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Defense Communities 360 Headlines

Community Braces for Potential Changes at Ft. Drum

  • March 17, 2015
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Officials in northern New York are alarmed over the prospect that Fort Drum potentially could lose a total of 16,000 soldiers and civilians as the Army deliberates over a second round of restructuring slated to shrink its active-duty end strength from 490,000 to 420,000. The post will experience a net loss of 1,500 personnel following an earlier round of restructuring when officials decided to eliminate one of its brigade combat teams. But now local officials are focusing on the worst-case scenario for the North Country region and placing heightened importance on the listening session scheduled for Friday, reported the Post-Standard. “I would tell you that this is very real, and there’s a real potential that we could take significant cuts here at Fort Drum,” said Col. Gary Rosenberg, Fort Drum’s garrison commander …

Local Officials Ponder Ways to Revive Development at Castle AFB

  • March 17, 2015
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Local leaders, lawmakers and planners gathered last week at Castle Commerce Center to exchange ideas for revitalizing redevelopment efforts at the former Castle Air Force Base in central California. The site now is home AT&T call centers, Big Creek Lumber, Hoffman Electronic Systems, Sierra Flight Academy and others businesses, but Merced County still is grappling with multiple challenges, including transportation, a lack of skilled workers and deficient water and wastewater infrastructure, reported the Merced Sun-Star. One priority for the county, which assumed full ownership of the 1,912-acre property in 2006, is obtaining funding to demolish 55 buildings …

BRAC Out, Thornberry says

  • March 16, 2015
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Mac Thornberry, chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, has no plans to include a base closure round in the fiscal 2016 defense authorization bill his panel is slated to mark up next month, he told reporters Monday. “I’m not sure we can afford another BRAC,” Thornberry said in echoing many of the same arguments Rob Wittman (R-Va.), chairman of the committee’s Readiness panel, employed at a March 3 hearing. “Remember, BRAC costs more in the early years than it saves,” Thornberry said, reported the Hill. “We have not yet broken even from the 2005 BRAC.” The chairman also argued that DOD’s estimate that at least 20 percent of its infrastructure is excess to its needs is out-of-date …

DOD May Need to Rely on War Account to Make up Budget Shortfall, Thornberry Says

  • March 16, 2015
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If the fiscal 2016 budget resolution fails to provide spending beyond the statutory cap for DOD, lawmakers may use the Pentagon’s overseas contingency operations (OCO) account, which is not subject to the cap, to provide the department more funding, Mac Thornberry (R-Texas), chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, told reporters Monday. There are “a number of options that are being looked at,” he said, reported the Hill. “We’re just going to have to take it step by step and see.” Thornberry told reporters he and other committee members have discussed the possibility of increasing defense spending with members of the House Budget Committee …

House Panel to Mark up Authorization Bill Next Month

  • March 16, 2015
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Six subcommittees of the House Armed Services Committee will begin marking up the fiscal 2016 defense authorization bill the week of April 20, with the full committee completing the process on April 29, Chairman Mac Thornberry (R-Texas) said Monday. The annual defense policy bill is scheduled to go to the House floor in mid-May, he said. The chairman also revealed that he would include language in the authorization bill to overhaul DOD’s acquisition process. Many experts had assumed the acquisition reform legislation would be taken up as a stand-alone bill …

Tyndall AFB Asks to Restrict Surrounding Waterways during Emergencies

  • March 16, 2015
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The Bay Defense Alliance is urging the local business community to support a proposal from Tyndall Air Force Base that would allow it to restrict waterways surrounding the installation located on the Florida Panhandle if a security threat arises. The base faces a unique security threat because it is surrounded by water on three sides, Glen McDonald, a member of the Defense Alliance, told the Bay County Economic Development Alliance. Tyndall’s initial proposal generated significant opposition from residents, prompting officials to revise the plan …

DOD Grant Helps South Carolina Defense Firms Diversify

  • March 16, 2015
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Two state agencies in South Carolina are helping defense businesses diversify into other industries through a $700,000 grant from DOD’s Office of Economic Adjustment. The initiative — offered through the Department of Employment and Workforce and the Department of Commerce — is intended to help businesses in the defense industry prepare for reductions in spending by DOD. The program offers companies support in strategic planning, sales and marketing, lean product development and quality certifications, reported GSA Business. Two industries that defense firms are being encouraged to pursue are aerospace and automotive …

Subcommittee Chairs Remain Hostile toward New BRAC Round

  • March 15, 2015
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Now that the House and Senate panels responsible for BRAC have held their hearings on the administration’s fiscal 2016 budget request, it’s clear that the two subcommittee chairs are no less opposed to green lighting the Pentagon’s request to hold a new BRAC round than they have been in the past. Last Wednesday, Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.), chairman of the Senate Armed Services’ Readiness and Management Support Subcommittee, was upfront about her views on the matter, telling the installation chiefs for DOD and each of the services that her “going-in position” was that she is opposed to BRAC. At the previous week’s House Armed Services’ Readiness Subcommittee hearing, Chairman Rob Wittman (R-Va.) never stated his opposition to the department’s BRAC proposal but asked questions designed to bolster arguments against the request …

Virginia Lawmakers Hail Navy Basing Decisions

  • March 15, 2015
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The Navy will base its newest aircraft carrier, the USS Gerald Ford, at Naval Station Norfolk and homeport four amphibious ships at Joint Expeditionary Base Little Creek-Fort Story, Virginia’s congressional delegation announced last week. The moves underscore the Navy’s commitment to Hampton Roads and also provide an economic boost to the region for at least several years, the lawmakers said. “This is a great sign for us in terms of the Navy’s view of our region,” said Sen. Mark Warner …

Army Installations Fight Uphill Battle against Sequestration

  • March 15, 2015
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Mandatory spending caps in the past three years have taken a toll on Army readiness as reductions in installation support have hurt spending on training facilities and soldier and family readiness programs, Lt. Gen. David Halverson, commander of Installation Management Command, said Tuesday at an Association of the U.S. Army forum. “A near-term threat to our effectiveness is sequestration. … It can’t be ignored,” said Halverson, who also serves as assistant chief of staff for installation management. “The Army has been on a tight budget for a few years … fiscal year 2015 doesn’t look any better …

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