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Defense Communities 360 Headlines

FY ’15 Budget Reveals Scope of Cuts Needed to Address Spending Caps

  • February 25, 2014
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The Army’s active-duty end strength would be reduced to between 440,000 and 450,000 under the five-year budget proposal unveiled Monday by Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel. The long-term budget included with the fiscal 2015 budget request, the department’s first to fully reflect the transition DOD is making after 13 years of war, adheres to the spending caps in place next year but exceeds the Budget Control Act caps for the following four years by $115 billion. As a result, the Army would be forced to draw down to an end strength of 420,000 if sequester cuts are not reversed in FY 2016 …

Use of Food Stamps by Service Members Continues to Grow

  • February 23, 2014
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Military grocery stores have seen a steady increase in the use of food stamps since the recession began in 2008, climbing 233 percent over the past five years. The growth rate of food stamp redemptions at commissaries, which has slowed more recently, has been attributed to the weak economic recovery, high unemployment rates for military spouses, and a move by some states to lower eligibility requirements for food stamps, making it easier for service members to qualify …

Army Selects 20 New Firms for Massive Energy Procurement

  • February 23, 2014
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The Army last week announced 20 new award winners under its $7 billion procurement to obtain renewable energy through private sector financing, bringing the total number of contracts awarded in four technologies under the multiple-award, task order contract (MATOC) to 79. The contracts allow the firms to compete for power purchase agreements lasting up to 30 years at DOD installations using solar, wind, biomass and geothermal technologies. As renewable energy opportunities at Army installations are assessed, the Army Corps of Engineers’ Huntsville Center will issue a competitive task order request for proposal to pre-qualified companies for the specific technologies …

Wright-Patterson Invites Community to Consider New Ways to Partner

  • February 23, 2014
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Wright-Patterson Air Force Base hosted leaders from public agencies, organizations and businesses last week to generate ideas for taking advantage of DOD’s new authority to share base support services. The Feb. 20 workshop was one of the early steps in a six-to-eight-month process the Air Force is carrying out to find ways the Dayton, Ohio, installation can collaborate with local municipalities to leverage each other’s resources in an effort to save money …

‘Shadow BRAC’ is the Immediate Threat to Bases, Washington Insider Says

  • February 23, 2014
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While the next BRAC round could come as early as 2017, the immediate threat to defense communities are smaller cuts and realignments that don’t require a formal base closure round to go forward, the president of a Washington public affairs firm said last week during a meeting of the local support group for Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point. “The more scary thing to me is what I have been calling the shadow BRAC,” Barry Rhoads, president of Cassidy and Associates, told Allies for Cherry Point’s Tomorrow. “We’re undergoing shadow BRACs as we speak. That’s actually no notification of Congress …

HASC Ranking Member Stands up for BRAC

  • February 23, 2014
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The Pentagon could be forced to realign unneeded installations outside of the normal BRAC process if Congress continues to bar it from conducting a new round of base closures, according to written comments the office of Rep. Adam Smith (D-Wash.) submitted to Breaking Defense last week. “Mr. Smith thinks that given the changing size and shape of our military force, the Department of Defense needs to be able to adjust its infrastructure to accommodate and reflect the shape of the force,” according to Smith’s office. “It is his hope that Congress acts and these changes are made through the normal BRAC process …

State Grant to Protect Central Florida Bombing Range from Encroachment

  • February 21, 2014
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Polk County will use a $200,000 state grant to buffer Avon Park Air Force Range in central Florida from future development. The county will use the grant, awarded through Enterprise Florida, to provide a local match for $800,000 it received from DOD’s Readiness and Environmental Protection Integration program, reported the Ledger. The funds will be used to acquire a portion of two tracts totaling 4,480 acres located a mile north of the bombing range, or to purchase a conservation easement …

Ceremony Highlights Cooperation between Local Officials, Coast Guard to Build Museum

  • February 20, 2014
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City and state officials signed a memorandum of agreement Wednesday with the commandant of the Coast Guard outlining the responsibilities of each party in building an $80 million National Coast Guard Museum in downtown New London, Conn., marking a key step in moving the project forward. Under the agreement, New London will donate land along the Thames River to the Coast Guard for the museum, as well as spend $20 million for a pedestrian bridge leading to the museum and provide land for a new ferry terminal …

Former President Launches Initiative to Support Transitioning Veterans

  • February 20, 2014
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Former President George W. Bush called for a greater understanding of former service members at the Military Service Initiative Summit on Feb. 19, an event sponsored by the Bush Institute to focus attention on the issues facing post-9/11 veterans. “What most veterans want is to have their service understood and appreciated for what it is: a formative experience in their lives and a source of skills and values that prepare them to succeed in civilian life …

Army Corps Looks to Remake Itself, Chief Engineer Says

  • February 20, 2014
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The Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) will need to refashion itself as the surge in spending on military construction since 2001 comes to end and headquarters’ staffs are required to be streamlined, Lt. Gen. Thomas Bostick, the Corps’ commander, said this week.

The Corps “executed an extraordinarily large military program” in the last decade, worth nearly $30 billion at its peak in 2008, Bostick told the Army News Service. The work supported the 2005 round of BRAC, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act work in Iraq and Afghanistan, and other efforts …

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