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Defense Communities 360 Headlines

Officials Seek to Create Emergency Services Hub at Niagara Air Station

  • July 1, 2015
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Elected officials and other supporters of Niagara Falls Air Reserve Station secured $500,000 in state funding to launch an initiative to establish an emergency services hub at the installation to house first response agencies from across Western New York. The $500,000 grant from Empire State Development will be used as seed money to retrofit existing facilities at the air station, state Sen. Robert Ortt (R) announced Monday. The project would be located next to the base at Niagara Falls International Airport and could take $3 million and six years to complete. “This is one more development trying to make the base more attractive, more of an asset in the community, both from a military and from a local community standpoint …

If the National Summit Were Covered on the Network News

  • July 1, 2015
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In case you missed last week’s Defense Communities National Summit — or want to see if you were caught on film — the Air Force Civil Engineer Center produced a short news segment on the event that perfectly captures its “Defense Communities at a Crossroads” theme. The two-minute segment includes snippets of remarks from Miranda Ballentine, assistant secretary of the Air Force for installations, environment and energy, and Stephen TerMaath, BRAC division chief. It also highlighted the results of the instant poll of attendees taken during the opening general session that revealed that 92 percent of respondents believe the status quo is worse than holding a BRAC round and that 86 percent believe Congress will approve a new BRAC round within five years.

Murkowski Led Charge to Keep F-16s at Eielson AFB

  • July 1, 2015
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Sen. Lisa Murkowski has been a strong advocate for preserving military installations in Alaska since joining the Senate in 2002, and was one of the central players responsible for blocking the Air Force’s 2012 plan to relocate the F-16 Aggressor Squadron from Eielson Air Force Base in Fairbanks. Since the Air Force announced its plan to transfer the squadron, which could have harmed public services in Fairbanks as well as Anchorage, Murkowski led the Alaska’s delegation response, which included meeting with senior Air Force and DOD officials, advancing legislation and holding public forums. After two years the Air Force reversed its plans, preserving the base’s operations and the surrounding community’s quality of life …

Time to Consider Privatizing Installation Management, Officials Suggest

  • June 30, 2015
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With funding for installation support falling to historically low levels, the military services should consider using a public-private partnership model to construct and manage facilities, several officials suggested last week at the 2015 Defense Communities National Summit. A developer could be responsible for financing the construction of a new installation — and operating it — if DOD wanted to consolidate its facilities and update its remaining infrastructure, said Katherine Hammack, assistant secretary of the Army for installations, energy and environment. Other nations, including the United Kingdom rely more heavily on the private sector for installation support. For instance, U.K.’s Ministry of Defence is redeveloping a garrison in a project slated to result in the design and construction of 110 buildings, including living and working accommodations, and training, recreation, education and welfare facilities …

DOD Working Group to Take Closer Look at Public Schools

  • June 30, 2015
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The Pentagon has formed a DOD-wide working group to address issues related to the quality of public schools that serve military kids. “They’re looking across all the military services, with respect to what the larger department might be able to do to address some of the concerns we have with public schools,” said Carla Coulson, director of installation services for the Army’s office of the assistant chief of staff for installation management, reported Military Times. Last week, a think tank highlighted the importance of school quality and student achievement in public schools located at Army communities. It used data from an Army study that began in 2013 …

SunZia Proposes Shifting Transmission Line North of White Sands

  • June 30, 2015
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The developer of a 515-mile, high-voltage transmission line from New Mexico to Arizona has proposed rerouting a portion of the project that crosses the northern tip of White Sands Missile Range in an attempt to avoid the need to bury a portion of the line. The project gained the federal government’s approval in January after DOD and the Bureau of Land Management reached a compromise calling for the developer of the SunZia project to bury five miles of the line to eliminate conflicts with training and weapons testing on White Sands’ northern extension. But since January, SunZia has begun discussions with the New Mexico State Land Office and DOD about shifting the transmission line north of White Sands to move most of it out of the range’s call-up zone …

Dayton Development Coalition, Ohio Partnership Enhances Support for Wright-Patt

  • June 30, 2015
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The P4 Partnership Program, a collaboration among the Dayton Development Coalition, several Ohio agencies and Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, has shaved operating costs for the Air Force at the same time it has improved support for the installation. The partnership brought together the Coalition, the governor’s office, the governor’s Office of Workforce Transformation, Ohio Administrative Services, the Ohio Board of Regents, the Ohio Department of Veteran’s Affairs, JobsOhio and Sinclair Community College (SCC). The partners have focused on projects that provide education, job training and employment search opportunities; leverage resources to reduce costs on large commodity purchases; and permit the mutually beneficial use of emergency response facilities and equipment, and recreation facilities …

Massachusetts Agency Launches Economic Diversification Study

  • June 29, 2015
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The Massachusetts Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MassMEP) has launched an economic diversification study to help the state cope with cutbacks in DOD spending by becoming less dependent on defense contracting. The organization recently was awarded a $400,000 grant from MassDevelopment, a state agency that received a $1.5 million grant from DOD’s Office of Economic Adjustment. MassMEP will help companies reposition toward commercial markets, Jack Healy, its president, told the Telegram. A large number of manufacturers providing critical systems to the defense industry will have a difficulty surviving when their customers diminish. The grant also will expand an initiative allowing undergraduates from Worcester Polytechnic Institute to teach a training curriculum to the University of Massachusetts at Lowell. Of the about 87,000 jobs in the state supported by the defense industry, 43,000 are direct jobs, Healy said. The 87,000 positions do not include research and development or Small Business Innovation Research grant jobs. The study is expected to be completed in March 2016.

Governor’s Council Calls for Greater Engagement with California Installations, Communities

  • June 28, 2015
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California officials need to step up their support for military missions in the state by strengthening ties with installations and their host communities, according to a report the Governor’s Military Council released last week. Beyond committing to a sustained focus on California’s 30-plus installations, the state also should focus support to related national security activities, including the aerospace industry, defense contractors, federal laboratories and homeland security missions. DOD spends about $70 billion annually in California and employs 360,000 Californians throughout the state. “California plays an essential role in our national defense,” said Ellen Tauscher, chair of the council. “Our military’s most important testing and training ranges are located here and as defense strategy shifts to the Pacific Region and embraces new technologies, California has become more important than ever to national security …

Ohio Lawmakers Approve $5M for Military Facilities Commission

  • June 28, 2015
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The Ohio Legislature last week passed a two-year state budget with $5 million to invest in infrastructure projects at the state’s military facilities. The funds, which would create an Ohio Military Facilities Commission, are aimed at strengthening the state’s installations ahead of a looming BRAC round. “This prepares us for the inevitable consolidations and opportunities that we know are going to come up,” state Rep. Rick Perales (R) told the Dayton Business Journal. The funds would go to projects at installations across Ohio, including Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Rickenbacker airport in Columbus and Air National Guard bases in Springfield and Mansfield …

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