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Defense Communities 360 Headlines

Graham Pushes for Solution to Sequestration

  • March 11, 2015
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A small group of senators, led by Lindsey Graham, is hard at work looking for a way out of the mandatory caps on defense and non-defense spending. “What we need to do is buy back sequestration. What we’re trying to do is put together a mini Simpson-Bowles deal,” Graham said in reference to the deficit reduction package offered by former Sen. Alan Simpson and former White House chief of staff Erskine Bowles. As with that plan, Graham said he would be willing to consider a combination of tax hikes and entitlement cuts, reported the Hill. The prospective candidate to run for president in 2016 said he would offer to close tax loopholes in exchange for reforms to entitlement programs …

Defense Community Awards Season Opens

  • March 10, 2015
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ADC has opened the nominations process for the 2015 Defense Community Awards program. The awards highlight the accomplishments of defense communities and their installations in front of key decision makers from Congress and DOD. ADC will present this year’s awards at the third annual Defense Communities Congressional Breakfast that will take place on Capitol Hill during the Defense Communities National Summit, June 22-24. Awards honor a community, installation, public official or military leader demonstrating leadership, innovation and excellence. Specific categories include: Congressional Leadership, Military Leadership, Community or State Leadership, Base Redevelopment Project of the Year, Defense Community or State of the Year, and DOD Installation of the Year …

Army Demands $23.1M from Virginia for Ft. Monroe Parcels

  • March 10, 2015
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The Army is asking the Fort Monroe Authority to pay $23.1 million for a portion of the post that did not automatically revert to the commonwealth of Virginia after it closed. Since negotiations began, the Army has insisted the state pay for parts of the installation, located on the Virginia shore of the Chesapeake Bay, built up after the two signed the reversion clause in the 1830s, including the marina and land Army engineers constructed along Mill Creek. The state would compensate the Army by funding infrastructure projects close to Army facilities designed to improve both the installation and the surrounding community, according to a “deal points” document released by the Fort Monroe Authority …

Labor’s VETS Director to Step Down

  • March 10, 2015
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Keith Kelly, who has served as the Labor Department’s top official for veterans employment for the past two years, announced last week that he would leave his post at the end of May. Kelly has served as assistant secretary of the Veterans’ Employment and Training Service (VETS) since January 2013. Previously he had been commissioner of the Montana Department of Labor and Industry. “When I leave VETS, I will be 69½, and that is enough,” he said in a statement. “I am leaving a good organization with every confidence it will keep moving forward. I am going back home to Montana to see how a saddle feels again …

Air Force Rejects Commission’s Call to Eliminate Reserve Command

  • March 10, 2015
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The Air Force has no plans to carry out the recommendation made last year by a congressionally established panel to disestablish Air Force Reserve Command (AFRC). That proposal was the only one of the National Commission on the Structure of the Air Force’s 42 recommendations that the Air Force disagreed with, officials said last week. “Elimination of the AFRC would not result in substantial savings, as nine different major commands would have to assume the roles and responsibilities currently accomplished by the Headquarters AFRC. Additionally, the current structure allows the chief of the Air Force Reserve to manage authorized and appropriated Reserve resources as required by key statutory obligations,” according to a written statement from Air Force Public Affairs …

McCain Pledges to Shield A-10s from Air Force’s Retirement Plans

  • March 9, 2015
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Sen. John McCain on Friday vowed to reverse the Air Force’s recent decision to place nine A-10 close air support aircraft based at Davis-Monthan AFB in Tucson into backup status. Officials last year proposed retiring the entire fleet of nearly 300 A-10s to save about $4 billion. Lawmakers rejected that plan in the fiscal 2015 defense authorization bill but included language permitting the Air Force to place up to 36 A-10s this fiscal year into backup status, reported the Arizona Daily Star. “That was a compromise that was made last year in response to the Air Force’s misguided attempt to retire all the A-10s …

Vermont High Court Rules in Favor of Basing Plan for F-35s

  • March 9, 2015
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Opponents of the Air Force’s plan to base 18 F-35A fighter jets at Burlington Air Guard Station lost their appeal to the Vermont Supreme Court last week after the court ruled that the city of Burlington, Vt., did not need to obtain a state land use and development permit to account for the additional noise impacts and new facilities associated with the fifth-generation aircraft. Opponents of the Air Force’s plan believe the new aircraft will be significantly louder than the F-16 it will replace and poses a greater safety risk to the surrounding community. Last May, the state environmental court said the upgrades needed to accommodate the F-35s did not require a state permit because the Guard served a federal purpose …

BRAC Process Would Help VA Replace Obsolete Facilities

  • March 9, 2015
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Veterans Affairs officials have concluded the agency is badly in need of a BRAC-like process that would allow it to dispose of hundreds of facilities that are either antiquated or no longer needed because they are located far from veteran populations. “VA cannot be a sound steward of the taxpayers’ resources with the asset portfolio we carry. No business would carry such a portfolio, and veterans deserve better,” Secretary Robert McDonald told the House Military Construction and Veterans Affairs Appropriations Subcommittee last week. “It’s time to close VA’s old substandard and underutilized infrastructure …

Unemployment Rate for Recent Veterans Reaches Record Low

  • March 9, 2015
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The unemployment rate for post-9/11 veterans fell to 6.7 percent in February, a drop of more than one point from January that left the rate at its lowest level on record, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. While the unemployment rate for all workers remained lower, falling to 5.5 percent in February, post-9/11 veterans have made marked progress in finding jobs in recent years. The 2014 annual unemployment rate for recent veterans was 7.2 percent, nearly 2 points lower than the 2013 rate and nearly 5 points lower than the 2011 rate, reported Military Times. Meanwhile, the unemployment rate for all veterans remained below the average for all workers, falling to 5.3 percent in February …

Condition of Facilities Remains at High Risk, Installation Officials Say

  • March 8, 2015
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DOD’s fiscal 2016 budget request would help the services restore some of the backlog in facility maintenance caused by previous years’ spending cuts, but it still would leave installations scrambling to keep pace with building maintenance requirements. The proposal would cover only 81 percent of the funds the services need to adequately maintain their infrastructure, reported Federal News Radio. And that’s assuming Congress comes up with a way to pay for the administration’s request to exceed the Budget Control Act spending caps by $35 billion next year. “Facility sustainment is still the place where I see the highest risk,” said John Conger, acting assistant secretary of defense for energy, installations and environment …

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