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Defense Communities 360 Headlines

House Adopts Language Barring BRAC

  • June 12, 2015
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House lawmakers approved an amendment prohibiting the Defense Department from spending funds to propose, plan for or carry out a new round of base closures in fiscal 2016, before passing on Thursday the underlying defense appropriations bill for next year. The move probably won’t have any practical effect as this year’s defense authorization bill likely will reject the Obama administration’s request to hold a round in 2017, but it does underscore lawmakers’ opposition to BRAC. The chamber previously adopted similar language when it took up the FY 2016 military construction-veterans affairs spending measure in April. Much of the debate over the legislation focused on its use of DOD’s war account to sidestep the statutory spending caps in order to meet the Pentagon’s budget request …

Senate Appropriators Reject DOD Plan to Trim Commissary Subsidy

  • June 12, 2015
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Senate appropriators on Thursday restored $322 million in funding for military grocery stores while marking up the fiscal 2016 defense spending bill, matching a similar move by their House counterparts. The Obama administration’s budget request recommended the cut — out of a total allocation of $1.4 billion for commissaries — which would have been accommodated by reducing days of operation and operating hours, laying off staff and closing some stores, reported Military Times. Sen. Barbara Mikulski (Md.), the committee’s top Democrat, criticized the proposal as a shortsighted idea from “Pentagon bean splicers” and said those savings should not come at the expense of military families …

Navy Set to Surpass Target for Renewable Energy Use

  • June 12, 2015
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With the Navy on course to meet its goal of producing 1 gigawatt of renewable energy at its installations by Jan. 1, five years ahead of schedule, Secretary Ray Mabus is ready to raise the bar.
“I’m not satisfied stopping there. We can do better than that over the next five years,” Mabus said Wednesday at the 2015 GreenGov Symposium in Washington. The Air Force and Army also are striving to produce 1 gigawatt of renewable energy at their installations, but they don’t expect to reach that goal until 2020 at the earliest. To increase its shore installations’ reliance on renewables, the Navy is exploring a variety of alternative sources, including solar, wind, geothermal, hydrothermal and wave energy …

Fayetteville Leaders Tout Strong Community Bonds at Army Commission Hearing

  • June 12, 2015
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The National Commission on the Future of the Army’s public hearing in Fayetteville, N.C., Wednesday, was not intended to scrutinize Fort Bragg’s missions or its military value, but local officials who testified focused on the high degree of support the surrounding communities provide the post.
“We here in Fayetteville get the Army,” Fayetteville City Manager Ted Vorhees told the commissioners. The commission’s task is to assess “the right mix between the active army, the National Guard and the Army Reserve to meet the nation’s requirements,” said retired Army Gen. Carter Ham, chairman of the eight-member panel …

Hunters Point Bears Fruit after Decades of Battle over Contamination

  • June 12, 2015
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As new homeowners move into the first 88 units of new housing at the former Hunters Point Naval Shipyard this spring and summer, officials from the Navy, the city of San Francisco and master developer Lennar Urban could be excused if they breathe a sigh of relief while looking back at the hurdles that were overcome to reach this point. “It really is the culmination of many, many years of thinking about what to do and many fights over what to do, so it’s huge that we have new residents in those units,” Olson Lee, director of the mayor’s office of Housing and Community Development, told the San Francisco Chronicle. “Yes, it’s a former Superfund site. Yes, there were toxics on the site, but the city has followed all federal and state protocols that are part of the base conversion process to make sure all the new housing is safe …

Army Commission Not Focused on Belt-Tightening, Chairman Says

  • June 11, 2015
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The priority of a commission created by Congress to assess the size and force mixture of the Army is not to identify options to run the Army more efficiently, the chairman of the eight-member body said this week. “Are there budget challenges? Yes,” retired Army Gen. Carter Ham told the Fayetteville Observer. “But that’s not why we’re here. We’re not a budget commission,” he said. “People think this is a BRAC initiative,” Ham said as the National Commission on the Future of the Army prepared to hold a public meeting in Fayetteville on Wednesday. “That’s not at all what we are. We’re not here to question the essential missions of Fort Bragg, North Carolina …

BRAC Featured Prominently in Latest White House Veto Threat

  • June 11, 2015
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The House’s fiscal 2016 defense spending bill would undermine a new round of base closures and prevent DOD from aligning its infrastructure with the needs of its evolving force, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) said this week in explaining the White House’s threat to veto the legislation. The appropriations bill, which the House began debating Wednesday, does not includes $10.5 million that President Obama requested for planning and analyses to support a BRAC round in 2017, according to OMB’s response to the measure, H.R. 2685. “This impairs the ability of the executive branch to plan for contingencies or make other needed adjustments that would improve military effectiveness and efficiency …

Two Army Communities Suffer Population Loss, Report Shows

  • June 11, 2015
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Two cities with large Army posts have landed on a U.S. Census Bureau list of shrinking cities, with Columbus, Ga., home of Fort Benning, reaching the top of the ranking. The population of Columbus dropped 1.5 percent from July 2013 to July 2014, reported Yahoo.com, which linked the decline to a lower-than-expected surge at Benning from the last round of base closures. Columbus Mayor Teresa Tomlinson disputed the report, however, calling it “completely irresponsible …

Connecticut Sub Base to Host New Command

  • June 11, 2015
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A new command to train Navy forces in advanced tactics, techniques and procedures for anti-submarine warfare will be formed over the summer at Naval Submarine Base New London, the Navy announced this week. The Undersea Warfighting Development Center will be led by a one-star admiral and bring 52 jobs to the base in Groton, Conn., including 33 military personnel and 19 civilians. The announcement represents the “natural progression” of the significant federal investments made at the base over the past eight years, Rep. Joe Courtney (D) told the Day. The new command, which will have detachments in San Diego and Norfolk, Va., should help protect the submarine base in a future round of base closures. “BRAC is a wild card process,” Courtney said. “You never want to take anything for granted, but in terms of making the case for Groton’s long-term value, it doesn’t get much better than this.”

New Leader Takes Helm of Air Force Materiel Command

  • June 11, 2015
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Gen. Ellen Pawlikowski assumed the top position of the major command responsible for installation support and the technology, acquisition, test and sustainment of the Air Force’s current and future weapon systems during a ceremony this week at Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio. Pawlikowski took the reins of Air Force Materiel Command (AFMC) from Gen. Janet Wolfenbarger, marking the first time a female four-star general is replaced by another female four-star general at a major command. “The fact that we’re changing command from one woman to another is interesting, and it’s historic,” said Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Welsh, who presided over the ceremony. “But it’s not as cool to me as the fact that we’re changing from one phenomenal leader to another …

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