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Defense Communities 360 Headlines

Wittman Argues against Administration’s BRAC Request

  • February 20, 2015
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At last week’s hearing of the House Armed Services Committee with defense experts on where savings could be found in the defense budget, Rep. Rob Wittman (R-Va.), chairman of the committee’s readiness panel, focused on the witnesses’ support for a new round of base closures as one avenue for cutting costs. At the outset of the hearing, Bensahel listed a new BRAC round as one of three priorities for reforming DOD spending. “The Army and the Air Force have each estimated that they have around 20 percent excess capacity. It is unconscionable to require these services to continue spending money on facilities that they do not need while the budget caps require them to cut end strength, training, and readiness, which puts American troops at risk …

Ft. Benning Supporters Focus on Local Partnerships at Listening Session

  • February 19, 2015
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More than 500 people showed up to support Fort Benning during its Army listening session Wednesday, with local leaders and lawmakers emphasizing the close relationship and varied partnerships between Columbus, Ga., and the post. Columbus Mayor Teresa Tomlinson highlighted the scenic gateway project on Victory Drive greeting soldiers and visitors to Benning. Tomlinson also cited a joint recycling effort, improvements at the local water treatment plant and a veterans court, reported the Ledger-Enquirer. “You are our neighbor,” she said. “Fort Benning is our community partner and you are our family …

DOD Has Not Drafted Alternate FY’16 Budget to Meet Spending Cap

  • February 19, 2015
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Pentagon officials do not have a backup spending plan for fiscal 2016 in the event that lawmakers fail to lift the $499 billion spending cap for the department’s base budget, Comptroller Mike McCord said this week. “The answer right now is no, we do not have an alternate plan,” McCord said. Budget officials had developed alternate budgets in past years to prepare for the possibility of sequestration, he said, but the department believed preparing multiple budgets was not worth the effort …

DOE Initiative Preparing Service Members for Solar Industry Jobs prior to Separation

  • February 19, 2015
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Transitioning service members at three military installations are receiving training for jobs in the solar industry through a pilot program run by the Department of Energy (DOE). This pilot is enabled by DOD’s SkillBridge initiative, which allows exiting military personnel to pursue civilian job training, employment skills training, apprenticeships and internships up to six months prior to their separation date. Service members who graduate from the solar training program will gain the skills to size and install solar panels, safely connect electricity to the grid, and interpret and comply with local building codes …

Kirtland’s Air Force Lab Generates Half-Billion Dollar Economic Impact

  • February 19, 2015
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The Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) at Kirtland Air Force Base in Albuquerque contributed $536 million to the New Mexico economy in fiscal 2013, according to a study by the University of New Mexico. AFRL, which manages the directed energy and space vehicle directorates at Kirtland, was responsible for 861 Air Force positions and 1,033 contractor jobs. AFRL spent $315 million in New Mexico in FY 2013 on salaries and benefits, and the purchase of services, construction and other goods. That spending, in turn, generated an additional $221 million in local economic activity, reported the Albuquerque Journal. “We have the momentum and we have to build on it,” said Sen. Tom Udall (D-N.M.), who sits on the Appropriations subcommittees for defense and military construction.

Deal to Ease Budget Pressure on Pentagon Is Likely, Hale Says

  • February 18, 2015
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Congress likely will strike a moderate deal relaxing the $499 billion cap on the Defense Department’s fiscal 2016 base budget, according to former DOD Comptroller Robert Hale. “What I hope happens is that we get another mini-deal,” Hale, an adviser to Booz Allen Hamilton, told Federal News Radio. Hale pointed to a recent speech by Rep. Rob Wittman (R-Va.), chairman of the House Armed Services’ Readiness Subcommittee, as a positive sign for the prospects of a new budget deal. “I do think there is a good chance that through the budgeting process that sequestration will be set aside,” said Wittman …

Officials Celebrate Lease Signing for UAS Park at Grand Forks AFB

  • February 18, 2015
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The Air Force, Grand Forks County and Grand Sky Development Co. on Wednesday celebrated the execution of the enhanced use lease — and the beginning of development — for the Grand Sky unmanned aerial systems (UAS) business and aviation park at Grand Forks AFB, N.D. Grand Sky is expected to take advantage of the burgeoning unmanned systems industry, catering to organizations interested in taking advantage of the open airspace in the northern Plains for UAS research, testing, training and operations. In addition to growth in the use of UAS by federal agencies, commercial applications are projected to jump dramatically as the FAA opens up the national airspace to unmanned aircraft …

ADC Calls Special Membership Meeting to Vote on Bylaws Changes

  • February 18, 2015
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ADC will hold a special meeting next month at Installation Innovation Forum 2015 for its members to vote on two changes to its bylaws affecting the size and makeup of its board of directors. The first amendment would increase the size of the board from 12 to 13 members following the Defense Communities 2015 National Summit in June, and, starting next year, increase the number of directors to 14. The second amendment would alter existing guidelines calling for the board to maintain an equal balance among members from base redevelopment communities (LRAs), active defense communities and the private sector …

New Security Rules Frustrate Some Taxis Serving Ft. Drum

  • February 18, 2015
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New rules governing access to Fort Drum, N.Y., have generated complaints from some taxi companies, but praise from others. The post’s entry policy now requires cabs to participate in the RapidGate tagging system, which requires businesses to pay $199 to sign up, and an additional $179 annually for each employee requiring access to the installation, reports the Watertown Daily Times. Merritt Makuch, office manager and dispatcher at Big Man’s Cab in Watertown said the added expense — $1,000 per year to cover three taxis and multiple drivers — isn’t worth it even though the company averaged five trips a day to Fort Drum …

New Rules to Streamline Procedures for Support Organizations to Gain Access to Installations

  • February 18, 2015
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The Army plans to issue new rules shortly to streamline the process for nonprofits providing support to military personnel and their families to gain access to its installations. The executive order the Army plans to release stems from two memos recently issued by the defense secretary directing senior military leaders and installation commanders to implement uniform procedures to ease access for military support organizations and veterans service organizations. The new rules will expedite much of the paperwork that accompanies a written request from military support organizations for access to an installation, said Carla Coulson, director of Army Installation Services …

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