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Defense Communities 360 Headlines

FY’16 Budget May Propose Ending Requirement for Commissary Goods to Be Discounted

  • January 26, 2015
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The Pentagon is considering requesting Congress eliminate the requirement that commissary items be sold “at reduced cost,” as part of a package of fiscal 2016 budget proposals intended to reduce the cost of operating military grocery stores. The legislative change would be far-reaching and could end the commissary benefit for military families, reported the Navy Times. Commissaries now offer military families an average savings of about 30 percent over off-base groceries. Eliminating the requirement would help the Defense Commissary Agency meet a DOD mandate to identify $322 million in annual savings. Such a change, however, would result in DOD operating its commissaries closer to the way its exchanges are run …

Army Communities Pull out All the Stops ahead of Listening Sessions

  • January 26, 2015
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The Colorado Springs Regional Business Alliance is asking area residents to wear green when Army officials visit next week to hear public comments about Fort Carson before the service deliberates over a second round of restructuring intended to shave its end strength to 420,000. The post could lose a maximum of 16,000 soldiers over the two rounds. “The Army is sending out some pretty significant officials,” Andy Merritt, who oversees military affairs for the alliance, told the Colorado Springs Gazette. “We certainly want to be able to make sure those guys go back with a positive view of what is going on here …

Ohio Lawmakers, Installation Officials Discuss BRAC Scenarios

  • January 26, 2015
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Four Ohio lawmakers met with military officials on Friday to gather input for a plan to defend, and possibly enhance, the state’s installations in a future round of base closures. “What is our assessment of our vulnerabilities and opportunities as we look to the future and the possibility of decreased defense spending and another possible Base Realignment and Closure,” said Rep. Mike Turner. “How does it happen? What is the scope? How do we play the best hand to make sure that Ohio wins …

Air Force Refines Encroachment Program

  • January 25, 2015
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Recent moves by the Air Force are helping to bolster its encroachment management program, including issuing new guidance for a comprehensive initiative to limit incompatible development outsides its installations and establishing the Air Force Civil Engineer Center (AFCEC) as the program office for the service-wide effort. In October, officials assigned the center’s planning and integration directorate the task of providing reach-back support to installations, major commands and direct reporting units on all aspects of encroachment, AFCEC reported. “The overall purpose of the AFEM [Air Force encroachment management] program is to reach across the entire installation community to solve problems and preserve the Air Force mission capability,” said Charles Cyr, chief of the directorate’s regional development planning branch …

South Sound Stands up for JB Lewis-McChord

  • January 25, 2015
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More than 500 residents from many of the 15 communities that surround Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash., made the case for shielding the installation from further cuts during a listening session the Army held last week to gather public input before it decides how to shrink the service’s end strength by 70,000 soldiers by fiscal 2020. The installation located at the south end of Puget Sound already suffered the loss of about 5,000 soldiers during a previous round of Army downsizing. Now officials are considering eliminating up to 11,000 additional personnel during a second round of restructuring intended to cut the service’s end strength to 420,000. More than 60 people offered comments during the three-hour session. Washington Gov. Jay Inslee (D) highlighted the support the state provides military personnel and their families as well as veterans …

Ohio Air Station Sees Community Partnerships as Key to Sustainment

  • January 25, 2015
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In an attempt to leverage limited federal funding, officials at Youngstown Air Reserve Station in northeast Ohio are considering forming partnerships with a variety of local entities, including Kent State University at Trumbull, Mercy Health System and neighboring municipalities. “It’s about taxpayer dollars in this day of dwindling budgets, we have to make sure we’re the most economically capable, viable and integrated small base out there,” said Col. James Dignan, 910th Airlift Wing commander …

Further Cuts to Follow Loss of Brigade at Ft. Carson

  • January 25, 2015
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The inactivation of the 2nd Brigade Combat Team at Fort Carson earlier this month is slated to be followed by the loss of another unit later this year and potentially further cuts in the coming years after the Army figures out how to trim its end strength to 420,000. Many of the brigade combat team’s personnel will remain at the Colorado post, with 1,500 troops assigned to other units there and 2,700 soldiers relocated or separated, reported the Colorado Springs Independent. Later this year, an Apache helicopter unit is scheduled to move to Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash. Also looming is the second round of Army restructuring needed to eliminate up to 70,000 soldiers by fiscal 2020. Fort Carson could lose a maximum of 16,000 soldiers and civilian personnel over the two rounds …

Duke Energy to Build 13MW Solar Farm at Camp Lejeune

  • January 25, 2015
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Duke Energy, the nation’s largest electric power holding company, is working with the Navy to build a 13-megawatt solar facility at Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune in eastern North Carolina, the company’s first solar project at a military installation. The photovoltaic plant would cover 80 acres and connect to the electric grid at a Duke Energy Progress substation on the base. Power generated by the project will be available to the utility’s customers, with Camp Lejeune continuing to purchase energy from Duke. The solar farm, which will be owned and operated by Duke, is expected online in 2015 …

Carter to Defend FY’16 Budget before Congress

  • January 22, 2015
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Ashton Carter, who is almost certain to become the next Pentagon chief, will present the department’s fiscal 2016 budget request to Congress instead of Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, according to the House and Senate Armed Services committees. “It’s going to be Carter, so we’re going to delay it some,” Senate Armed Services Chairman John McCain (R-Ariz.) told reporters Thursday. He said Carter and Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, would present the budget request to his committee during the first week of March, one month after President Obama is scheduled to release the new spending proposal …

Hagel Offers Warning on Spending Caps

  • January 22, 2015
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During what he called one of his last official news conferences, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel told reporters Thursday that many of the gains achieved by the military will be lost if lawmakers fail to provide DOD relief from the statutory spending cap for fiscal 2016. “The progress we have made will quickly evaporate if sequestration returns in 2016,” Hagel said. “We need long-term budget predictability and we need the flexibility to prioritize and make the difficult decisions … more effectively …

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