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Defense Communities 360 Headlines

State Pledges $5.6M for UAS Park at Grand Forks AFB

  • July 8, 2015
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North Dakota is allocating $5.6 million to support the continued development of the Grand Sky unmanned aerial systems (UAS) business and aviation park at Grand Forks AFB, Gov. Jack Dalrymple (R) said Monday. About $3 million of the funding will be used to upgrade a flight tarmac and other infrastructure that will support UAS testing and flight operations, according to a release from the governor’s office. The 217-acre project is being developed under an enhanced use lease with Grand Forks County and calls for 1.2 million square feet of hangar, office, shop, laboratory and data center space required for UAS development, testing and training, sensor technology development, and data analysis and management …

Obama Reiterates Threat to Veto Defense Bill

  • July 7, 2015
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During a rare visit to the Pentagon, President Obama on Monday reiterated his threat to veto the fiscal 2016 defense authorization bill because it relies on a budget framework that would shortchange the nation’s future by restraining spending on non-military aspects of national security such as education and research. “We’re not going to eat our seed corn,” Obama said, reported CQ. The military has the best troops in the world in part because “we’ve got a strong economy and we’ve got a well-educated population and we’ve got an incredible research operation and universities,” the president said. “We shortchange those, we’re going to be less secure,” he said …

Pentagon Official’s Visit Intended to Reignite Partnership Initiative at Great Falls

  • July 7, 2015
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Officials from the Air Force and Great Falls, Mont., hope efforts to find mutually beneficial partnerships between Malmstrom AFB and its host community will be revitalized following a recent visit by Steve Zander, director of the Air Force Community Partnership Program. Representatives from the base and the city — along with county, education and health officials — began meeting last year to look for ways to take advantage of the new DOD authority allowing installations and communities to share support services for municipal functions and other activities. Initial ideas generated included establishing a clearinghouse for training opportunities, opening up the city’s parks and recreation department to the base, allowing the city to conduct water testing for the Air Force, integrating public works, enhancing radio communications and finding a new use for underutilized real estate at Malmstrom …

Fanning Likely Successor to McHugh as Army Secretary

  • July 7, 2015
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Personnel changes at the Pentagon announced last week could be viewed as a signal that Eric Fanning, who had been Defense Secretary Ash Carter’s chief of staff, will replace John McHugh as secretary of the Army, reports the Washington Post. On Thursday, Carter announced that Fanning will be the next acting undersecretary of the Army. “His deep well of knowledge and vast experience in the Pentagon, honed during his tenure as deputy undersecretary of the Navy and acting secretary of the Air Force, have been crucial assets for my front office,” Carter said in a written statement …

Guidance on Prevailing Wage Rate Rule to Benefit Redevelopment at Ft. Monmouth

  • July 7, 2015
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Recent guidance from New Jersey’s attorney general’s office concluding that the state’s prevailing wage rate rules do not universally apply to new construction at Fort Monmouth should help the LRA reach sales and redevelopment agreements with developers for a variety of projects at the former post. Prevailing wage requirements will apply only if a project includes public work or if the developer receives financial assistance from the Fort Monmouth Economic Revitalization Authority (FMERA) or any state entity, reported Word on the Shore. “The updated language reflects how FMERA now reviews contracts and projects on a case-by-case basis to determine the applicability of prevailing wage requirements in each case,” said Rachel Goemaat, spokesperson for the New Jersey Economic Development Authority …

Installations in Eastern States Sweep Pentagon Awards

  • July 7, 2015
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Defense Secretary Ash Carter on Monday announced the 2015 recipients of the Commander in Chief’s Annual Award for Installation Excellence: Army: Fort Stewart and Hunter Army Airfield, Ga.; Marine Corps: Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, N.C.; Navy: Naval Air Station Pensacola, Fla.; Air Force: Joint Base Andrews, Md.; and Defense Logistics Agency: DLA Distribution Center Susquehanna, Pa. The award recognizes outstanding and innovative efforts of the people who operate and maintain U.S. military installations, Pentagon officials said. “Excellent installations enable better mission performance and enhance the quality of life for military men and women and their families …

Army Study Spurs Local Leaders to Improve School Quality

  • July 5, 2015
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The bulk of public school systems serving Army children fall broadly within the middle range when compared to other schools within their state, according to an Army-sponsored review of the quality of public schools and student achievement. The Army never released the 2014 study by WestEd, but officials have discussed the results with local school districts, Military Times reported last week. The study evaluates 393 public schools that serve 200 or more Army children on factors such as academic performance, attendance, student-teacher ratio, quality of teachers, graduation rate, and participation rates and performance on the ACT and SAT tests. WestEd researchers only compared the performance of schools serving Army dependents against state-wide norms, so it doesn’t help the Army or military families compare school systems across the nation …

Florida Grants to Help Communities Strengthen Local Installations

  • July 5, 2015
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Thirteen defense communities in Florida will receive more than $3 million to enhance 19 installations through a variety of activities, Gov. Rick Scott (R) announced last week. The bulk of the funding, $2.5 million, was awarded through Florida’s Defense Infrastructure and Reinvestment Grant Programs, according to a release from the governor’s office. Eleven counties received a total of $850,000 in defense reinvestment grants, which support relationships between military installations and their community and promote economic diversification strategies in defense-dependent communities. Nine counties were awarded a total of $1.6 million in defense infrastructure grants for encroachment, transportation and access, utilities, communications, environment and security projects …

Sale of Officer Housing to Result in Ft. Monmouth’s First Residential Project

  • July 5, 2015
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The LRA for the former Fort Monmouth last month approved the sale of 117 units of officer housing within the Fort Monmouth National Register Historic District in Oceanport, N.J., for $8.3 million, paving the way for the reuse effort’s first residential project. The officer housing is located on two parcels totaling 36.5 acres, and includes residential units in single, duplex and four-plex configurations surrounding and adjacent to the post’s parade ground. The developer’s proposal calls for 68 market-rate, for sale units north of the parade ground and 48 rental units south of the parade ground, according to a press release from the Fort Monmouth Economic Revitalization Authority. The South Post units would be a mix of market-rate and affordable housing rentals …

South Carolina, Washington Enact Laws to Protect Welfare of Military Children

  • July 5, 2015
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Two states for the first time have enacted laws to protect military children from neglect and abuse. Child advocacy legislation signed last month by South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley (R) and Washington Gov. Jay Inslee (D) requires local child protective services to identify child welfare and neglect incidents involving active-duty military families and share this information with the appropriate military authorities as soon as possible, according to a DOD Live blog post by Rosemary Freitas Williams, deputy assistant secretary of defense for military community and family policy. “South Carolina and Washington have now set a precedent that we hope other states will follow in placing language in their state statutes that complements the DOD requirement to report all suspicions of child maltreatment to the state’s child welfare agency …

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