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Defense Communities 360 Headlines

Wish List Could Encourage Lawmakers to Tinker with DOD’s Budget Request

  • February 20, 2014
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The Defense Department’s intent to attach a $26 billion list of unfunded requirements to its fiscal 2015 budget request could have unintended consequences, as appropriators swap out programs included in the administration’s proposal for favored programs that failed to make the cut. Including a list of second-tier priorities with the budget request also could embolden service chiefs to push Congress to fund programs that were left out of DOD’s baseline spending plan …

McCain to Helm Armed Services Committee?

  • February 20, 2014
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Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) told a reporter that if the Republicans win back the Senate in the mid-term elections, he would want to chair the Armed Services Committee. “I would be so happy to be chairman of the Armed Services Committee,” he told Phoenix radio station KFYI on Tuesday. Since the beginning of last year, Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.) has served as the ranking member of the panel, a slot McCain was forced to give up due to term limits …

Planning Commission Seeks Consultants for Diversification Project after Oshkosh Layoffs

  • February 19, 2014
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The Oshkosh Region Defense Industry Diversification Initiative is a regional effort to respond to recent defense layoffs announced by the Oshkosh Corp. (OC) affecting a five-county region in East Central Wisconsin. Two project components are being released as separate RFPs: The Defense Industry Supply Chain component seeks to create a web-based directory of Oshkosh region defense contractors, businesses and suppliers that is based on substantial research and information compiled during an initial supply chain mapping activity. The Supply Chain Direct Assistance component will provide direct assistance services to expand the capabilities of the manufacturers and small businesses (supply chain) impacted by reduced OC production and procurement …

VA to Open Residential Facility Dedicated to Recent Veterans

  • February 19, 2014
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A new Department of Veterans Affairs residential treatment facility in San Diego will be devoted to helping veterans who served in Iraq and Afghanistan avoid homelessness. The 40-bed, 30,000-square-foot residential rehabilitation facility, set to open Monday, will serve as a test of whether there is an advantage to delivering care to younger veterans as a group. The VA will track the number of homeless veterans in San Diego as the program continues and monitor the residents’ progress after they leave the facility …

Ft. Drum to Be Powered Completely by Biomass Plant

  • February 19, 2014
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A top Army energy official on Wednesday said the service plans to purchase up to 28 megawatts of electricity from the owner and operator of a biomass power plant located at Fort Drum, N.Y. ReEnergy Holdings LLC acquired the facility in December 2011 and invested more than $34 million to convert it from a plant that burned coal to one that relied on biomass as its primary fuel to produce electricity. The company started operating the plant last June …

Lawmakers Preempt Pentagon on BRAC

  • February 19, 2014
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With DOD’s fiscal 2015 budget proposal scheduled to be released in less than two weeks, questions from reporters as to how Congress would respond to an expected request for a new round of base closures are on the rise. In recent weeks, several lawmakers, including two Democrats on the Senate Armed Services Committee, responded that it is unlikely Congress would agree to a new round. When asked last week how a BRAC would affect Central Florida, Sen. Bill Nelson (Fla.) told the reporter, “I’m a senior member of the Armed Services Committee from which it would come, and we’re not having a BRAC any time soon …

Partnering Is One Solution to Addressing Excess Industrial Base, Army Official Says

  • February 19, 2014
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One way to make better use of excess capacity in DOD’s industrial base following the drawdown from Iraq and Afghanistan is to encourage industry to use it, according to Army and industry officials speaking on Wednesday at the Association of the U.S. Army’s winter conference. “All of our facilities are open for business,” James Dwyer, a senior civilian with Army Materiel Command, told attendees. “Why should you depreciate it, write it off, and make your stockholders buy it, when we’ve already got it and they’re there for partnering?” Dwyer said …

NAS Whiting Field Secures Additional Land Buffer

  • February 18, 2014
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Naval Air Station Whiting Field recently secured a 490-acre buffer adjacent to the base, bringing the total protected area surrounding the installation located on the Florida Panhandle to about 3,500 acres. DOD and the state of Florida provided $1.2 million to secure the site. While the project achieves two important goals — protecting the installation from encroachment and supporting conservation — Santa Rosa County Commissioner Don Salter told WUWF that an additional buffer around the field will help protect it during a future BRAC round. Separately, Whiting Field has applied for a $5 million grant offered by the 2014 REPI Challenge, which is sponsored by DOD’s Readiness and Environmental Protection Integration program. If the installation wins, the funding would be matched by the state, allowing the Navy to purchase up to 10,000 acres north of the base.

Partnership Discussions Advance among Patrick AFB, Neighbors

  • February 18, 2014
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Brevard County is considering forming an executive steering committee to elevate informal discussions between Patrick Air Force Base and its neighbors on Florida’s Space Coast about ways to take advantage of a new DOD authority allowing installations to share base support services with the surrounding community. In addition to Brevard County, other participants include the Economic Development Commission of Florida’s Space Coast, Cape Canaveral, Cocoa, Cocoa Beach, Melbourne and Satellite Beach. Cooperative agreements could cover police, fire and emergency response at Patrick, as well as expanded recreational and library services for base personnel and their families …

Congress Should OK Pentagon’s BRAC Request, Defense Experts Say

  • February 18, 2014
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Ninety-one percent of the defense and foreign policy experts responding to a survey conducted by the National Journal believe that Congress should approve the Defense Department’s request to hold a new round of base closures. “Excess capacity exists across all the military services. Congress and communities face either a slow decline at every base, with little hope for any economic relief anywhere, or selective closures that bolster needed bases and let other areas start on the road to recovery and life after closure …

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