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Defense Communities 360 Headlines

Minnesota National Guard, Local Utility Reach Agreement to Build 10MW Solar Array

  • September 2, 2014
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Minnesota Power will build a $25 million, 10-megawatt solar farm for the Minnesota National Guard at Camp Ripley in central Minnesota under a memorandum of understanding signed last week. The solar photovoltaic project, which would cover 100 acres, would be the largest solar farm on any National Guard base and the largest contiguous solar farm in the state. In addition to helping the Guard increase its reliance on renewable sources, the project also will help Minnesota Power meet its state-mandated requirement to produce 1.5 percent of its electricity via solar energy by 2020 …

Global Unrest Creates Possible Opening to Relax Spending Caps

  • September 2, 2014
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The rise of the Islamic State along with other emerging threats could provide an opening for lawmakers to reverse defense cuts, or at least offer the Pentagon additional flexibility to respond to the threats, but it’s not yet clear that such an effort could succeed at this point, budget experts say. As the number of hotspots expands across the globe, talk about various options Congress could pursue to pay for a military response — including ongoing airstrikes in Iraq and possible ones in Syria — has been on the upswing …

Kroger Groundbreaking Marks Start of New Life for Ft. Gillem

  • September 1, 2014
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State and local officials are pointing to last month’s groundbreaking ceremony at the former Fort Gillem for a 1 million-square-foot distribution center for Kroger as the first step in converting the Atlanta-area post into a major logistics hub for the region. “It is good to see this property being able to be used for other purposes, and I know that many of you have waited for this first breakthrough event, and I believe it is just that,” Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal (R) said at the Aug. 19 event, reported WABE. “It is the beginning of what hopefully are many other opportunities for development will follow …

Pentagon Embarks on New Streamlining Campaign

  • September 1, 2014
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The Defense Department is preparing to launch a new initiative to reduce overhead and administrative costs in the office of the secretary of defense and the 16 defense agencies, according to Deputy Defense Secretary Robert Work. The effort, which will bypass the military services and combatant commands, will partially rely on outside experts from the Defense Business Board and Business Executives for National Security …

Criteria Needed to Help GSA Better Target Property Exchanges, GAO Finds

  • September 1, 2014
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Developing criteria to determine when it should pursue a real property exchange would help the General Services Administration better target promising opportunities for taking advantage of the authority, a recent report by the Government Accountability Office concludes. Real property exchanges, which the report calls “swap-construct” exchanges, allow the government to trade property to developers for construction services or existing facilities. The authority can help GSA deal with the challenge of disposing of unneeded property and modernizing or replacing federal buildings, but multiple factors can affect the success of such an approach …

James Makes Air Force Community Partnership Program Official Policy

  • September 1, 2014
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The Air Force has embraced DOD’s new authority allowing installations to enter into intergovernmental support agreements with host communities since it become law in January 2013, and now the service’s Community Partnership Program has become official with Air Force Secretary Deborah Lee James’ signing of a new policy directive. The service has been applying the new section 331 authority — which allows installations to enter into agreements with local governments to provide, receive or share support services for most municipal functions — at dozens of locations in an effort to trim base operating costs. The new statute, along with the July 24 guidance signed by James, provides the Air Force broad authority to implement installation-community partnerships, said Steven Zander, director of the Community Partnership Program …

Prospect of Further Army Downsizing Generates Massive Public Response

  • September 1, 2014
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Army Environmental Command (AEC) has received tens of thousands of public comments to the service’s assessment of the environmental and economic impacts from shrinking its active-duty end strength to 420,000 troops by 2020, far surpassing the response last year to the analysis prepared for a previous round of cuts. As of last Wednesday, the command had received more than 40,000 public comments from supporters of the 30 installations included in the supplemental programmatic environmental assessment (PEA), with additional deliveries yet to be counted. The deadline for submitting comments was Aug. 25 …

Note from the Editor

  • August 26, 2014
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360 will be taking an extended break for Labor Day weekend and will next publish on Sept. 2. Enjoy the weekend!

Georgia Breaks Ground on Veterans Training Center near Robins AFB

  • August 26, 2014
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Georgia officials last week broke ground outside of Robins Air Force Base on a $10 million education and training center designed to assist veterans transitioning to civilian careers. The Georgia military academic training center — a partnership between the University System of Georgia and the Technical College System of Georgia — will serve as a gateway for veterans as they re-enter Georgia’s workforce and systems of higher education …

Housing Developer Files Suit over Property Tax Assessment at Eielson AFB

  • August 26, 2014
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Corvias Air Force Living, the family housing developer at Eielson Air Force Base, filed a lawsuit in federal court last week to stop the Fairbanks North Star Borough from assessing property taxes on about 900 homes it manages at the installation. Because the Air Force had leased the land where the housing is located to a private entity, the borough assessed the developer a $1.8 million tax bill for the current year. The borough and Corvias had entered negotiations to reach agreement on a payment in lieu of taxes that would have lowered the bill to $580,000, but a deal was never reached …

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