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Defense Communities 360 Headlines

Federal Initiative Spearheads Partnership to Preserve Buffer Lands at Ft. Huachuca, Pax River

  • April 9, 2015
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Three federal agencies on Wednesday designated Fort Huachuca, Ariz., and Naval Air Station Patuxent River-Atlantic test ranges, Md., as Sentinel Landscapes, a collaborative effort to promote working lands, protect wildlife habitat and ensure military readiness.
The Sentinel Landscapes Partnership — led by the departments of Agriculture, Defense and Interior — aims to preserve the lands most compatible with the military’s need for undeveloped environments to conduct its sensitive testing mission, according to a press release. “Military lands are often home to some of our nation’s best remaining habitat for wildlife, and provide an excellent opportunity to conserve species that are threatened or endangered,” said Interior Secretary Sally Jewell …

DOD Moving Back into Cheyenne Mountain

  • April 9, 2015
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Less than a decade after largely abandoning the Cheyenne Mountain Complex in Colorado, the Defense Department is moving communications gear into the facility to protect it from electromagnetic pulses. “Because of the very nature of the way that Cheyenne Mountain is built, it’s EMP-hardened,” Adm. William Gortney, commander of U.S. Northern Command and NORAD, told reporters at the Pentagon on Tuesday. “It wasn’t really designed to be that way, but the way it was constructed makes it that way …

Driverless Car Test Site at Closed Base to Provide Long-Term Gains to Concord

  • April 8, 2015
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Officials from the city of Concord and the Contra Costa Transportation Authority believe a new testing facility for self-driving cars established at the former Concord Naval Weapons Station in northern California will prove a boon for economic development and further the city’s pursuit of advanced manufacturing jobs. Last week the transportation authority announced that Honda would join Mercedes-Benz in testing autonomous vehicles at the 2,100-acre GoMentum Station, a research and testing hub for self-driving cars, vehicles equipped with technology to communicate with each other, “smart” traffic signals and other new technologies. The two auto manufacturers plan to take advantage of the shuttered base’s 20 miles of paved roads, including railroad crossings, parking lots, curved roadways, tunnels and streets laid out like a city grid …

Not Clear What Hoops DOD Needs to Jump through to Gain BRAC Approval

  • April 8, 2015
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It’s no secret that most lawmakers are adamantly opposed to additional base closures and even after the Obama administration in February made its fourth request since 2012 for permission to hold a new BRAC round, it’s not clear that the Pentagon has made any headway with Congress. In fact, it’s difficult to find any lawmaker who will stand up for BRAC. In a story about the growing imbalance between DOD’s infrastructure and its force structure, Federal News Radio contacted six lawmakers who previously had said they would consider the department’s request to consolidate its infrastructure. None, however, agreed to comment for the story …

Chesapeake Contemplates Purchases to Protect Military Facilities from Encroachment

  • April 8, 2015
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The city of Chesapeake, Va., plans to purchase 60 acres to protect Fentress Naval Auxiliary Landing Field and Hampton Roads Naval Support Activity, Northwest Annex from encroachment. The city still is negotiating with the owners over the purchase price for the farmland, reports the Virginian-Pilot. Half of the cost would be reimbursed by the Navy and the state. City officials plan to use their Fentress Encroachment Acquisition Program to purchase the property surrounding the auxiliary landing field …

Ceremony Marks Demolition of Aging Housing at Ft. Hood

  • April 8, 2015
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Fort Hood’s garrison commander took the first ceremonial swipe with an excavator on Tuesday as installation officials celebrated the beginning of an 18-month effort to demolish 518 residences built in 1953 and 1954 to house enlisted families. The project is part of a larger plan to modernize the post’s housing, reports the Killeen Daily Herald. Since assuming responsibility for family housing at Fort Hood in 2001, Lend Lease Public Partnerships has built 232 single-family homes and 974 duplexes, and renovated more than 1,600 units. Not counting the homes slated for demolition, the installation has 5,351 homes for families …

Mississippi Lawmakers Approve Limited Funding for Project Supporting Columbus AFB

  • April 8, 2015
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The Mississippi Legislature has approved a bond bill allowing the state to borrow $2.25 million to fund the extension of a recreational path from the city of Columbus to Columbus Air Force Base, enough to start the project but well short of the $25 million measure House lawmakers passed in February. “I had high hopes,” state Rep. Jeff Smith (R) told the Columbus Dispatch. “In the back of my mind, I was always worried we’d get nothing. The main thing we were able to get was the House and Senate to understand we would be back every year [asking for more funding]. We knew all along it would be a multi-year project, and we will be coming back next year …

McCain to Seek Sixth Senate Term

  • April 7, 2015
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John McCain (R-Ariz.) announced Tuesday he will run for a sixth term in the Senate, paving the way for Congress’ most ardent defense hawk to remain at the helm of the chamber’s Armed Services Committee beyond 2016. McCain, who will be 80 on Election Day in 2016, likely will face a more conservative opponent in the Republican primary but with his long-standing popularity and strong fundraising ability, it will be difficult to topple him, reported Stars and Stripes. “The reality is I think it is going to be very hard to push him out,” said Gordon Adams, a professor of foreign policy at American University …

Garrison Commanders Grapple with Budget Constraints

  • April 7, 2015
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At a two-day conference for Army garrison commanders and command sergeants major last month, Katherine Hammack, assistant secretary for installations, energy and environment, addressed the challenge of running an installation amid tight fiscal constraints. “We have to weigh risks daily,” Hammack said. “What’s acceptable loss? Compare loss of life to buildings that decay a little faster … grass that grows a little higher? Gen. Halverson and I are okay with the grass growing higher if it means that the troops are trained, ready and properly equipped …

Army Completes Disposal of Kansas Ammo Plant through Auction

  • April 7, 2015
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A New York investment firm last week completed the purchase of a 10-acre parcel at the former Kansas Army Ammunition Plant after submitting the winning bid in an auction conducted by the General Services Administration. Cornwall Specialty Trading purchased the tract, which contains the plant’s former 67,000-square-foot administration building, for $282,777. The transaction marks the completion of the Army’s disposal of the 14,000-acre facility in southeastern Kansas that was shuttered following the 2005 BRAC round. The Great Plains Development Authority is the major property owner with 7,000 acres. The facility’s munitions manufacturer, Day & Zimmermann, purchased 4,000 acres to continue operations at the plant. Production, however, has been shut down, Ann Charles, assistant director of the authority, told 360. The Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism holds the title to the remaining 3,000 acres. Charles said the authority will help Cornwall market its parcel as part of its efforts to market the Great Plains Industrial Park. The LRA also will provide caretaker services for the investment firm’s parcel.

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