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Defense Communities 360 Headlines

Feds Expand Initiative to Train Service Members for Jobs in Solar Industry

  • April 7, 2015
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Hill Air Force Base will be one of 10 installations to participate in a partnership between the defense and veterans affairs departments to train transitioning service members for jobs in the solar industry, President Obama announced on Friday during a visit to the base located north of Salt Lake City. The Solar Ready Vets initiative will train service members how to size and install solar panels, connect electricity to the grid, and interpret and comply with local building codes, according to a White House fact sheet. The intensive, six-week course will prepare participants for careers as installers, sales representatives, system inspectors and other solar-related occupations …

Navy Issues Impact Statement for Training Facilities on Marianas

  • April 7, 2015
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The Navy on Monday released a draft environmental impact statement for the construction of live-fire ranges, training courses and maneuver areas in the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI) needed to support the realignment of 5,000 Marines from Okinawa to Guam. “Establishing unit and combined level [range training areas] in the CNMI would support ongoing operational requirements, changes to U.S. force structure, geographic repositioning of forces and U.S. training relationships with allied nations,” according to the April 6 Federal Register notice. The Navy’s preferred alternatives for the training facilities are on the islands of Tinian and Pagan …

Carter Reaffirms Administration’s Commitment to Asia-Pacific

  • April 6, 2015
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The United States is entering a new stage in its pivot toward the Asia-Pacific region, with the Obama administration devoting increased attention to that sphere, Defense Secretary Ash Carter said Monday during a speech at Arizona State University. One component of the shift is military, with DOD’s newest and most capable weapons systems going first to the region. When movements are completed, 60 percent of the U.S. fleet will be in the Pacific-Indian Ocean area, Carter said. U.S. Marines already have a rotational presence in Australia and U.S. and Filipino authorities are working on ways to strengthen military-to-military cooperation …

Reliance on War Funding Account Allows Congress, DOD to Postpone Defense Reforms

  • April 6, 2015
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The ability of Congress and the Pentagon to stash spending in the military’s war funding account and sidestep the statutory spending limits sabotages the budget caps’ role in forcing officials to confront difficult decisions, a panel of experts said Friday at an event hosted by the Stimson Center. The department’s overseas operations account is “a budgetary disaster which leads you to expect resources to continue to be available when they probably will not be,” said Gordon Adams, who managed national security budgets at the Office of Management and Budget during the Clinton administration …

Texas Communities Await Verdict on Sequestration, Army Downsizing

  • April 6, 2015
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Local officials throughout Texas are increasingly alarmed about the prospect that stringent caps on Pentagon spending first imposed in 2013 will remain in place through the end of the decade. Already, defense communities in Texas have been hurt by the furlough of civilian workers, the loss of active-duty personnel and attrition in civilian personnel, reported the San Antonio Express-News. On the immediate horizon is an Army determination expected this summer on how it will allocate the elimination of up to 70,000 active-duty troops by fiscal 2020. Forts Hood and Bliss, and Joint Base San Antonio-Fort Sam Houston potentially could lose thousands of soldiers and civilian workers, but advocates for each of those posts believe the strong level of support provided by their host communities should shield them from the worst cuts …

Senior Army Official Named to Top DOD Readiness Post

  • April 6, 2015
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Brad Carson, currently undersecretary of the Army and the Army’s chief management officer, was appointed by President Obama as the acting undersecretary of defense for personnel and readiness, the department’s senior official responsible for issues related to military and civilian personnel, including quality of life. Carson replaces Jessica Wright, who said in December she would step down. Carson assumes the post at a time of renewed debate about the future of military compensation and personnel policies …

Presidio Solicits Input from San Francisco Residents on New Park

  • April 6, 2015
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The Presidio Trust last month began gathering public input about alternative designs for transforming the former San Francisco installation by creating an unbroken landscape from the main post of the historic Army installation to Crissy Field and San Francisco Bay. The “New Presidio Parklands,” a 13-acre tract, is being made possible by the construction of a bluff to cover the rebuilt Doyle Drive which runs through the Presidio connecting San Francisco to the Golden Gate Bridge. The trust views the project as a starting point for visiting the Presidio and the larger Golden Gate National Recreation Area, reported the San Francisco Chronicle …

OEA to Support Communities Facing Encroachment from Commercial Energy Development

  • April 5, 2015
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Communities interested in intervening when a commercial energy project could interfere with military activities now can apply for planning assistance from DOD’s Office of Economic Adjustment to limit potential conflicts with installations, ranges, training routes or special use airspace. States, counties, municipalities and other public entities, along with tribal nations, are eligible for community adjustment planning assistance under the program to ensure an energy project does not jeopardize DOD’s test, training and military operations. Examples of conflicts with military activity include low-level flight obstructions caused by wind turbines or solar power towers, electromagnetic interference from high-voltage electrical transmission lines, and glint and glare from photovoltaic arrays and solar power towers near military airfields …

Developer Suspends Maryland Wind Project that Posed Risk to Pax River

  • April 5, 2015
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The developer of a proposed wind farm on Maryland’s Eastern Shore said it was placing the project in “indefinite suspension” after it could not overcome concerns by the state’s congressional delegation that the project would interfere with a radar system at Naval Air Station Patuxent River. The Great Bay Wind project, located across the Chesapeake Bay from the air station, had survived a move last year by Maryland lawmakers to delay its construction until MIT’s Lincoln Laboratory could evaluate ways to mitigate the turbines’ impact on the radar system after then- Gov. Martin O’Malley vetoed the bill. In response, however, Sen. Barbara Mikulski — who was chairwoman of the Appropriations Committee — added language to the committee report of the fiscal 2015 defense spending bill barring the Navy from reaching a deal with Pioneer Green Energy to turn off the turbines during radar testing at Pax River until MIT completes its study …

DOD Intervention Needed to Fully Leverage Partnership Authorities, Paper Says

  • April 5, 2015
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The military services are increasingly relying on public-private and public-public partnerships (P4s) to enhance the military value of bases and deliver many support services more efficiently, but the Defense Department will need to clarify its authorities and establish implementation procedures to fully promote P4s, according to a new paper published by the National Defense University.
“While P4 is not a new concept, it has never received as much attention as it does today as a tool or technique to accomplish DOD missions,” writes author Samuel Bendett. “More practitioners are now being exposed to P4s, and it is expected they will consider them equal to or in lieu of traditional procurement …

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