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Defense Communities 360 Headlines

Laughlin AFB, Local Agencies Sign Partnership Agreements

  • June 2, 2015
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The city of Del Rio, Val Verde County and Laughlin Air Force Base last month signed agreements allowing service members to use the county sheriff’s firing range and one establishing an aircraft maintenance certification program at a local junior college. Both would enhance the mission at the Texas base located less than 10 miles from the Mexican border. “This is unprecedented, we’ve never done this before,” said Col. Brian Hastings, 47th Flying Training Wing commander …

Youngstown Chamber Launches Commission to Protect Air Reserve Station

  • June 2, 2015
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The Youngstown/Warren Regional Chamber this week launched the Eastern Ohio Military Affairs Commission to promote Youngstown Air Reserve Station in northeastern Ohio ahead of a looming BRAC round. The commission will aim to enhance the military value and national defense excellence at the installation and other military facilities throughout eastern Ohio, reported Vindy.com. A local campaign successfully shielded the air station from the last round of base closures, but the installation’s mission and economic impact has declined over the past decade as four aircraft and the crews that maintain them were transferred elsewhere. “Along with many peers, we continue to see local operations shrink,” said John Rossi, president of the chamber foundation. “Instead of merely witnessing reductions, we choose to embrace the military decision-making process and demonstrate the value of our base and importance of our mission,” Rossi said. The air station generates about $180 million of activity annually for the Mahoning Valley’s economy. Two years ago, however, it produced more than $200 million annually for the region.

OMB Chief Rips GOP’s Resort to ‘Budget Gimmicks’

  • June 2, 2015
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Office of Management and Budget Director Shaun Donovan on Monday reiterated the administration’s concerns about the Republicans’ strategy for bypassing the statutory spending caps by stashing extra funds in the Defense Department’s war account, in a letter to the chairman of the House Appropriations Committee. The letter was timed to coincide with Tuesday’s markup of the committee’s fiscal 2016 defense spending bill. Donovan said the administration has “serious concerns about this legislation, which would underfund these important investments in the base budget and instead rely on budget gimmicks that have been criticized by members of both parties. The legislation also includes highly problematic riders and provisions that would preclude needed reforms …

Groups Pose Alternative Missions for Davis-Monthan AFB to Address A-10 Retirement

  • June 1, 2015
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While the A-10 jet appears to have dodged retirement once again, the Air Force’s plan to retire the fleet of ground-attack jets in favor of other aircraft that can fulfill its close air support mission and save $4 billion likely isn’t going away. The looming retirement of the A-10 poses an uncomfortable question for Davis-Monthan Air Force Base in Tucson as the aircraft represents the installation’s primary flying mission and the Air Force is looking to shed excess capacity. In the first of a multi-part series, the Arizona Daily Star considers five future missions for the installation suggested by the various entities advocating for the installation, including the DM50, the Southern Arizona Defense Alliance, Pima County and the city of Tucson …

Community, Seymour-Johnson AFB in Talks over Lease for Sports Facility

  • June 1, 2015
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Officials from the city of Goldsboro and the Air Force are negotiating a lease for a 62-acre parcel at Seymour-Johnson Air Force Base in eastern North Carolina to develop a multi-sports facility. The project — a collaborative effort between the installation, the Air Force Community Partnership Program and the Air Force Civil Engineer Center (AFCEC) — optimizes property value and is compatible with the base’s mission, according to Robert Moriarty, director of AFCEC’s Installations Directorate. “This project is an example of how collaboration and a business-minded approach yield opportunity,” Moriarty said. The city would lease the property through an enhanced use lease. The final lease documents will be signed once lease term negotiations and environmental requirements are complete, reported AFCEC Public Affairs.

Wisconsin Leaders Underscore Need to Diversify State’s Economy

  • June 1, 2015
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To cope with the uncertain trajectory of defense spending, the state of Wisconsin needs to consider ways to diversify its economy, according to a commentary in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. The city of Oshkosh already is attempting to reduce its reliance on defense contracts following the loss of thousands of jobs at Oshkosh Defense as DOD has slashed its procurement of tactical military vehicles. One avenue local planners are pursuing with the support of $1.8 million in grants from DOD’s Office of Economic Adjustment (OEA) is helping the suppliers of Oshkosh Defense enter other industries. The city of Marinette similarly should prepare for the possibility that work building the Navy’s littoral combat ship at Marinette Marine Corp. declines …

Opening of Interstate to Spur Activity at Chaffee Crossing

  • June 1, 2015
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The executive director of the Fort Chaffee Redevelopment Authority is eagerly awaiting the opening of a 6.5-mile stretch of Interstate 49 through the base reuse project now called Chaffee Crossing. “That news is out there and people know it’s going to happen,” Ivy Owen told the Times Record. “The people who have been waiting and holding back to make offers are now coming out of the woodwork to make offers on smaller, specialized pieces of property like medical clinics and physician’s offices, that sort of thing,” he said. The highway opening, scheduled for July, should generate new property sales and trigger development at parcels already sold at the site located just over the Arkansas border from Oklahoma …

Size of Army to Remain Unsettled for Several Years, Odierno Says

  • May 31, 2015
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Gen. Ray Odierno had hoped the Obama administration and Congress could have settled on a final end strength for the Army by the time he steps down as the Army’s chief of staff this fall, but the issue likely will remain undecided for several more years, he told reporters last week. “I thought by now we would have had that resolved,” said Odierno. “That was a major thing I wish I could’ve had done so the new chief could focus on continuing to move the Army forward, but he’s still going to have to deal with this issue for at least two or three more years,” he said, reported Army Times. The Army already is slated to shrink its active-duty end strength to 490,000 soldiers by Sept. 30, with further reductions cutting the force to 450,000 over the next few years …

Milcon Panel Praises DOD’s Energy Initiatives

  • May 31, 2015
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The Senate Military Construction and Veterans Affairs Appropriations Subcommittee commends the Defense Department for its efforts to invest in renewable energy projects and energy security, improve the energy efficiency of its facilities and reduce its energy consumption, according to the committee report accompanying the fiscal 2016 milcon spending bill. Those efforts, along with the department’s programs to enhance water conservation and to improve the security of installation energy sources, are critical components of DOD’s strategy to meet federal goals for reliance on renewable energy and resource conservation …

Weapons Station Neighbors await Master Developer Decision

  • May 31, 2015
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Concord residents played a significant role in crafting a reuse plan for the former Concord Naval Weapons Station and with the city close to selecting a master developer for the East Bay site in northern California, homeowners group are confident the most important elements of the plan will be realized over the coming decades. The plan allows for building up to 12,272 housing units and 6.1 million square feet of commercial space on about 2,300 acres, with about 70 percent of the weapons station preserved as parkland or open space. The plan also calls for a greenway buffer separating the new homes from existing neighborhoods, a key priority of homeowners groups. Clustering high-density housing near the North Concord/Martinez BART transit station will help ensure the project meets its open space goals …

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