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Defense Communities 360 Headlines

Army Faces Limited Options in Addressing Excess Capacity

  • June 24, 2015
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The Army is paying $480 million a year to maintain more than 160 million square feet of excess infrastructure, and the service has only a limited ability to trim that cost, officials said Tuesday at the 2015 Defense Communities National Summit. The service estimates that 18 percent of its infrastructure is excess. One tack it is taking to address the surplus is asking garrison commanders to identify their unutilized and underutilized space, and to consolidate activities into their most efficient facilities, said Katherine Hammack, assistant secretary for installations, energy and environment. Facilities in the worst condition can then be mothballed or torn down. But this initiative will not produce significant savings, Hammack said …

Blunt Shows Unwavering Support for Missouri Installations, Military Veterans

  • June 24, 2015
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Sen. Roy Blunt has tirelessly supported Missouri’s role vital role in the nation’s defense during his first term in the Senate, as he has fought to sustain and expand missions at each of the state’s military installations. Blunt championed several key state defense priorities as part of the 2014 omnibus spending agreement, including $337 million to keep the Air Force’s A-10 fleet flying at Whiteman Air Force Base and elsewhere, and $1.46 billion to build 15 new Growler aircraft in St. Louis. He also worked to preserve the Missouri National Guard’s 139th Airlift Wing training base in St. Joseph and the Army Aviation Flight Activity and the Missouri National Guard Aviation Classification Repair Activity Depot, which are co-located in Springfield …

Former Ft. Bliss Commander Reprimanded for Role in Awarding Renewable Energy Deal

  • June 24, 2015
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The former commanding general of Fort Bliss, Texas, has been reprimanded for steering a contract that was part of the post’s net zero energy initiative to a firm run by two of his former classmates at West Point. Maj. Gen. Dana Pittard, who more recently commanded U.S. advisory forces in Iraq, was formally reprimanded in February after a three-year investigation by the Army’s inspector general, the Washington Post reported this week. An Army review board is considering whether to strip him of his rank as a two-star general before he is allowed to retire this year …

Army Postpones Restructuring Announcement

  • June 23, 2015
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The Army’s announcement as to what units and organizations will be eliminated to comply with spending caps prompting the service to shrink its active-duty end strength to 450,000, and possibly to 420,000, has been postponed, officials revealed Monday at the 2015 Defense Communities National Summit. “I expect it within the next month,” Brig. Gen. Malcolm Frost, the service’s chief of public affairs, told representatives from Army communities anxiously awaiting the pending announcement. When the announcement is made, officials will first inform a variety of affected groups, including Congress and communities, in a 24-hour period before they publicly release the news …

BRAC Round Inevitable, Experts Say

  • June 23, 2015
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Congress is likely to approve a new round of base closures within five years, as BRAC is not the political third rail it’s frequently described as, Mackenzie Eaglen, a resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, said Monday at the opening general session of the 2015 Defense Communities National Summit. While lawmakers are naturally disinclined against authorizing the Pentagon to close additional installations, the consequences of DOD’s worsening budget situation should help persuade Congress that a BRAC round is needed, Eaglen told more than 500 Summit attendees. The Budget Control Act caps have resulted in deteriorating readiness levels for the military, an indication of less frequent training and lower spending on facility maintenance, she explained …

Levesque Has Led Transformation of Shuttered Air Station into Thriving Business Mecca

  • June 23, 2015
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Steve Levesque’s determination to tap into Americans’ entrepreneurial spirit and help a community develop a strategy to deal with the loss of a major employer turned what could have been a devastating economic blow into a major opportunity. As executive director of the Brunswick Local Redevelopment Authority, Levesque was charged with preparing a master plan for the redevelopment of Naval Air Station Brunswick, Maine, once it closed. Since 2008, he has been executive director of the Midcoast Regional Redevelopment Authority, and has led the implementation and oversight of that master plan and guided the once-bustling installation toward civilian reuse …

OEA Plans to Support Communities Coping with Downsizing

  • June 23, 2015
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With more than a dozen communities experiencing downsizing at neighboring military installations over the past several years and further cuts in personnel looming, DOD’s Office of Economic Adjustment is planning to offer financial assistance and other support to affected communities. The agency plans to issue an announcement next month in the Federal Register soliciting communities to apply for grants to address personnel reductions — including military and civilian — of at least 2,000 at local installations, OEA Director Patrick O’Brien said Monday during the OEA Town Hall session at the 2015 Defense Communities National Summit. Communities would be eligible if they suffered the cuts over the past three years or are slated to absorb them over the next three years …

Congress Needs to Place Communities on a More Certain Path

  • June 23, 2015
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America’s defense communities are being gradually undermined as stringent spending caps force cuts in DOD funding for operations and training, a reduction in military force structure and declining support for installations. Absent action by lawmakers to provide the Pentagon relief from the budget caps, many installations will start to “hollow out,” with local economies and services forced to cope with a dwindling military presence. A new BRAC round likely would relieve much of the pressure on communities, but lawmakers so far have rejected the Obama administration’s repeated requests for additional base closures. In short, because of gridlock on Capitol Hill, we have arrived at a crossroads for our installations and the communities that support them, Tim Ford, ADC’s CEO, writes in an op-ed published Monday in Roll Call …

Ohio Air Reserve Station to Help Neighbor Demolish Vacant Properties

  • June 23, 2015
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Within the next month, reservists from Youngstown Air Reserve Station in northeast Ohio will help the city of Youngstown tear down 11 vacant homes. The partnership, an initiative under the Air Force Community Partnership program, will provide the city with the labor to perform the demolitions, while providing the airmen with experience they may not receive otherwise. “They do everything from HVAC to electrical, to plumbing and carpentry. This is an opportunity for them to operate heavy equipment, get training in equipment they might not normally see at the Air Reserve Station,” said Col. James Dignan, 910th Airlift Wing commander …

Increased Collaboration with GSA Would Help Installations Find Space for Federal Agencies

  • June 22, 2015
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The Defense Department and the General Services Administration do not routinely share information about opportunities to move non-DOD federal agencies onto military installations to take advantage of unused and underutilized facilities, according to a new report by the Government Accountability Office. GSA does not routinely contact installations to find out whether space is available when it is trying to support federal agencies with new workspace requirements. Similarly, DOD waits for non-DOD agencies to inquire about opportunities to move onto an installation and does not generally reach out to GSA or agencies that may be looking for space, the congressional watchdog agency found …

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