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Defense Communities 360 Headlines

Retreat on Military Pension Cuts Raises Bar for Future Budget Reform

  • February 18, 2014
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Congress’ relatively quick reversal of a reduction in cost-of-living increases for military pensions included in last December’s budget deal almost certainly means the Pentagon will not have the upper hand when it floats future proposals to rein in its burgeoning personnel costs. After the House and Senate approved the bipartisan budget agreement late last year, some analysts expressed optimism that lawmakers’ willingness to trim the growth rate of pensions for military retirees of working age was a signal that DOD would be able to implement other cuts needed to keep compensation and benefit costs from spiraling out of control …

McKeon Attempts to Revive Unfunded Requirements Lists

  • February 18, 2014
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House Armed Services Chair Buck McKeon (R-Calif.) on Monday released the letter he sent to the service chiefs and other top commanders asking for a list of their priorities which were not included in the administration’s fiscal 2015 budget proposal, opening a new rift on the panel. “I believe these lists provide valuable insight into the priorities of our warfighters, particularly with respect to important needs which are not included in the president’s budget request but could be executed should additional resources be available during the annual authorization of appropriations for the Department of Defense …

States Should Adopt Arizona’s Model to End Veteran Homelessness, Governor Says

  • February 17, 2014
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Arizona’s four-year-old initiative to end veteran homelessness throughout the state is moving toward a successful conclusion, according to a commentary by Gov. Jan Brewer (R) published last week in the Arizona Republic. “What we are accomplishing here in Arizona can and should be done in other states — and with the United States’ entire homeless population,” Brewer wrote. After Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki announced a five-year timeline in 2009 to end veteran homelessness, Arizona became the first state to create an office dedicated to addressing the issue …

Ft. Lee, Community Largely Compatible, Study Concludes

  • February 17, 2014
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Despite enjoying a burst of growth following the last BRAC round, Fort Lee is not adversely affected by Petersburg, Va., and other surrounding communities, according to a recently completed joint land use study for the post. The study, which was led by the Crater Planning District Commission, found that Fort Lee and its neighbors have a compatible growth pattern, reported the Progress-Index. Several of the study’s recommendations called for the post’s surrounding communities to develop a formalized regional approach to coordinate land use planning with Fort Lee …

Officials Cut Ribbon on DOD’s Largest Solar Project

  • February 17, 2014
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Officials from Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, local government and private industry last week celebrated the opening of two photovoltaic arrays, the largest solar project on any DOD installation. The 16.4-megawatt project was financed, designed and built by SunEdison LLC on 170 acres of underutilized land at two locations on the Tucson, Ariz., base. The firm will operate the arrays under an agreement that calls for it to charge an economically beneficial rate for 25 years …

Hagel to Provide Early Preview of FY’15 Budget Request

  • February 17, 2014
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Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel is expected to preview the department’s fiscal 2015 budget request on Feb. 24, a week before the White House formally releases its spending proposal for next year, reported Reuters. Spending for defense-related programs in FY 2015 already has been set by last December’s budget deal at $521.3 billion, with DOD spending estimated at about $496 billion. The figure is virtually unchanged from the current year’s base budget. Still, the Pentagon faces many difficult choices as the spending cap is about $40 billion lower than the FY 2015 budget figure the department included in its long-term budget last year.

Army Looking at Excess Space at Installations

  • February 17, 2014
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The Army is taking an inventory of its facilities to assess how much excess infrastructure it maintains, ahead of a recommendation to the office of the secretary of defense (OSD) about the need for a new round of base closures. The Army maintains a lot of space and facilities that are not being utilized or are just partially utilized, Paul Cramer, deputy assistant secretary for installations, housing and partnerships, told the Army News Service. As a result, officials will recommend a new BRAC round be held in 2017, Cramer said …

Army Corps’ Role Would Change during New BRAC

  • February 14, 2014
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The next round of base closures likely will be much different than the last, and as a result, the Army Corps of Engineers will play a much different role, Lt. Gen. Thomas Bostick, the agency’s commanding general, told reporters earlier this week. The Corps spent about $11 billion on new construction following BRAC 2005, but the next round will focus on disposing of properties and closing installations, Bostick said. “How do we reshape installations and make changes in the overall location of installations in order to maintain a force that is much smaller than we have today,” he said, reported Federal Times.

Corporations Highlight Programs to Ease Civilian Transition

  • February 14, 2014
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Officials at several of the leading corporations in America detailed a variety of hiring and training programs intended to support service members transitioning out of the military during a recent hearing by the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee. Representatives from Microsoft, JPMorgan Chase, Walmart, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the International Franchise Association cited multiple initiatives available to veterans, including: Hiring Our Heroes, a U.S. Chamber of Commerce project that has held more than 660 veteran job fairs across all 50 states since 2011 …

Army Corps to Develop Better Tool to Trim Facilities’ Energy Use

  • February 14, 2014
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The Army Corps of Engineers is working on a new analytic tool to help installations reduce energy usage, courtesy of a $1.2 million grant from DOD’s Environmental Security Technology Certification Program. The Corps’ team will integrate the capabilities of two existing tools to more effectively evaluate ways to cut the energy bill at installations worldwide. One tool is the Comprehensive Army Master Planning Solution Dashboard, which includes facility inventory and meter data; the other is the Net Zero Planner, which provides energy use life-cycle analysis and forecasting …

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