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Defense Communities 360 Headlines

Expansion of Training Area to Bolster Ellsworth AFB

  • November 20, 2014
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A massive expansion of a training area used by B-52 and B-1 bombers at Ellsworth Air Force Base, S.D., is close to obtaining federal approval following a six-year review process, Sen. John Thune said this week. Expansion of the Powder River Training Complex will improve the Air Force’s training capability. Consolidation of far-flung training flights also could save the service an estimated $20 million annually in fuel costs, reported the Billings Gazette. The expansion will quadruple the size of the existing airspace to an area of about 20 million acres northwest of Rapid City and spanning parts of South Dakota, Wyoming, Montana and North Dakota …

Emerging Threats Upend Assumptions behind Sequestration, Odierno Says

  • November 19, 2014
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Reductions in the size of the Army forced by the Budget Control Act spending caps need to be reconsidered given the emergence of multiple global threats over the past year, Chief of Staff Gen. Ray Odierno said Wednesday. Many of the assumptions made when officials decided to shrink the size of the active-duty Army — initially to 490,000 and now to about 440,000 — have not played out as planned. “We made assumptions that we wouldn’t be using Army forces in Europe the way we used to. We made assumptions that we wouldn’t go back into Iraq. We are back in Iraq. Here we are worried about Russia again …

Armed Services Leaders Split over Military Compensation Reforms

  • November 19, 2014
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Leaders of the House and Senate Armed Services committees negotiating a compromise fiscal 2015 defense authorization bill remain at an impasse over two DOD proposals intended to save billions of dollars in military benefit costs through FY 2019. Carl Levin (D-Mich.), the outgoing chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, said Wednesday it’s worth “fighting for” the reforms advocated by Pentagon leaders. One would slow the growth in the basic allowance for housing below the rate of inflation over the next three years so that the benefit only covers 95 percent of average rental costs. The other would increase pharmacy co-pays for prescriptions filled outside of military treatment facilities …

Incoming Armed Services Chairs Decry Strict Spending Caps

  • November 19, 2014
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Rep. Mac Thornberry (R-Texas), who will lead the House Armed Services Committee starting in January, on Wednesday urged his fellow lawmakers to reverse the stringent spending caps imposed on the Pentagon by the Budget Control Act. “Obviously that’s a big issue. [The] Armed Services Committee cannot solve that problem, but it needs to be solved and so working with others, we’re going to do our best to try to solve it,” Thornberry told reporters, according to the Hill. After being selected by the House Republican Steering Committee for the chairmanship on Tuesday, the House Republican conference affirmed his selection on Wednesday …

Ft. Bragg Opens Housing to Retirees, DOD Civilians

  • November 19, 2014
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In a move intended to boost an occupancy rate falling due to troop cuts and housing construction in surrounding neighborhoods, Corvias Military Living will allow military retirees, DOD civilians and the families of fallen soldiers to live in family housing at Fort Bragg, located outside of Fayetteville, N.C. Fort Bragg officials announced the decision Monday and said the installation has room for between 300 and 350 families that previously were not eligible, reported the Fayetteville Observer. “The ability to live on post at Fort Bragg is a true privilege for members of the military community,” said Col. Jeffrey Sanborn, Fort Bragg’s garrison commander …

N.C. County Seeks Consultant to Perform JLUS at MCAS Cherry Point

  • November 19, 2014
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Carteret County, N.C.., is seeking proposals from qualified firms to prepare a joint land use study for Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point, ALF Bogue, OLF Atlantic, BT-11, BT-9 and the surrounding communities. The effort is funded by DOD’s Office of Economic Adjustment which provides grants to state and local governments to conduct a JLUS to support the long-term sustainability and operability of military installation complexes. Interested firms must demonstrate knowledge and experience in community planning, development and land use issues, ecosystem management/impact analysis, fiscal impact analysis, economic development, and military installation management and operations. A final JLUS report will be completed by Dec. 31, 2015. Responses are due by Dec. 19, 2014, at 4 p.m. The complete request for proposal may be found on the Carteret County website. All questions regarding this RFP shall be in written form and directed to Eugene Foxworth at eugene.foxworth@carteretcountync.gov.

Georgia Invests in Job Training Center for Service Members, Veterans

  • November 19, 2014
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The state of Georgia is spending $10 million to build a training center for military members and their families in Warner Robins to help veterans earn academic credentials needed to enter the civilian workforce. The Georgia Military and Academic Training Center, located next to Robins Air Force Base, is expected to support military personnel and veterans with education and training, credit transfers and job placement. Military members and veterans currently can attend many Technical College System of Georgia and Georgia University System schools to receive certifications in hundreds of educational programs …

House Republicans Consider Options that Sidestep Government Shutdown

  • November 18, 2014
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House Republicans focused on several maneuvers that would fund the government while disrupting an executive action by President Obama on immigration. One option discussed Tuesday calls for the House to pass a 12-bill omnibus for fiscal 2015, and then after the president issues an executive order, passing a bill rescinding funding for the federal programs involved in carrying it out, reported the Hill. Republicans would wait until January when they control both chambers to pass the rescission measure …

House Republican Leadership Taps Thornberry to Lead Armed Services Panel

  • November 18, 2014
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Texas Rep. Mac Thornberry (R), who has served as vice chairman of the House Armed Services Committee for the last four years, was selected by House Republican leaders on Tuesday to chair the committee when the 114th Congress opens in January. Thornberry will replace Rep. Buck McKeon (R-Calif.), who is retiring at the end of the current session. His selection is expected to be approved by the entire Republican conference this week …

Authorization Bill Talks Hung up over Military Benefits

  • November 18, 2014
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A dispute over DOD cost-saving reforms affecting the basic allowance for housing and co-pays for prescription drugs are holding up negotiations between the leadership of the House and Senate Armed Services committees over a compromise fiscal 2015 defense authorization bill. Committee leaders were aiming to wrap up negotiations by the end of the week, and clearing the final version of the bill through the House and Senate during the lame duck session. The Pentagon had proposed slowing growth in the basic allowance for housing below the rate of inflation over the next three years so that the benefit only covers 95 percent of average rental costs …

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