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Defense Communities 360 Headlines

Army Housing Partners Intent on Minimizing Impact of Benefits Cut

  • February 16, 2015
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Family housing developers at Army installations are trying to absorb the one percent reduction in basic allowance for housing imposed starting this fiscal year so that military families won’t need to make up the difference out-of-pocket. Slowing the growth in the BAH so it covers only 99 percent of rental costs was one of the few cost-saving reforms Congress included in the fiscal 2015 defense authorization bill. To absorb the extra cost, developers are looking for ways to operate more efficiently, said Ivan Bolden, chief of the privatization and partnerships division of the Army’s office of the assistant chief of staff for installation management …

Army Cuts Would Be Widespread under Sequestration, Odierno Says

  • February 16, 2015
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Few installations will be spared from further reductions in personnel if Congress and the White House fail to strike a deal to lift the Budget Control Act spending caps, Gen. Ray Odierno, Army chief of staff, told reporters last week from the Navy port at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam. “If [sequestration] continues, we’re going to have to reduce the size of the Army further,” he said, reported Stars and Stripes. “It would be across the entire Army, and just about every installation in every state would be affected.” The second round of restructuring the Army is now contemplating will shrink the service by at least 40,000 soldiers to an end strength of 450,000 by fiscal 2020. Officials are considering cuts that will slash the force by 70,000 soldiers, however; that larger reduction is expected if the statutory spending caps remain in place much longer …

Reporting to Duty, Carter Will Face Numerous Priorities

  • February 16, 2015
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Ashton Carter, who is scheduled to be sworn in as the next defense secretary Tuesday morning, will have an array of foreign crises to deal with, calling into question his ability to reach a breakthrough with Congress to loosen the statutory cap on defense spending. “One thing we know for sure about Ash Carter’s tenure as defense secretary is that it will be fleeting,” said Loren Thompson of the Lexington Institute. “Whatever plans he may have for spurring innovation or reforming processes, the reality is that his schedule will probably be captured by bigger issues such as [the Islamic State] and Ukraine …

North Carolina Governor to Create Military Affairs Department

  • February 16, 2015
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North Carolina will create a department of military and veterans affairs to improve services for active-duty personnel and veterans, as well as to promote the state’s military bases, Gov. Pat McCrory (R) said during his State of the State address earlier this month. “At a time when so many servicemen and women are coming home from Afghanistan and Iraq through North Carolina, as I mentioned before, we must have an efficient and well-coordinated process in place to meet the needs of active-duty personnel and veterans,” McCrory said Feb. 4. “These services are right now scattered across many areas of state government with no accountability, causing delay, frustration, and sometimes poor customer service …

Infrastructure Upgrades to Save Letterkenny $4M Annually

  • February 16, 2015
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Letterkenny Army Depot, Pa., is expected to cut its energy use more than 25 percent, reduce water consumption nearly 50 percent, and generate about $4.1 million in annual energy and operational savings as the result of a $43.6 million infrastructure modernization project. The upgrades are part of a 20-year energy savings performance contract with Honeywell to make extensive improvements at Letterkenny without an upfront capital investment by the Army. The work is backed by a financial firm and Honeywell guarantees the upgrades can generate the projected savings necessary to repay the loan …

Pentagon Gets Carter after Senate Confirmation

  • February 13, 2015
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Ashton Carter is expected to assume the official duties of the defense secretary and take the oath of office in the next several days, the Pentagon reported following the Senate’s 93-5 confirmation vote Thursday. Carter, 60, will become the 25th Pentagon chief after earlier stints in the Obama administration as deputy secretary and acquisition chief. The pain-free confirmation process enjoyed by Carter was a tribute to his popularity on both sides of the aisle. Prior to the vote, John McCain, chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, praised the candidate on the Senate floor. “He is one of America’s most experienced defense professionals, respected by Republicans and Democrats alike …

The Insanity Defense (Department) Will Remain Hard Pressed to Win Congress’ Approval for BRAC

  • February 12, 2015
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The Pentagon shouldn’t be surprised that Congress rejected its requests the past three years to realign and close additional bases and likely will ignore its request again this year. Until defense officials revise the BRAC law to address lawmakers’ concerns about the 2005 round’s ballooning implementation cost and less-than-promised annual savings, there is no reason to believe Congress will suddenly embrace a new round of base closures, Lucian Niemeyer, a former staff member of the Senate Armed Service Committee, says in a commentary published in Real Clear Defense. “Each year, Congress has asked the Pentagon to suggest improvements to the BRAC law and, each year, there have been none. It would be insane for Congress to say ‘yes’ to the same process and expect a different result …

Concord Residents Learn about Competing Proposals for Naval Weapons Station

  • February 12, 2015
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The three firms competing to become the master developer for the former Concord Naval Weapons Station in northern California this week presented their visions for converting the base to a new community with housing, shopping, offices and parks. Concord Mayor Tim Grayson stressed the need to integrate the new development with existing neighborhoods, reported the San Jose Mercury News. The Concord Reuse Project Area Plan, which the city adopted in 2012, calls for building up to 12,272 housing units and 6.1 million square feet of commercial space on about 2,300 acres near the North Concord/Martinez BART station, with about 70 percent of the site preserved as parkland or open space …

Army Holds Ribbon-Cutting for Solar Array at Ft. Huachuca

  • February 12, 2015
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Officials from the Army and Tucson Electric Power on Wednesday dedicated a 17.2-megawatt solar array at Fort Huachuca that ranks as one of DOD’s largest and is expected to supply one-quarter of the southeastern Arizona post’s electricity requirements. The 68-acre project — a joint effort among the Army Office of Energy Initiatives, Fort Huachuca, General Services Administration, Tucson Electric Power and developer E.ON Climate and Renewables — was developed through a GSA area-wide public utility contract. Under the agreement, TEP funded the project and will own and operate it; E.ON managed design and construction …

Environmental Issues May Delay Ft. McPherson Sale

  • February 12, 2015
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The sale of 330 acres at the former Fort McPherson to filmmaker Tyler Perry for a movie studio is likely to be delayed due to minor environmental issues covering about 36 acres at the property located on the southwest edge of Atlanta. Until the issues raised by the Army regarding four parcels on the 488-acre site have been resolved, the closing — which had been set tentatively for the end of February — will need to be postponed, reported the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. At a community briefing on Wednesday, Brian Hooker, executive director of the McPherson Implementing Local Redevelopment Authority, assured residents the issues are minor, primarily involving documentation, and do not signal that additional cleanup will be required …

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