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Defense Communities 360 Headlines

Ohio Law Requires Public Colleges to Recognize Military Experience

  • February 24, 2015
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A new Ohio law will require state universities to count veterans’ military experience toward earning college credit, a critical step in helping veterans obtain a degree. Under the legislation, the state will create standards for awarding credit for military experience. It also requires the schools to award the credit for free, reports Military.com. More significantly, the measure will make it easier for veterans to connect with colleges in Ohio, according to Jeff Robinson, spokesman for the Ohio Board of Regents. “In some cases, a veteran may not know the first point of contact on a campus for help, or that there is even help available specifically for them …

Malmstrom AFB Solicitation for EUL Fails to Attract Proposals

  • February 24, 2015
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A recent solicitation from Malmstrom Air Force Base to lease a 42-acre parcel via an enhanced use lease failed to attract any proposals. Installation officials had published a request for information for prospective developers, even though its family housing partner, Balfour Beatty Communities, retained the right of first refusal, reported the Great Falls Tribune. Balfour Beatty now is considering using the property for base housing, even though the firm did not respond to Malmstrom’s request. Balfour’s proposal could be connected to its housing project or it could pursue an enhanced use lease, according to Mark Coleman, Malmstrom’s real property officer. Base officials believed an enhanced use lease for the tract would benefit the Air Force Community Partnership Program, the service’s effort to take advantage of the new authority allowing installations to enter into intergovernmental support agreements with their host community, according to the story.

House, Senate Face Competing Forces in Crafting FY’16 Budget Resolution

  • February 23, 2015
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The House and Senate Budget committees are getting ready to draft fiscal 2016 budget resolutions, but with Republicans divided over whether — and how — to break the statutory spending caps, it’s too early to predict how they will come up with spending levels that satisfy both defense and fiscal hawks. The House committee is more likely to stick with the existing Budget Control Act caps, but the resulting resolution could yield discretionary spending levels perceived by lawmakers from both parties as too low for defense and non-defense programs. That outcome could lead to a budget deal later this year similar to the one struck by Rep. Paul Ryan and Sen. Patty Murray in December 2013 that offered the Pentagon limited relief above the FY 2014 and 2015 caps, reported CQ …

Brooks City Base to Honor Its Past through Restoration Projects

  • February 23, 2015
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Brooks City Base is undertaking two projects to help celebrate the nearly 100-year history of Brooks Field — a $560,000 restoration of the burial site of its namesake and a $2.5 million restoration of one of the facility’s original hangars. “This space is special, not just to Brooks and to San Antonio, but really to the entire United States, because of its significance with World War I,” said Leo Gomez, president and CEO of Brooks Development Authority. On Nov. 13, 1917, at the age of 22, Sidney Brooks Jr. crashed and died on final approach to Kelly Field No. 2 in San Antonio as he neared the completion of his pilot training. The Army broke ground on a new facility less than a month later, and renamed it after him on Feb. 4, 1918 …

Amid Air Force Effort to Inactivate Airlift Wing, Others Question the Move

  • February 23, 2015
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The Air Force is moving forward with its plan to inactivate Fort Bragg’s 440th Airlift Wing even before it issues a congressionally mandated report justifying the action. Over the weekend, officials opened a clearinghouse for traditional reservists in the 440th — an Air Force Reserve unit based at Fort Bragg’s Pope Field — to help them find other positions before the unit’s planned inactivation at the end of September, reported the Fayetteville Observer. Lawmakers added the justification report to the fiscal 2015 defense authorization bill as a prerequisite before the Air Force could shut down the 440th, a unit made up of 1,200 airmen …

UK Leads the Way in Employing Public-Private Partnerships to Improve Military’s Efficiency

  • February 23, 2015
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The Department of Defense has taken advantage of public-private partnerships (P3s) to upgrade its infrastructure for family housing and utilities, and to develop new on-base sources of renewable energy, but there are a host of other areas for the department to leverage private sector investment, according to a recent commentary in Government Executive. Nick Greenwood, managing director of the infrastructure advisory group for KPMG LLP, points to the United Kingdom, where its Ministry of Defence has relied on P3s for a variety of infrastructure needs along with an array of military and support services. P3s have been used to refurbish the ministry’s main building in Whitehall, consolidate its real estate in London and rebuild the government’s communications headquarters …

New York Lawmakers Push to Ease Transition for Military Spouses

  • February 23, 2015
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Legislation introduced in the New York State Assembly would streamline the process for military spouses to transfer professional licenses and certifications when moving to the state. “When a family is stationed in a new state, the hosting state should streamline the licensing process in order to make their lives as easy as possible. Similar legislation has previously passed the state Senate; we have to get this bill to the floor as soon as possible to make New York more suitable for veterans and all New Yorkers,” said Assemblyman David DiPietro (R), one of the cosponsors of Assembly Bill 2590 …

Finding Consensus on Best Approach to Reforming Commissary Benefit Proves Elusive

  • February 22, 2015
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Neither the Pentagon’s plan for slashing the federal subsidy for military grocery stores nor a congressional commission’s recommendations for gaining efficiencies in the commissary system will prove successful, according to two recent analyses. Last month, the Military Compensation and Retirement Modernization Commission called for consolidating DOD’s three exchange services with the Defense Commissary Agency as a way to maintain the benefits of all base stores. Consolidating those four organizations into a new Defense Resale Activity, though, would cost $466 million and take from six to nine years to carry out, according to a position paper from the Army and Air Force Exchange Service. The upfront costs wouldn’t be recouped through efficiencies for 85 years, AAFES concluded …

No BRAC in Near Future, Thornberry Says

  • February 22, 2015
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Rep. Mac Thornberry (R-Texas) ruled out any chance there would be a new round of base closures in the next couple of years during comments he made last week to the Nortex Regional Planning Commission in north central Texas. The remark built on earlier comments by the new chairman of the House Armed Services Committee revealing a strong reluctance to consider authorizing a BRAC round. In January, Thornberry said the nation needed to better define the future roles and missions of its military before shuttering military bases …

Monterey Residents Take Advantage of Opportunity to Reimagine Fort Ord

  • February 22, 2015
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During a two-week planning process this month, about 1,200 people from California’s Monterey Peninsula offered their input to guide development at the former Fort Ord. The series of public meetings were held to collect ideas for regional urban design guidelines the Fort Ord Reuse Authority is creating to establish standards for road design, setbacks, building height, landscaping, signage, and other matters of visual importance. The guidelines will be used in conjunction with the base reuse plan but are not a code or standard that is a legally binding requirement needed to develop a project at Fort Ord, reported the Monterey Herald. FORA Executive Officer Michael Houlemard said the guidelines’ addition to the reuse plan will cut through legal confusion …

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