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Defense Communities 360 Headlines

VA Reform Bill Retains Provision to Prompt States to Offer In-State Tuition to Veterans

  • July 31, 2014
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The compromise version of legislation addressing the Department of Veterans Affairs’ scheduling crisis includes a provision allowing veterans to use their Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits at public universities only if they are charged, at most, in-state tuition rates. The language does not force states to charge veterans in-state tuition at public universities, but in states that charge higher rates, the VA would not provide veterans any benefits for tuition and fees. Currently, the GI Bill covers tuition and fees at the in-state rate of public schools, but veterans may not always qualify for those rates due to the wide variance in state residency laws …

Authorization Bill on September To-Do List, Reid Says

  • July 31, 2014
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The Senate will only have “two weeks and two days” to work in September before it plans to adjourn until after the midterm election, but passing the fiscal 2015 defense authorization bill is on the chamber’s “have-to-do” list, Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said Thursday. To make headway on the annual defense bill and other legislative priorities, including stopgap and emergency spending bills, Reid warned members that the Senate would not be taking weekends off after it returns from its August recess on Sept. 8 …

Air Force to Consider Virginia Base for New Installation Support Center, Delegation Says

  • July 31, 2014
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Air Force officials have told members of Virginia’s congressional delegation that Joint Base Langley-Eustis would be considered as a candidate to host the Installation and Mission Support Center, the new organization the service is establishing to consolidate policy and oversight of installation and mission support activities. Officials previously have said the center would have about 350 employees, with many of the workers moving from other commands …

Utah Army Depot to Acquire Second Wind Turbine

  • July 30, 2014
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The Army has awarded a $5.5 million contract for the development, construction and installation of a 1.5-to-2-megawatt wind turbine at the Tooele Army Depot near Salt Lake City. The project is currently in the development stage and is scheduled to break ground sometime in late 2014 or early 2015. When completed, it is expected that the wind project will provide enough energy to power 400 to 500 homes. The Army Corps of Engineers Sacramento District awarded the contract to the team of Minnesota-based Juhl Energy, Vermont-based Aegis Renewable Energy and California-based Icenogle Construction Management. Juhl Energy will act in the capacity of the lead design and installation developer and subcontractor. A turbine supplier has not yet been selected, reported Wind Power Monthly. A 1.5-megawatt turbine was installed at Toole in 2011; a solar array became operational at the depot the next year.

ESPCs Offer Energy Savings, Multiple Secondary Benefits

  • July 30, 2014
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While the most obvious benefit of an energy savings performance contract (ESPC) may be the ability to fund energy-savings projects and other critical energy infrastructure upgrades with zero upfront costs, the acquisition tool provides ancillary benefits as well, including a reduction in trouble calls, lower preventive maintenance costs and an improved skill set for installation employees. Gene Curtiss, building operation control center manager at Fort Bliss, Texas, believes ESPC projects have allowed his staff to gain extensive knowledge about complex systems they may not have been able to gain otherwise …

Air Force BRAC Program Is ‘Audit Ready’

  • July 30, 2014
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The environmental liability of $1.3 billion recorded on the books of the Air Force’s BRAC program is “complete and accurate,” the Air Force Civil Engineer Center (AFCEC) said this week. The announcement comes after AFCEC verified that internal processes are in place and information systems are properly tracking information for more than 5,200 sites for which it is responsible to clean up. The BRAC program achieved “audit readiness” three years ahead of the defense secretary’s mandated deadline …

Signs of Progress in Federal Effort to Pare List of Excess Properties

  • July 30, 2014
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At a House hearing on Tuesday, Rep. John Mica (R-Fla.) said the federal government’s ownership of 7,000 unneeded properties worth $350 billion is “unacceptable.” “The Congress and public will be astounded to learn of the unbelievable inventory of properties uncovered in documents provided to the committee after waiting nearly three years,” said Mica, chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform’s Government Operations Subcommittee. Nearly 1,500 of the unneeded properties are valued in the multi-million-dollar range …

Mikulski Attempt to Move Milcon Spending Bill Rebuffed

  • July 30, 2014
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An effort by Senate Appropriations Chair Barbara Mikulski to move the fiscal 2015 military construction-veterans affairs spending bill to the floor without allowing for amendments was rejected, but the Maryland Democrat says she hasn’t yet given up. Senate Republicans wanted the measure considered with amendments and to set aside the supplemental spending bill needed to address the child migration crisis, demands Mikulski could not agree to …

Lexington Joins Challenge to End Veteran Homelessness

  • July 29, 2014
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Lexington, Ky., Mayor Jim Gray last week pledged to end veteran homelessness in his city in response to a recent White House initiative. “Everyone deserves a safe, clean place they can call home, especially men and women who have served our country,” Gray said. “Accepting this challenge is the right thing to do, and Lexington’s strong network of partners who serve veterans and other citizens who are homeless will be an important part of this commitment …

Army Adds to List of Solar Firms Participating in Massive Energy Contract

  • July 29, 2014
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Eleven new small businesses will be added to the pool of qualified contractors eligible to compete for solar projects under the Army’s $7 billion, multiple-award, task order contract (MATOC), officials said last week. The announcement represents the final round of solar technology contracts under the procurement and brings the total number of participating solar firms to 49. The MATOC also includes 15 firms competing for biomass technologies, 6 for geothermal technologies and 20 for wind technologies …

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