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Defense Communities 360 Headlines

Joint Basing Savings Remain Unclear, GAO Finds

  • September 21, 2014
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DOD’s joint basing initiative — a recommendation proposed by the department to the 2005 BRAC Commission to consolidate installation support functions at 26 locations sharing a boundary or located in close proximity to form 12 joint bases — was intended to generate cost savings through economies of scale, and by optimizing service contracts and paring unnecessary management personnel. To date, though, DOD has not demonstrated that the initiative has fulfilled its goals of reducing duplication of efforts and producing efficiencies, concludes a new report by the Government Accountability Office (GAO). Officials at the 12 joint bases, through responses to survey questions and during interviews, did not report “significant achievements in reaching these goals,” the congressional watchdog agency found …

Budget Caps, Global Demands Jeopardize Army Response

  • September 21, 2014
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The fiscal 2016 budget Pentagon officials currently are working on could represent a “breaking point” if Congress fails to extend relief to the budget caps at the same time global threats continue to surface, Army Chief of Staff Gen. Ray Odierno told reporters Friday. The active Army, which now stands at 510,000 soldiers, is slated to drop to 490,000 by the end of FY 2015, 470,000 by FY 2016 and 420,000 by FY 2019. Earlier this year, Odierno testified that a reduction to 450,000 would pose a significant security risk, while an end strength of 420,000 would prevent the Army from carrying out its current strategy …

New Bridge under Way to Improve Security at W.Va. Guard Base

  • September 18, 2014
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Workers have begun constructing a new bridge and road to Charleston Air National Guard Base, W.Va., that local official believe will help secure the future of the Air National Guard’s 130th Airlift Wing. The bridge over the Elk River will provide a new access route to the base, allowing closure of the current public road serving the facility. The existing route passes right by the Guard base and poses a security risk, a factor local officials believe could jeopardize the installation in a future BRAC round. Former Sen. Robert Byrd (D) had secured federal funding for the bridge, but the money was redirected after Byrd died. Following lengthy discussions between the state government and the National Guard, officials decided to split the project’s cost between state taxpayers, the National Guard, Yeager Airport and the Kanawha County Commission, reported the West Virginia Gazette. Construction of the bridge is expected to be finished in the fall of 2015.

Federal Partnership to Train Veterans for Solar Industry Jobs

  • September 18, 2014
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The Energy Department will launch a veterans’ job training pilot project at up to three military installations this fall to train veterans for jobs in the solar industry, the White House announced Thursday. The pilot project will rely on DOE’s network of more than 400 community college-based solar training institutions to train veterans for jobs in solar system design, installation, sales and inspection, according to a White House fact sheet. The White House announced the project as part of more than a dozen executive actions to advance the deployment of solar energy and promote energy efficiency. In April, the administration launched the Capital Solar Challenge, directing federal agencies, military installations and federally subsidized complexes to identify opportunities to deploy solar energy at federal locations across the National Capital region. The General Services Administration is hosting an industry day on Oct. 23 to discuss potential opportunities and explain its procurement approach to developers and investors.

Air Force Unveils Plan to Accelerate Kirtland Cleanup

  • September 18, 2014
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The Air Force announced plans Wednesday to begin drilling cleanup wells to stop a fuel plume from Kirtland Air Force Base before it can reach municipal drinking water wells in southeast Albuquerque. In a meeting with Albuquerque Mayor Richard Berry, New Mexico Environment Secretary Ryan Flynn and other stakeholder groups, Mark Correll, deputy assistant secretary for environment, safety and infrastructure, said extraction wells would begin pulling contaminants from the groundwater by June 2015 …

CR Headed to President following Senate Approval

  • September 18, 2014
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A continuing resolution to fund the federal government through Dec. 11 is heading to the White House for President Obama’s signature, after the Senate on Thursday passed the stopgap by a 78-22 vote during a relatively uneventful session. The fiscal 2015 spending measure also includes the president’s request for authorization to arm and equip Syrian rebels to fight the Islamic State. The Senate did not, however, hold a separate vote on the language since the House already added it to the bill Wednesday as an amendment. Still to be determined when lawmakers return to Capitol Hill following the midterm elections is how they will fund agencies for the remainder of the fiscal year …

Panel Points to Funding, Water Supply, Security as Key Installation Challenges

  • September 18, 2014
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With declining budgets for sustainment and construction, and facilities continuing to deteriorate, installation officials throughout DOD are facing “doom and gloom,” John Conger, the department’s acting deputy undersecretary for installations and environment, said during the opening session at this week’s ADC 2014 Defense Policy Forum. As officials face greater risks regarding the condition of their infrastructure, though, they will be forced to consider innovative ideas to operate their bases more efficiently that they wouldn’t have considered otherwise. “People are going to be more willing to try new things,” Conger said …

Air Museum Slated for $24M Facility at Former Willow Grove NAS

  • September 17, 2014
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A $24 million plan to overhaul the Wings of Freedom Museum at the former Naval Air Station Joint Reserve Base Willow Grove, Pa., could transform the museum into a regional destination featuring an all-glass exhibit hall to showcase aircraft now stored outdoors. The Delaware Valley Historical Aviation Association unveiled the project and a rendering of the 33,500-square-foot, solar-powered museum on Wednesday, reported the Bucks County Courier Times. “We think it is going to make the museum one of the jewels of Montgomery County and the greater Philadelphia region …

Residents Show up at LRA Meeting to Oppose Ft. McPherson Sale

  • September 17, 2014
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More than 100 residents showed up Tuesday at a regular meeting of the Fort McPherson LRA to air their concerns about the authority’s agreement to sell two-thirds of the post to filmmaker Tyler Perry. Many community members turned out after receiving calls from state Sen. Vincent Fort and a local nonprofit upset that Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed had abandoned the mixed-use plan for the site that the LRA had spent years crafting, according to the Saporta Report. Fort told the McPherson Implementing Local Redevelopment Authority that he was concerned about the lack of community engagement regarding the decision to sell 330 acres of the 488-acre site to Perry …

Northeastern Maryland Communities Embark on Land Use Study for Proving Ground

  • September 17, 2014
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Residents, business leaders and local officials from communities surrounding Aberdeen Proving Ground, Md., gathered at two public workshops this week to learn about the joint land use study being launched to ensure land uses around the installation remain compatible with its existing and future missions. The study is expected to focus on a variety of issues that could result in conflicts — including noise, safety zones, light and glare, vertical obstructions, roadway capacity and air quality, according to the Chesapeake Science & Security Corridor, which is coordinating the effort …

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