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Defense Communities 360 Headlines

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 …

JBLM Commander Reaches outside Installation to Ease Transition for Service Members

  • June 22, 2015
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One of the most challenging turning points in a service member’s career is making the transition from active duty to civilian life. The prospect is not unlike choosing — or being compelled — to shed a familiar, comfortable, even protective, skin, to assume a strange new one that is in no way guaranteed to be a smooth fit. To help military personnel at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash., prepare to meet this challenge, Col. H. Charles Hodges Jr., the installation’s commander, has worked to develop resources and cultivate contacts in the surrounding community and at the state and federal levels that separating personnel can tap to pursue private or government job training and career opportunities …

City Approves $500M Plan to Transform Alameda Point

  • June 22, 2015
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The Alameda City Council last week approved plans to revitalize a 68-acre portion of the former Naval Air Station Alameda, Calif., into a mixed-use project featuring 800 homes and 600,000 square feet of retail and commercial space. Approval of the $500 million plan from Alameda Point Partners — which also calls for 15 acres of parks and open space, and possibly a new ferry terminal — comes after the city decided to direct the project itself following two failed efforts led by master developers over the past decade. The development team includes commercial builder srmErnst, retail company Madison Marquette, residential developer Thompson Dorfman Partners and nonprofit Eden Housing …

Largest Military Clusters Attract Veterans in Droves, Rankings Show

  • June 22, 2015
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Four cities in regions that host large concentrations of military personnel — Virginia Beach, Va., Colorado Springs, Colo., San Antonio and San Diego — topped Military Times’ first-ever ranking of the best places for military veterans to live. The results are hardly surprising as defense communities have always pointed to the number of veterans that remained — or returned — after their service as proof of both their military friendliness and quality of life. Those factors likely explain a veteran population in San Antonio which exceeds 100,000. “When they were assigned here at one time or another, they had a very positive experience with the community,” said Bob Murdock, director of the city’s Office of Military Affairs …

McCain Pledges Speedy Conference Agreement on Policy Bill

  • June 19, 2015
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A House-Senate compromise on the fiscal 2016 defense authorization bill could be wrapped up in a matter of weeks, Senate Armed Services Chairman John McCain (R-Ariz.) told reporters Thursday shortly after the Senate passed its version of the annual policy bill. “I am totally convinced we can get the bill back out of conference in July, and probably early July,” McCain said. Mac Thornberry (R-Texas), chairman of House Armed Services, has made similar comments indicating a quick timeline to reconciling the two chamber’s versions is likely. “There are not significant differences,” McCain said, reported CQ. “Our reforms go quite a bit further than those in the House bill, but I have a very close working relationship with the chairman of the House Armed Services Committee and I’m confident we can resolve those differences and resolve them quickly …

Senate Democrats Make Their Stand on Defense Spending Bill

  • June 19, 2015
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Senate Democrats on Thursday blocked the chamber from starting debate on the fiscal 2016 defense spending bill, the first step in a strategy designed to force Republicans to enter talks to raise the Budget Control Act spending caps. The chamber’s 50-45 vote fell 10 votes short of the 60 votes need to proceed to the $575 billion measure and left uncertain how Congress would enact spending bills for the next fiscal year. The Democrats’ risky move had been expected, as party leaders had threatened in recent weeks to filibuster appropriations bills that either stick to the spending caps or shield the Pentagon from the budget limits while ignoring domestic agencies. The defense measure stashes $38 billion of funding beyond the Obama administration’s request in the department’s overseas contingency operations (OCO) account to get around the statutory spending cap …

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