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Defense Communities 360 Headlines

State Approves 13MW Solar Project at Camp Lejeune

  • April 19, 2015
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The North Carolina Utilities Commission last week approved Duke Energy’s plan to construct a 13-megawatt solar farm at Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune. The farm will cover 80 acres, and connect to the electric grid at a Duke Energy Progress substation on the base. Power generated by the project will be available to the utility’s customers, with Camp Lejeune continuing to purchase energy from Duke. The solar array, the company’s first at a military installation, is expected to go online this year …

Funding Needed to Alleviate Gridlock outside Bases, Washington Lawmaker Testifies

  • April 16, 2015
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Many installations that experienced mission growth following the last BRAC round are still grappling with traffic congestion outside their gates, an urgent issue that requires dedicated funding from Congress, Washington Rep. Denny Heck (D) told the House Defense Appropriations Subcommittee during its annual “member day” hearing Wednesday. At the installation Heck represents, Joint Base Lewis-McChord, a disproportionate reliance on I-5 for access to the base has resulted in gridlock on a regular basis in South Puget Sound. The problem is not unique to the region as many installations, particularly in urban areas, are still coping with the aftermath of the 2005 round of BRAC and short-term mission growth …

Procedural Hurdle to Extra Defense Spending May Not Survive Compromise Budget Talks

  • April 16, 2015
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The compromise version of the fiscal 2016 budget resolution may jettison a procedural hurdle that could block the Senate from allocating $38 billion in extra funding stashed in DOD’s overseas contingency operations account (OCO). The funds were added to the war account in both chambers’ budget blueprints as a way of eluding the $523 billion Budget Control Act cap on national security spending. The Senate’s version, though, includes a point of order on spending from the OCO that exceeds $58 billion, the original amount requested by the Obama administration …

Tampa Leaders Look to Expand Tanker Mission at MacDill AFB

  • April 16, 2015
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Tampa leaders are working to bring KC-135 Stratotankers displaced from installations that receive the Air Force’s next generation aerial tanker to MacDill Air Force Base in an effort to demonstrate the base has the capacity to handle more aircraft. MacDill, which currently has 16 KC-135s, was passed over in 2013 to become one of the first bases to receive the KC-46A Pegasus. That competition would have brought 36 jets to MacDill, and local officials want to show that the base can support a greater number of aircraft …

Arizona Lawmaker Fighting to Save the A-10

  • April 16, 2015
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Arizona Rep. Martha McSally is working with fellow lawmakers and Republican leaders to find $500 million to keep the Air Force’s fleet of A-10 attack jets in service. One year after Congress offered the A-10 a temporary reprieve from an Air Force plan to retire the fleet, the first-term lawmaker is crafting language for the fiscal 2016 defense authorization bill to keep the Warthog flying. “I feel like I have made a very strong case and I believe that the leadership understands the importance of the A-10, so now we’re doing the sausage-making to make sure that happens …

Florida Approves Solar Farms at Three Military Airfields

  • April 16, 2015
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The Florida Public Service Commission on Thursday approved Gulf Power’s plans to build a total of 120 megawatts of solar power at three military facilities on the tip of the Florida Panhandle — Eglin Air Force Base and the Navy’s Holley and Saufley fields. Construction by the project’s developer, HelioSage Energy, is scheduled to begin in February 2016, with the three plants expected to come online by December 2016, reported the Northwest Florida Daily News. “Adding solar energy to our portfolio is another step in further diversifying our energy mix,” said Stan Connally, Gulf Power president and CEO. “Through careful planning, we’ve been able to work alongside our military partners to help provide cost-effective renewable energy — and all our customers will reap the benefit …

House Panel Advances Milcon Spending Bill

  • April 15, 2015
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The House Military Construction-Veterans Affairs Appropriations Subcommittee on Wednesday approved a fiscal 2016 spending measure recommending a $900 million increase to $7.7 billion for military construction and family housing programs over the current year. The legislation passed despite criticism from Democrats that the measure is not fully funded, reported CQ Roll Call. The $76.6 billion spending bill, including the VA component, comes in $4.6 billion higher than the FY 2015 enacted level even though next year’s spending cap for all federal discretionary spending rises only $2 billion …

Eielson AFB to Keep F-16 Squadron

  • April 15, 2015
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Eielson Air Force Base will retain its F-16 squadron even if the installation located outside of Fairbanks, Alaska, becomes the home of two new squadrons of F-35A fighters, officials announced Tuesday. The Air Force had considered moving the base’s 18th Aggressor Squadron late last year after it named Eielson as the preferred alternative for 48 F-35s slated for the Pacific region. But the service determined that Eielson was “the most operationally sound option, as well as the most cost effective,” said Mark Pohlmeier, acting deputy assistant secretary for installations …

Utility’s Guilty Plea to Environmental Violations Could Jeopardize Power Supply to N.C. Bases

  • April 15, 2015
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Duke Energy, the only major electricity supplier in North Carolina, is negotiating with the Environmental Protection Agency for a waiver from a federal statute barring defendants that commit criminal violations from engaging in business with federal entities. If an agreement can’t be worked out, the nation’s largest electric utility would be barred from serving military installations and other federal facilities in North Carolina, Duke said in federal court on Tuesday …

McCain to Let Panel Decide on Opening up Authorization Bill Markup

  • April 15, 2015
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John McCain (R-Ariz.), chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, said he would let his committee vote whether to hold its markup of the fiscal 2016 defense authorization bill in open session. The committee’s markup of the annual defense policy measure traditionally has been closed to the public due to the preference of former Chair Carl Levin (D-Mich.). Levin had said it was unworkable to shift between open and closed sessions while deliberating over the authorization bill …

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