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Defense Communities 360 Headlines

Defense Committee Embraces Installation-Community Partnerships

  • May 6, 2015
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The military services should take advantage of the relatively new authority allowing installations to enter into intergovernmental support agreements with local governments to provide, receive or share support services for most municipal functions, according to report language accompanying the fiscal 2016 defense authorization bill. “The [House Armed Services] Committee notes that the authority to enter into intergovernmental support agreements is broad and encourages the Department of Defense to leverage this authority in a manner that provides costs savings and improved services in support of Department of Defense installations, military personnel and their families,” the report states …

Budget Differences Put Military at Risk, Top Pentagon Officials Testify

  • May 6, 2015
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Defense Secretary Ash Carter reiterated the administration’s threat to veto legislation that adds $38 billion to DOD’s war account to get around the Budget Control Act spending caps, during a hearing Wednesday of the Senate Defense Appropriations Subcommittee. “While this approach clearly recognizes that the budget total we’ve requested is needed, the avenue it takes is just as clearly a road to nowhere,” Carter told the panel. If lawmakers stick to the path outlined in the compromise budget resolution adopted by both chambers over the past week, he said, the department again will need to make hasty and drastic decisions by Oct. 1 …

Dyess AFB Relies on Inmates for Beautification

  • May 6, 2015
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Since the beginning of April, low-risk inmates from the Taylor County Detention Center have been cleaning up common areas at Dyess Air Force Base, located outside of Abilene, Texas, under a partnership between the Air Force and the Taylor County Sheriff’s Office. The inmates, escorted by an officer, have been clearing areas of weeds and debris, reported BigCountryhomepage.com. The Air Force is receiving the inmates’ services for free. “We’re not paying them, they’re not paying us. In the future, I’m sure there will be some sort of cross training between some of our officers and some of their personnel, and maybe even do some more specialized training for some of our people,” said Taylor County Sheriff Ricky Bishop …

OMB Calls for Agencies to Cut Budgets by 5 Percent in FY’17

  • May 6, 2015
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The Office of Management and Budget has told all federal agencies, including the Defense Department, that their upcoming budgets should reflect a 5 percent reduction below the funding level programmed for fiscal 2017 in the current budget request submitted to Congress last February. “[The guidance] asks agencies to show how they would cut 5 percent below the FY 2017 levels shown in the FY 2016 budget, as well as how they would prioritize funding add-backs to those levels,” an OMB spokeswoman told CQ Roll Call. “This guidance represents the starting point in the budget process …

Senators Decry Spending Caps before Passing Budget Resolution

  • May 5, 2015
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The Senate passed the fiscal 2016 conference budget resolution Tuesday, after lawmakers from both parties used the debate to press their colleagues to strike a deal to lift the Budget Control Act spending caps. The budget blueprint adheres to the statutory caps on defense and domestic spending, but to sidestep the limit on the Pentagon’s budget, it stashes $38 billion in extra funds in DOD’s war account, which is not subject to the caps. The House passed the compromise resolution last week. The move sets up a showdown over next year’s budget with President Obama, who has threatened to veto any spending bill that sticks to the statutory caps or provides budget relief to DOD while leaving domestic programs at the capped levels …

Courtney Concerned about Impact of Opening up Family Housing Projects to General Public

  • May 5, 2015
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The Defense Department would need to brief the House Armed Services Committee on the potential impacts to host communities of its policy of opening family housing projects to the general public when occupancy rates drop below certain levels. The request, an amendment to the fiscal 2016 defense authorization bill added during last week’s committee markup, directs DOD to focus on community impacts stemming from changes in the number of non-federally connected civilian children residing in military housing. Officials also should develop recommendations to mitigate possible community impacts. A growing number of installations recently have expanded eligibility to live in family housing projects to DOD civilians, military retirees, and in some cases, the public as occupancy rates have dropped due to cuts in end strength …

Air Force’s Steven Zander Named as Finalist for Prestigious Civil Servant Award

  • May 5, 2015
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Steven Zander, who leads the Air Force Community Partnership Program, will be honored today on Capitol Hill as one of 30 finalists for the 2015 Samuel J. Heyman Service to America Medals. “The Service to America Medal finalists showcase the good that our public servants do each and every day behind-the-scenes on behalf of the American public,” Max Stier, president and CEO of Partnership for Public Service, told Federal News Radio. “They epitomize the true spirit and value of public service,” Stier said. Zander was nominated in the management excellence category for leading a team to develop innovative partnerships between Air Force bases and their neighboring communities to save money and strengthen the local base and community support in a wide range of service areas, including libraries, golf courses, snow removal, operation of a water/wastewater treatment plant, and construction/maintenance of ball fields …

Army Reassigns White Sands’ Engineer Battalion

  • May 5, 2015
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The Army’s 2nd Engineer Battalion — based at White Sands Missile Range, N.M., after it was reactivated in 2008 — is being reassigned to Fort Bliss, Texas, after being reorganized once again. The battalion had 500 soldiers in 2008 but as of its casing ceremony last week, it was down to 200 personnel. Two of the battalion’s companies are moving to Fort Bliss, one company is transferring to Fort Polk, La., one will be inactivated, and the remaining soldiers will be reassigned elsewhere …

Fleet Changes Reduce Carbon Emissions at Fort Gordon

  • May 5, 2015
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Officials at Fort Gordon, Ga., have been replacing the installation’s vehicle fleet with gas-powered hybrid, electric and ethanol-based vehicles in an attempt to conserve fuel and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The post, located outside of Augusta, has reduced fossil fuel usage by 7 percent in the past three fiscal years by trimming gas-powered vehicles in their fleet by 18 percent since 2012, reported the Augusta Chronicle. A 2009 executive order requires a 2 percent annual reduction in greenhouse gas emissions and a 30 percent decrease in petroleum-based vehicles in federal fleets by fiscal 2020 …

Panel Directs GAO to Study Impact of Deferred Maintenance on Readiness

  • May 4, 2015
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In response to concerns over DOD’s policy to stop fully funding facilities sustainment, the House Armed Services’ Readiness Subcommittee directs the Government Accountability Office to review the state of the department’s facility sustainment and recapitalization program, according to report language attached to the panel’s portion of the fiscal 2016 defense authorization bill. The congressional watchdog agency should address: to what extent has DOD met its goals for sustainment and recapitalization of its facilities? what is known about the condition of facilities and the trend in conditions since fiscal 2011 …

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