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Defense Communities 360 Headlines

Senate Democrats Urge McConnell to Begin Budget Talks

  • August 21, 2015
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With only limited time available after lawmakers return to Washington next month, Senate Democrats this week urged Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) to start negotiations over the fiscal 2016 spending caps immediately. “With the existence of a clear and urgent deadline for action, we believe it would be unwise to wait until after the Congress returns from the August state work period — just 23 days before the end of the federal fiscal year — to begin talks on a path forward,” all 46 members of the Democratic Conference, which includes two independents, wrote McConnell on Tuesday. “We cannot afford to wait, only to let delay and inaction bring us to the brink of another totally predictable and completely preventable crisis …

Navy Signs Massive Power Purchase Deal for 14 California Bases

  • August 21, 2015
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The Navy, Western Area Power Administration and Sempra U.S. Gas & Power on Thursday held a ceremony at Naval Air Station North Island, Calif., marking an agreement for eight Navy installations and six Marine Corps bases in California to obtain power from a 210-megawatt direct current solar facility scheduled for construction 60 miles west of Phoenix. The agreement — which will meet one-third of the installations’ energy requirements over its 25-year term — is the largest purchase of renewable energy ever made by a federal entity, according to a Navy press release. Sempra will begin constructing Mesquite Solar 3, which will include more than 650,000 photovoltaic panels on ground-mounted, horizontal, single-axis trackers, this month …

Local Officials Point to Military Affairs Post as Key Decision for Jacksonville Mayor

  • August 21, 2015
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Advocates for Jacksonville’s two Navy installations, as well as military veterans, are anxiously waiting to find out who the city’s new mayor will name to lead the Military Affairs and Veterans Department. The position is a critical one for the city, as it is home to Naval Station Mayport and Naval Air Station Jacksonville, and is just over the state border from Georgia’s Naval Submarine Base Kings Bay, reports the Florida Times-Union. Supporting the Navy was a high priority for the city’s previous mayor, said Victor Guillory, the department’s chief under the Alvin Brown administration …

Northwest Community Leaders Prepare for Defense Changes at ADC Regional Forum

  • August 21, 2015
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At the two-day Defense Communities Regional Forum at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash., this week, community and industry leaders are discussing ways to prepare for a variety of impacts on installations and regions stemming from budget cuts, force reductions, a looming BRAC round and evolving missions. The Northwest Regional Forum is providing local and state government officials, community leaders and other key stakeholders an opportunity to understand the current defense environment and the role leaders can play in supporting their defense infrastructure. This week’s event is the first of a series of regional forums hosted by ADC to introduce community leaders and other local officials to the broad range of issues facing defense communities …

Groundwater Contamination Slows Handover of NAS Willow Grove

  • August 21, 2015
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Talks between the Navy and the Horsham LRA over the terms for conveying the former Naval Air Station Joint Reserve Base Willow Grove most likely will not be completed until officials determine how they will clean up perfluorinated compounds discovered last year in the groundwater on and around the property located north of Philadelphia. The Navy “has been aggressively attacking the problem,” according to Michael McGee, executive director of the LRA, but the redevelopment authority still needs to revise its purchase proposal and other planning documents as a result of the contamination. The Environmental Protection Agency is considering what remedy will be required to clean up the chemicals, which were used in firefighting foams …

Diverging Fortunes for Two Maine Shipyards

  • August 18, 2015
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Officials at Portsmouth Naval Shipyard in Kittery, Maine, are hiring hundreds of engineers, technicians, ship fitters and fabricators as they try to expand the facility’s workforce from 4,700 to 5,350 by the end of September. The hiring spree comes as the shipyard attempts to alleviate a maintenance backlog for the Navy’s fleet of nuclear submarines stemming from recent budget constraints, reports the Press Herald. Earlier this month, senior Navy officials highlighted the shipyard’s bright future. They cited the billions of dollars in work servicing attack submarines that Portsmouth has secured, as well as the pending confirmation of Adm. John Richardson as the new chief of naval operations as positive signs …

Kansas Lawmakers Decry Planning Effort to Move Detainees to Ft. Leavenworth

  • August 18, 2015
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Members of Kansas’ congressional delegation have criticized the Pentagon’s decision to assess the feasibility of housing detainees at Fort Leavenworth now held at Guantánamo Bay as it drafts a formal plan for closing the controversial detention center. Defense officials last week traveled to the post in northeastern Kansas; they plan to visit the Naval Consolidated Brig in Charleston, S.C., shortly. The surveys are part of the “ongoing effort to identify locations within the United States that can possibly facilitate military commissions and can possibly hold detainees currently at GTMO,” a DOD spokesman told the Voice of America. DOD will consider a variety of “military and civilian sites” to determine whether they can hold the law of war detainees “in a humane and secure manner,” according to the spokesman. “Only those locations that can hold detainees at a maximum security level will be considered …

S.C. Legislature Approves Seven Bills Aiding Service Members, Veterans

  • August 18, 2015
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A measure establishing a committee to assess the state’s delivery of veterans services was one of seven bills the South Carolina General Assembly approved this year that support service members and their families, and veterans. The veterans services bill directs the committee to study state and local veterans issues, and to recommend legislation to improve the structure, delivery and coordination of veterans services in South Carolina, reported the State. Another measure requires state colleges and universities to charge in-state tuition to veterans as soon as they become residents. The bill waives the requirement that individuals must live in South Carolina for a year to receive in-state tuition …

Barksdale AFB to Consider Opening Charter School

  • August 18, 2015
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Officials at Barksdale Air Force Base are considering opening a charter school, according to D.C. Machen, superintendent of Bossier Parish schools. Only eight military installations in the United States have charter schools, including Naval Air Station Joint Reserve Base New Orleans in Belle Chasse. A charter school could be opened on-base in two years; the local school board would need to approve its charter, reported KTBS. It also would need to admit the children of civilian families, which would require civilians to obtain security clearances …

The Past Lingers at Two Former Airfields

  • August 18, 2015
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A North Carolina fine art photographer drawn to long-forgotten, abandoned places has released a series of photos of decaying buildings at the former Chanute Air Force Base in Rantoul, Ill.
The village of Rantoul has reused some of the Air Force facilities, but many are badly deteriorated after remaining untouched for decades, reports We are the Mighty. The publication features eight photos by Walter Arnold shot at Chanute, which was shuttered in 1993. The installation was closed as a result of the 1988 BRAC round. Arnold did not get permission to access Chanute, but entered the site anyway. “Of all the locations that I have showcases online, Chanute has had the most response …

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