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Defense Communities 360 Headlines

Connecticut Military Affairs Office Keeps Sights on Sub Base

  • July 19, 2015
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Connecticut’s Office Military Affairs has begun to evolve after it was first created eight years ago, but its primary focus remains supporting Naval Submarine Base New London and ensuring it does not become a candidate for closure in a future BRAC round. The need for the office became apparent after state and local officials successfully fought to convince the 2005 BRAC Commission to overturn DOD’s recommendation to close the installation. “The idea was that the state of Connecticut could no longer afford to ignore the fact that the submarine base in Groton had a vital impact on our communities in southeastern Connecticut, the economy of those communities and the economy of the state,” said Rob Simmons …

With New Tanker, Reservists to Fill Expanded Role at McConnell AFB

  • July 19, 2015
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McConnell Air Force Base is looking to add 400 Reservists to the 931st Air Refueling Group as the installation located outside of Wichita, Kan., prepares for the arrival of the next generation aerial tanker KC-46A over the next several years. The 931st now has more than 650 Reservists to support one Reserve squadron with 24 crews. With the arrival of the KC-46A, the unit will expand to three squadrons of 18 crews, reported the Wichita Eagle. The increased staffing can be expected to magnify the group’s $51 million annual economic impact. About 28 percent of McConnell’s current reservists commute from other states to fulfill their weekend duties, either by driving or flying commercial airlines …

DOD Awards $54M to Schools on Travis AFB, JB Lewis-McChord

  • July 19, 2015
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The Defense Department is awarding $54.1 million to school districts in northern California and Washington state to upgrade elementary schools at neighboring military installations, DOD announced last week. The Travis Unified School District will receive $13.8 million to renovate and expand Scandia Elementary School at Travis Air Force Base, Calif. The district is providing an additional $3.4 million in non-federal matching funds for the project which will serve over 500 military-connected students. The Clover Park School District will receive $40.3 million to replace Evergreen Elementary School at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash. …

Anchorage Officials Temper Forecast of Army Cuts’ Impact

  • July 17, 2015
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Following last week’s announcement that Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson would lose 2,631 soldiers — 59 percent of the Army’s population — over the next two years, local economists feared the realignment would deliver a serious blow to the region’s economy. “It’s going to take a big chunk out of the Anchorage economy,” Scott Goldsmith, professor emeritus of economics at the University of Alaska Anchorage Institute of Social and Economic Research, told the Alaska Dispatch News. The area could lose 6,000 jobs — including direct and indirect — and likely send the economy into a recession, Goldsmith predicted …

BRAC Coming Soon, Principi Says

  • July 17, 2015
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A new BRAC round is closer than ever, with Congress certain to approve the next round by 2019, Anthony Principi, chairman of the 2005 BRAC Commission, said Thursday. “If I was a betting man, between now and 2019, I’d say 100 percent,” Principi, chairman of the Principi Group, told the Tampa Tribune following the monthly meeting of the Florida Defense Support Task Force. The new round most likely would be conducted in 2019, he said, although there is a chance that a grand bargain between Congress and the White House could force a BRAC to be held in 2017 …

Legislation Easing Way for Veterans to Access Local Services Reintroduced in Senate

  • July 17, 2015
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Transitioning veterans could more easily gain access to services and benefits available in their communities, such as health care and housing, employment and education assistance, under bipartisan legislation introduced Thursday by Sens. Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.), Jerry Moran (R-Kan.), Angus King (I-Maine) and John Boozman (R-Ark.). The Connect with Veterans Act, first introduced last year by Heitkamp, would require the Department of Veterans Affairs to establish a voluntary national directory of veterans that would be available to communities and state veterans affairs departments. Currently there is no mechanism for local governments to contact veterans and transitioning service members who already reside there or plan to relocate to link them with support services …

Missions Change, but Goodfellow AFB Sustains Armed Forces’ Training for 75 Years

  • July 17, 2015
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Since starting out as San Angelo Air Corps Basic Flying School in 1941, Goodfellow Air Force Base has hosted an evolving roster of training missions. For its first 18 years, the central Texas base trained U.S. and foreign pilots, reported the Standard-Times. In 1958, Goodfellow’s mission changed to cryptologic intelligence training for the Air Force, a responsibility which eventually encompassed all four military services. In the 1980s, the base was selected to host all Air Force managed intelligence training and it was designated a technical training center …

Navy, Georgia Power Reach Deal for Solar Project at Sub Base Kings Bay

  • July 17, 2015
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The Navy this week signed a real estate outgrant with Georgia Power to develop a 30-megawatt solar farm at Naval Submarine Base Kings Bay on the southern coast of Georgia. The outgrant provides Georgia Power, the largest subsidiary of Southern Co., access to 258 acres of land to install ground-mounted solar photovoltaic panels. Energy generated by the project will be routed to Georgia Power’s transmission lines and distributed to its customers. By developing the solar farm on-base, the Navy can physically secure it behind the installation’s fence lines and will benefit from having a new power source close to the base. The project is estimated to represent a $75 million investment …

Army Cutbacks Based on Comprehensive Analysis, McHugh Says

  • July 16, 2015
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The stationing decisions the Army announced last week needed to shrink the service’s active-duty end strength by 40,000 soldiers were based on months of analysis covering an array of factors including the time it takes to deploy soldiers and the strategic location of installations, Secretary John McHugh said Wednesday. “We came out with a ranking, and the decisions that we made were driven in very large measure by those rankings,” McHugh told Syracuse.com. “So it was not just an exercise in whimsy. It was a very precise process, as it should be …

It’s Time to ‘Fortify Our Bases,’ New Jersey Officials Say

  • July 16, 2015
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With the looming threat of a new BRAC round or the loss of critical missions due to belt-tightening at the Pentagon, New Jersey needs to take steps now to strengthen its installations, according to an op-ed by Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno (R) and Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen (R) that appeared in the Record on Wednesday. “The time has come to face the threat of BRAC and take earnest steps to avoid closure or mission loss,” the two said. “BRAC and mission realignments short of a full BRAC are a threat, and New Jersey must position itself in the best possible manner against it.” Last week, the New Jersey Military Installation Growth and Development Task Force released a series of recommendations designed to shield the state’s four installations — Picatinny Arsenal, Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, Naval Weapons Station Earle and the 177th Fighter Wing in Atlantic City — from downsizing …

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