proven to be among the negotiation’s most difficult hurdles, as the Senate version embraces cost-saving proposals to slow the rate of increase in service members’ basic allowance for housing and raise Tricare prescription co-pays that the House rejects …

Congress Will Aim to Approve CR after August Recess

  • July 31, 2015
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One of Congress’ primary goals when it returns to Capitol Hill in September will be clearing a continuing resolution (CR) to keep the federal government open when the new fiscal year begins Oct. 1. Leaders of both chambers have now acknowledged what has become readily apparent with the appropriations process at a standstill in the House and Senate. On Thursday, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said discussions about a stopgap funding bill for fiscal 2016 will take place in September. “When we come back after August we’ll discuss the way forward on getting the government funded,” McConnell said, reported CQ Roll Call. He dismissed the prospect of hashing out a budget agreement with the White House sooner …

Atlanta to Launch Planning Process for Remaining Acreage at Ft. McPherson

  • July 31, 2015
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With the sale of about two-thirds of the former Fort McPherson to filmmaker Tyler Perry complete, the city of Atlanta soon will begin crafting a redevelopment plan for the remaining 145 acres at the southwest Atlanta site. The master planning process will come under the Atlanta Regional Commission’s Livable Cities Initiative and encompass property outside the post, including the Oakland City MARTA station just north of it and the western extension of the Atlanta BeltLine, reported the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. The BeltLine is a far-reaching transportation and economic redevelopment project that will provide a network of public parks, multi-use trails and transit along a 22-mile railroad corridor circling downtown Atlanta …

Veterans Court Movement Gains Momentum

  • July 31, 2015
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If there was any doubt as to how far the push for communities to offer veterans treatment courts has come, this week’s national convention at Maryland’s National Harbor provided a resounding answer. About 1,000 judges, mentors, advocates and graduates of veterans courts attended the conference, which devoted a day for court supporters to lobby senators to match $15.5 million in funding recommended by the House for veterans court programs, reported Stars and Stripes. “This is an exciting time for the veterans treatment court movement,” said Melissa Fitzgerald, senior director for Alexandria, Va.-based Justice for Vets, an advocacy group trying to increase the number of veterans courts around the country. “The courts are working and they’re returning healthy veterans to their families and their communities …

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