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Defense Communities 360 Headlines

FY’15 Spending Bills May Not Be Completed on Time

  • March 25, 2014
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Despite optimism from top congressional appropriators about completing all 12 spending bills before the new fiscal year begins, it is likely lawmakers will need to rely on a continuing resolution to fund many agencies after Oct. 1, according to experts. With last December’s budget deal setting how much money lawmakers have to allocate among fiscal 2015 spending measures, appropriators are hoping the process of marking up individual measures will not be held up by partisan bickering over spending levels …

Army Leaders Look to BRAC to Mitigate Spending Cuts

  • March 25, 2014
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The Army’s top civilian and uniformed officials on Tuesday pressed the Pentagon’s case to hold a new BRAC, telling the House Armed Services Committee the service could save an estimated $1 billion annually following a round of base closures. Army Chief of Staff Gen. Ray Odierno said that a new round would cost less than the 2005 one and generate a larger return due to a reduction in operating costs and a drop in the Army’s end strength, reported Defense News. The last round required the service to invest $13 billion at the outset, producing annual savings of $1 billion …

Unemployment Rate for Recent Veterans Improved Last Year

  • March 24, 2014
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The unemployment rate for post-9/11 veterans edged down in 2013, dropping to 9.0 percent from 9.9 percent the year before, according to a report last week from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Unemployment for all veterans decreased slightly from 7 percent in 2012 to 6.6 percent. The overall unemployment rate in the United States was 7.4 percent in 2013. The youngest veterans, aged 18-24, however, experienced a jobless rate of 21.4 percent. “Those in the youngest group are experiencing unemployment at a higher rate than their nonveteran peers,” Teresa Gerton, deputy assistant secretary for policy for the Labor Department’s Veterans’ Employment and Training Service, told the Star-Herald. “But their labor participation rates are higher. Their attachment to the labor force is stronger. They’re out there trying to get a job,” Gerton said.

Housing Investors Face Uncertainty under BRAC, Downsizing

  • March 24, 2014
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Dramatic reductions in military end strength, along with a new round of base closures, could harm holders of $24 billion in military housing privatization bonds, which have financed the construction of more than 190,000 residences since 1996. A quarter of the bonds are uninsured, reports Barron’s. In addition, the developers and operators of most of DOD’s housing privatization projects are not protected against changes in occupancy stemming from BRAC …

Kansas Bill Would Restrict Duration of Easements

  • March 24, 2014
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Legislation limiting the use of an important tool for protecting military installations from encroachment was approved by a committee of the Kansas Senate Friday. Senate Bill 323 would limit the duration of conservation easements so they would end with the grantor’s death, reported the Lawrence Journal-World. DOD, the Kansas Governor’s Military Council and many landowners oppose the measure, saying it would restrict the benefit of a mechanism for preserving the missions of military installations …

Pet Projects Back in Vogue on Capitol Hill

  • March 24, 2014
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Last December’s budget deal, which by current indications will allow Congress to follow regular order for moving annual appropriations bills, also may allow lawmakers to press for funding for installations and favored military projects in their districts. In multiple hearings in recent weeks on DOD’s fiscal 2015 budget request, lawmakers have made clear they will fight to protect missions at local bases and manufacturing facilities in their districts, reports Defense News …

Navy Not Eager for New BRAC Round, Top Officer Says

  • March 24, 2014
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The Navy is not anxious to hold a new round of base closures as it doesn’t have a lot of excess capacity, Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Jonathan Greenert said last week. “I’m very satisfied with our laydown of our bases as we look around the world,” Greenert told reporters after an all hands call at Naval Station Mayport, Fla. “People ask me, do you have the need? Do you see a great need for BRAC? I say, no, I don’t …

Altus AFB Named Top Installation in Air Force

  • March 23, 2014
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Altus Air Force Base, located in southwestern Oklahoma, has been named the winner of the Air Force’s Command-in-Chief’s Installation Excellence award, a recognition of the 97th Air Mobility Wing’s superior support for the defense mission. “Altus AFB has stood out as an example in innovation and cost-savings across our Air Force,” said Gen. Robin Rand, commander of Air Education and Training Command. In addition to demonstrating exemplary support for the Air Force’s mission, the winner must show marked improvement and innovative progress in functions that are critical to an installation’s successful operations …

Norton AFB Museum Celebrates 20th Anniversary of Base Closure

  • March 23, 2014
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Norton Air Force Base Museum, located 30 miles east of Los Angeles, will mark the 20th anniversary of the base’s closure on Saturday, March 22. Norton AFB, once home to the Air Force’s 63rd Military Airlift Wing, employed more than 12,000 military and civilian workers and pumped nearly $2 billion each year into the local economy at its peak.

DOD Bets Against Sequestration

  • March 23, 2014
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The DOD’s current long-term fiscal plans make a big assumption–that Congress will find a way to halt the automatic $35 billion cut to the department’s budget slated for 2016. In a memo to the military service chiefs last month, Acting Deputy Secretary of Defense Christine Fox said next fiscal year “will be a critical inflection point…and we will look for a signal from Congress that sequestration will not be imposed in FY 2016…

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