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Defense Communities 360 Headlines

Walter Reed Reuse Plan Advances past HUD Review

  • February 3, 2014
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The District of Columbia’s redevelopment plan for the former Walter Reed Army Medical Center complies with the homeless assistance requirements called for under the BRAC reuse process, the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) determined last month, clearing the way for the city to negotiate the property’s transfer from the Army. “We are now one step closer to executing the vision for this site that has been formulated by the community over many years,” Mayor Vincent Gray said in a written statement. The city is negotiating an economic development conveyance with the Army and aims to gain control of the 67-acre tract in northwest Washington by the second quarter of 2015 …

Appropriators Looking for Early Start on FY’15 Spending Measures

  • February 3, 2014
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With last December’s budget agreement locking in a topline for fiscal 2015 spending, top appropriators in the House and Senate are eager to start work on spending bills as soon as possible. Both Senate Appropriations Chairwoman Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.) and her House counterpart Harold Rogers (R-Ky.) are aiming to move all 12 spending measures individually by Oct. 1, reported CQ. November’s midterm elections, however, could thwart progress toward completing all of the bills under regular order …

Commission Calls for Air Force to Consider ‘Warm Basing’ Installations

  • February 3, 2014
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The Air Force should consider, with congressional authorization, closing or “warm basing” some installations, so that scarce budget dollars can be more efficiently allocated to readiness accounts, according to a congressionally created commission that focused on balancing the service’s force structure between its active and reserve components. “Warm basing may, in some cases, be a better, more cost-effective option than closing bases as it can save in conversion costs while also leaving infrastructure available for future contingencies,” according to the final report of the National Commission on the Structure of the Air Force …

Geothermal Unit Shaving Energy Bill at Grissom ARB

  • February 2, 2014
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It’s no secret that the military is going green, and Grissom Air Reserve Base in north-central Indiana is no exception, as the installation has pursued a variety of projects to conserve energy and reduce its reliance on fossil fuels. One of the most innovative projects at Grissom has been the construction of a geothermal heating and cooling system for a 14,900-square-foot building. Engineers drilled 28 wells 300 feet into the ground, allowing them to construct a closed-loop, geo-exchange system that heats and cools the building at a fraction of the cost of the previous HVAC system …

Pentagon Narrows List of Eastern Missile Defense Sites

  • February 2, 2014
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Four locations in the eastern half of the United States, including Fort Drum, N.Y., will be the subject of two-year-long environmental impact statements to determine a potential site to host ground-based interceptors to protect the East Coast, the Defense Department announced Friday. The department’s effort to identify an East Coast missile defense site follows Congress’ direction to study at least three potential missile defense sites, including at least two on the East Coast …

President’s Minimum Wage Order Likely Limited in Scope

  • February 2, 2014
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Last week’s announcement by President Obama that he will sign an executive order raising the minimum wage for federal contractors to $10.10 an hour likely will affect a relatively small number of workers. The act increasing the federal minimum wage from $7.25 is only expected to cover about 200,000 federal contract workers overall, since most already make more than $10.10 …

President Nominates Walmart Official for Air Force Installations Post

  • February 2, 2014
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President Obama last week nominated Miranda Ballentine, a top sustainability and renewable energy official for Wal-Mart Stores, to become assistant secretary of the Air Force for installations, environment and logistics, continuing the administration’s preference to select individuals with a background in energy to lead each service’s installations office. Kathleen Ferguson has been the acting assistant secretary since last March when Terry Yonkers stepped down. Ballentine has been the director of sustainability, renewable energy, sustainable facilities and stakeholder engagement for Wal-Mart Stores since 2008. Previously, she was vice president of investor analysis, chief operating officer and senior consultant for David Gardiner and Associates, according to a White House press release. In 2004, she served as the director of operations, assistant treasurer, and a board member for Environment2004. Ballentine was the operations director for the Solar Electric Light Fund from 2001 to 2004.

One Cost-Cutting Measure Could Jeopardize Health of Housing Privatization Projects

  • February 2, 2014
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The Defense Department has discussed a number of reforms needed to rein in costs and sustain a robust force structure, with changes to compensation and benefit costs one of its highest priorities. One adjustment officials have broached, however, reducing or freezing the basic allowance for housing (BAH), could “seriously impair” the military’s housing privatization program, according to a commentary in Multi-Housing News. Because initial investment decisions in individual projects were predicated on modest increases in the monthly allowance given to service members for housing costs, an across-the-board rate increase or a tiered reduction based on rank will have an immediate impact on owners and managers of privatized housing projects, writes Paula Cino, senior director of energy and environmental policy for the National Multifamily Housing Council …

Robyn to Write about Obstacles to Achieving Agencies’ Infrastructure, Energy Goals

  • January 31, 2014
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Dorothy Robyn, who previously held the Pentagon’s top installations slot, this week said she would step down in March as commissioner of the General Services Administration’s (GSA) Public Buildings Service. In an interview with the Washington Post, Robyn said she next will write about shortcomings in the government preventing effective management of federal infrastructure and improvements in energy conservation. “I’ve been a part of some tremendous work both here at GSA and at DOD and I want to go write about that and also write about the impediments to GSA and DOD doing it better,” she told the paper. “It’s been a joy to be part of the work, but I’ve been frustrated by the impediments,” Robyn added. She left DOD in September 2012 after being selected for the GSA post.

Industry Officials Share Keys to Recruiting Veterans with House Panel

  • January 30, 2014
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Private sector officials shared lessons learned from their successes recruiting veterans during a hearing this week by the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee. Maureen Casey, managing director of military and veterans affairs for JPMorgan Chase, updated lawmakers on lessons the financial services giant learned during the launch of its military hiring program. To reach its target, JPMorgan reevaluated its hiring practices and established a new recruiting team with the ability to translate military skills into civilian ones …

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