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Defense Communities 360 Headlines

Veteran Homelessness Drops Significantly since 2010

  • September 7, 2014
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The number of homeless veterans has fallen by one-third over the past four years, according to data released by the federal government last month. The annual point-in-time count conducted in January showed there were 49,933 homeless veterans in America, down from nearly 75,000 in 2010. There was nearly a 40 percent drop in the number of veterans sleeping on the street …

New Board for South Weymouth Project Faces Heavy Workload

  • September 7, 2014
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The new board created by legislation intended to overhaul the redevelopment of the former Naval Air Station South Weymouth will have a full plate when it holds its first meeting in two weeks. The major challenges facing the newly formed SouthField Redevelopment Authority — which is replacing the long-standing LRA, the South Shore Tri-Town Development Corp. and its five-member board — include implementing a new budget, setting a tax rate and overcoming a steep learning curve on a project that has fallen behind schedule and failed to attract interest from commercial developers …

Tests Reveal Toxic Vapor in Homes outside Ft. Gillem

  • September 7, 2014
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Tests conducted this summer by the Army found toxic vapor in more than two dozen homes near the former Fort Gillem located outside of Atlanta, most likely caused by groundwater contaminants that seeped off the base. The Army and residents previously had been aware of underground plumes of volatile organic compounds that migrated from landfills and dump sites off the post, but the presence of airborne contaminants at levels high enough to pose a danger to humans is a troubling discovery, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported Thursday …

Congress Focuses on CR

  • September 7, 2014
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Passing a continuing resolution (CR) to keep the federal government running in the new fiscal year is one of Congress’ highest priorities before it breaks for the November elections, with House lawmakers planning to begin work on the measure this week. At this point, the fiscal 2015 stopgap is expected to last through Dec. 11 or 12, allowing lawmakers to tackle a year-end spending measure during a lame-duck session. After last year’s government shutdown, congressional leaders will resist adding provisions that could disrupt the bill’s progress, but lawmakers still will try to boost pet programs or address policy issues in the measure …

Army to Elevate Stature of Energy Task Force

  • September 7, 2014
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Next month the Army Energy Initiatives Task Force (EITF) will become an enduring organization within the office of the assistant secretary for installations, energy and environment, a recognition of the critical role the group has assumed since it was established in September 2011. “We’re hitting our stride,” said Amanda Simpson, executive director of the EITF. “We’ve shown over the past three years, through the history of the EITF, that this is not just a viable undertaking, it’s important to the resilience and sustainability of the Army …

Local Officials Support Encroachment Study for NAS Meridian

  • September 4, 2014
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The Lauderdale County Board of Supervisors this week approved a resolution favoring the county’s participation in a joint land use study to ensure growth surrounding Naval Air Station Meridian remains compatible with the pilot training mission at the base in east central Mississippi. The installation’s primary concerns are noise from jets taking off and landing and the safety of residences located close to its runways, according to Jim Copeland, the installation’s community plans and liaison officer …

State Awards $4M to Hampton Roads Communities to Fight Encroachment

  • September 4, 2014
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Three cities in southeastern Virginia will share $4.1 million in state funds to prevent development from interfering with operations at Naval Air Station Oceana, Joint Base Langley-Eustis and Navy Auxiliary Landing Field Fentress. The grants were made through the state’s federal action contingency trust (FACT) fund, which was established by the General Assembly to counter federal actions that adversely affect the state. Earlier this year, Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D) refined the program’s criteria to include communities that have been harmed by encroachment at military installations …

Pennsylvania Governor Fights Army Plan to Eliminate National Guard Unit

  • September 4, 2014
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Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett (R) has made it clear he will oppose a contingency plan by the Army to shut down a unit of the National Guard. The plan to eliminate the 55th Armored Brigade Combat Team is not in the current budget; it would not go into effect unless the Army is forced to adhere to the Budget Control Act spending caps in fiscal 2016, reported the Times-Leader. But it’s still a concern, Maj. Gen. Wesley Craig, the state’s adjutant general, told the paper. In a letter to Army Secretary John McHugh, Corbett said he opposes the unit’s elimination and urged officials to cancel the “ill-advised reduction.” With that letter, the closure threat should have subsided, Craig said. “The governor knows elimination of any unit has to have his consent. That’s the law. U.S. Code Titles 10 and 32 spell that out,” he said.

House Looks to Move Clean CR

  • September 4, 2014
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The short-term continuing resolution (CR) the House takes up next week to keep the government running after Sept. 30 will largely be free of pet provisions requested by lawmakers. As the only legislation Congress is likely to advance before the November elections, the stopgap will attract numerous requests from members to include favored projects or other policy riders, but only a handful of special provisions are likely to be included, reports CQ. House Republicans likely will include several “anomalies” in the CR, including a short-term extension of the Export-Import Bank and, possibly, extra funds to fight wildfires and to handle border security …

Pentagon Spending Plans Far Exceed Budget Caps, Analyst Says

  • September 4, 2014
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When defense officials rolled out the department’s five-year spending plan in March, they acknowledged it exceeded the 2011 Budget Control Act limits by $116 billion and would require congressional action to relax the caps. The actual cost of funding the Pentagon’s fiscal 2015-2019 budget may require $200 billion to $300 billion in additional spending, however, due to a number of assumptions that are unlikely to be realized, according to a new report from the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments. One shortcoming of the five-year plan is its failure to fund the force structure called for in the 2014 Quadrennial Defense Review and 2012 Defense Strategic Guidance …

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