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Defense Communities 360 Headlines

GAO: Improve BRAC Homeless Assistance Process

  • March 18, 2015
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During the 2005 BRAC homeless assistance process, it took the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) an average of 666 days to approve the 51 redevelopment plans that included notices of interest for homeless assistance, adding to the delay in providing homeless assistance in base closure communities and slowing the base reuse process, according to a new Government Accountability Office (GAO) report. …

Fort Ord Panel OKs Economic Development Plan

  • March 18, 2015
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The Fort Ord Reuse Authority late last week approved a $250,000 economic development plan for the former Army base in Monterey County, California. As part of the plan, the authority will hire a development coordinator, donate to California State University Monterey Bay entrepreneur events, join an economic partnership and assign staff resources to the effort. …

EPA Decision Allows Early Transfer to Advance at McClellan AFB

  • March 18, 2015
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The Environmental Protection Agency last week issued a record of decision for 130 acres at the former McClellan Air Force Base outside of Sacramento, Calif., paving the way for the Air Force to hand over additional property to the site’s master developer that has not yet been remediated. McClellan Business Park LLC has been cleaning up contaminated sites at the 3,450-acre installation under a privatization process begun in 2007. Under the program, the Air Force transfers both property and the responsibility to clean up the sites to the developer, along with funding to complete the remediation …

Local Planning Required to Address Noise Impacts at MCAS Beaufort, Study Says

  • March 18, 2015
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To reduce land use conflicts with two installations near the southern tip of South Carolina — Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort and Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island — local jurisdictions should improve coordination with military officials and consider amending the overlay boundaries associated with the buffer zone for the air station to reflect the impacts of the F-35B fighter aircraft, according to draft reports of a joint land use study released this month. The study calls for the two installations to monitor the environmental impacts of their military activities and to engage in additional public outreach. The local jurisdictions should consider updating their comprehensive plans and regional growth policies to encourage compatibility between the installations and their neighbors …

Budget Resolution Compromise Troubles Defense Hawks

  • March 17, 2015
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The fiscal 2016 budget resolution unveiled Tuesday by the House Budget Committee charts a delicate compromise between the intense push by defense hawks to raise DOD’s budget above the statutory cap and the desire by fiscal conservatives to stick to the spending limits. The committee recommends exceeding the defense spending cap by $39 billion in FY 2016, but because it relies on the Pentagon’s war funding account and a special reserve fund for the extra money, many defense advocates in the House balked at the proposal, reported CQ. Senate Armed Services Chair John McCain (R-Ariz.), who has campaigned fervently for increased defense spending, on Tuesday said he would consider the plan, even though earlier he had described the use of DOD’s overseas contingency operations account as a gimmick …

House Budget Plan Falls Short, DOD Comptroller Says

  • March 17, 2015
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The approach employed in the House’s draft budget resolution to raise fiscal 2016 DOD spending above the statutory cap may help the department in the short term, but it still would leave defense officials facing uncertainty about the size of their budget beyond next year, Pentagon Comptroller Mike McCord said Tuesday at an industry conference. “I appreciate the attempt to find some way to help us, but I think that we need a better solution than that one,” McCord said. The House’s plan, which relies on inflating the department’s overseas contingency operations (OCO) account to provide much-needed budget relief, could allow DOD to get through the next fiscal year, but it still would leave officials unsure whether “we are going to live with the law, get what we want or have all of our money shoved into OCO …

Community Braces for Potential Changes at Ft. Drum

  • March 17, 2015
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Officials in northern New York are alarmed over the prospect that Fort Drum potentially could lose a total of 16,000 soldiers and civilians as the Army deliberates over a second round of restructuring slated to shrink its active-duty end strength from 490,000 to 420,000. The post will experience a net loss of 1,500 personnel following an earlier round of restructuring when officials decided to eliminate one of its brigade combat teams. But now local officials are focusing on the worst-case scenario for the North Country region and placing heightened importance on the listening session scheduled for Friday, reported the Post-Standard. “I would tell you that this is very real, and there’s a real potential that we could take significant cuts here at Fort Drum,” said Col. Gary Rosenberg, Fort Drum’s garrison commander …

Local Officials Ponder Ways to Revive Development at Castle AFB

  • March 17, 2015
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Local leaders, lawmakers and planners gathered last week at Castle Commerce Center to exchange ideas for revitalizing redevelopment efforts at the former Castle Air Force Base in central California. The site now is home AT&T call centers, Big Creek Lumber, Hoffman Electronic Systems, Sierra Flight Academy and others businesses, but Merced County still is grappling with multiple challenges, including transportation, a lack of skilled workers and deficient water and wastewater infrastructure, reported the Merced Sun-Star. One priority for the county, which assumed full ownership of the 1,912-acre property in 2006, is obtaining funding to demolish 55 buildings …

BRAC Out, Thornberry says

  • March 16, 2015
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Mac Thornberry, chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, has no plans to include a base closure round in the fiscal 2016 defense authorization bill his panel is slated to mark up next month, he told reporters Monday. “I’m not sure we can afford another BRAC,” Thornberry said in echoing many of the same arguments Rob Wittman (R-Va.), chairman of the committee’s Readiness panel, employed at a March 3 hearing. “Remember, BRAC costs more in the early years than it saves,” Thornberry said, reported the Hill. “We have not yet broken even from the 2005 BRAC.” The chairman also argued that DOD’s estimate that at least 20 percent of its infrastructure is excess to its needs is out-of-date …

DOD May Need to Rely on War Account to Make up Budget Shortfall, Thornberry Says

  • March 16, 2015
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If the fiscal 2016 budget resolution fails to provide spending beyond the statutory cap for DOD, lawmakers may use the Pentagon’s overseas contingency operations (OCO) account, which is not subject to the cap, to provide the department more funding, Mac Thornberry (R-Texas), chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, told reporters Monday. There are “a number of options that are being looked at,” he said, reported the Hill. “We’re just going to have to take it step by step and see.” Thornberry told reporters he and other committee members have discussed the possibility of increasing defense spending with members of the House Budget Committee …

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