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Defense Communities 360 Headlines

Armed Services Chair Remains ‘Deeply Skeptical’ of BRAC Request

  • April 28, 2015
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Mac Thornberry (R-Texas), chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, reiterated his opposition to the Pentagon’s request to conduct a BRAC round in 2017, in a fact sheet accompanying the chairman’s mark of the fiscal 2016 defense authorization bill. The document acknowledges that DOD has expressed concerns that excess basing capacity is a financial drag on the department, as well as that its most recent capacity analysis is more than a decade old and does not reflect the probable future force posture. The fact sheet indicated, though, that Thornberry would remain extremely reluctant to approve a new round until the military’s roles and missions are better defined …

Texas Mayors Urge Lawmakers to Include $150M in Budget for Installations

  • April 28, 2015
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A coalition of defense communities in Texas is asking the state Legislature to include $150 million in the next two-year budget to support military installations. The money would be allocated to the Texas Military Preparedness Commission for grants to help communities enhance installations. The request, which represents only one-tenth of 1 percent of the nearly $150 billion that the state’s 15 installations bring to the Texas economy is “a very small price to pay to protect the military mission and jobs at Texas military installations,” wrote the Texas Mayors of Military Communities. “If state investment is going to make a difference in a future BRAC outcome, funding for projects is needed during the FY 2016-2017 biennium …

BRAC Needed to Help Army ‘Right-Size’ Its Infrastructure, Halverson Says

  • April 27, 2015
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With the size of the Army’s active-duty force steadily dropping, the service needs to conduct a new round of base closures so it can eliminate unneeded infrastructure and direct its funds toward modernizing the infrastructure it does need, Lt. Gen. David Halverson, commander of Installation Management Command and assistant chief of staff for installation management, said last week. “In time, just putting off the health of your installations is degrading, and that’s a fine balance,” Halverson said at an Association of the U.S. Army breakfast, reported Army News Service. “You can do it for one year, you can do it for two years, but overall, you will not be able to modernize the capability that we need and so those are the decisions we have to look at now …

Authorization Bill Rejects Air Force Plan to Retire A-10 Fleet

  • April 27, 2015
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For the second straight year, the House Armed Services Committee has proposed reversing the Air Force’s plan to retire its fleet of A-10 close air support aircraft. Instead, the committee would provide $683 million to keep the aircraft flying, according to the chairman’s mark of the fiscal 2016 defense authorization bill. The Air Force has said retiring the A-10 would save $4 billion and that other aircraft can perform the close air support mission. Many lawmakers, though, dispute the claim that other aircraft can replace the Warthog …

Joining Forces Receives Industry Pledge to Hire, Train 90,000 Veterans, Spouses

  • April 27, 2015
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A group of technology and energy companies have committed to hire or train 90,000 veterans and military spouses in the next five years, First Lady Michelle Obama announced last week during an event marking the fourth anniversary of the Joining Forces initiative. When the effort to raise awareness among all Americans about the service, sacrifice and needs of military families initially was launched, President Obama challenged the private sector to hire 100,000 veterans and spouses. Now, less than four years later, “America’s businesses have continued to race past my husband’s initial goal, and together, those businesses who answered the president’s call have hired or trained more than 850,000 veterans and military spouses,” the first lady said …

House Armed Services to Shift Base Budget Needs to OCO Account

  • April 26, 2015
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The House version of the fiscal 2016 defense authorization bill will be aligned with that chamber’s budget resolution, allowing DOD to tap the tens of billions of dollars in extra funds stashed in its war account for requirements that ordinarily would be funded in the department’s base budget. “I’m not too wrapped up in the label on the account,” Mac Thornberry (R-Texas), chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, said last week before his panel’s subcommittees began marking up the annual policy bill …

Panel Asks Air Force, Navy for Details on Criteria for F-35 Basing Decisions

  • April 26, 2015
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The House Armed Services’ Readiness Subcommittee is eager to learn more about the selection criteria the Air Force and Navy rely on when making stationing decisions for the F-35, according to report language attached to the panel’s portion of the fiscal 2016 defense authorization bill. The subcommittee directs the two services to brief it before either announces the initial screening and site survey criteria for their next stationing action, or by Dec. 1, 2015, whichever is earlier. The briefing should cover each service’s existing process for stationing, basing and laydown decisions for the F-35, with an explanation of the methodology employed for each criterion …

China Lake Community Needs to Address Water Shortfall, McGinn Says

  • April 26, 2015
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Naval Air Weapons Station China Lake is a valuable asset for the Navy that likely wouldn’t be threatened by a prospective BRAC round, the Navy’s top installations official told the China Lake Alliance during a luncheon last week. At the same time, the aquifer that China Lake relies on is in overdraft, jeopardizing the long-term sustainability of the installation located in the Western Mojave Desert region of California, said Dennis McGinn, assistant secretary for energy, installations and environment. “Even if there were not China Lake and the Naval Air Warfare Center here, this would be an unsustainable situation …

Army Commission Announces Chairman, Vice Chair

  • April 26, 2015
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Retired Army Gen. Carter Ham, who most recently served as commander of U.S. Africa Command, will lead the National Commission on the Future of the U.S. Army, the commission announced last week. Thomas Lamont, who served as assistant secretary of the Army for manpower and reserve affairs from 2009 to 2013, will be the panel’s vice chair. The commission, created by the fiscal 2015 defense authorization bill, will assess the structure and size of the Army, determine the proper force mixture of the active and reserve components, and conduct policy analysis to document how policies affect mission requirements, according to a press release …

Cultural Festival to Showcase Link between Monterey, Military Facilities

  • April 26, 2015
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The city of Monterey, Calif., will hold a cultural festival this weekend to highlight the community’s close relationship with its two military installations — the Presidio of Monterey, home of the Defense Language Institute, and the Naval Postgraduate School.
With a BRAC round looming, the inaugural Language Capital of the World Cultural Festival will provide an opportunity for Monterey to demonstrate its support for the two installations, according to Mayor Clyde Roberson. “We can provide the [Defense Department’s] mission here better than anywhere else,” Roberson said last week. “This is just one of the many steps we are taking.” Last year, Monterey County trademarked the slogan, the “Language Capital of the World,” as part of an effort to raise the profile of the Defense Language Institute. Military activity in Monterey contributes $1.4 billion to the local economy annually, reported the Monterey Herald.

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