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Defense Communities 360 Headlines

LRA Looks for New Uses for Former Brunswick Control Tower

  • July 24, 2014
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The LRA for the former Brunswick Naval Air Station is considering a variety of uses for the $15 million air traffic control tower the Navy built 10 years ago, but directing air traffic is not likely to make the shortlist. That’s because there’s not enough flights to justify operating a tower at what is now home to Brunswick Executive Airport, Steve Levesque, executive director of the Midcoast Regional Redevelopment Authority, told the Times Record. The facility, located on Maine’s coast, needs to retain an aeronautical-related use, according to the terms of the public benefit conveyance allowing the Navy to transfer the airfield property to the authority …

Senate Appropriators Lend Support for Revising HUBZone Program

  • July 24, 2014
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A proposal to ease requirements for tenants at closed installations to qualify for the HUBZone program — a Small Business Administration (SBA) initiative offering preferential access to federal procurements to businesses in distressed areas — has picked up the endorsement of the Senate Appropriations Committee. The legislative change was added to the Senate version of the fiscal 2015 defense authorization bill before the Armed Services Committee approved the measure in May. The language would expand the geographic boundaries of HUBZones at BRAC sites to include the town or county where the installation is located, or census tracts contiguous to the installation …

Growth Lags behind BRAC Projections outside Aberdeen Proving Ground

  • July 24, 2014
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Optimistic projections that BRAC-fueled growth would bring more than 18,000 contractor jobs and create demand for dozens of office buildings outside of Aberdeen Proving Ground have not been met since the installation in northeast Maryland was identified as the destination of R&D activities from other locations nine years ago. “We just haven’t seen the transformation of Aberdeen itself that a lot of people thought we would see,” Scott Dorsey, CEO of Merritt Properties LLC, told the Baltimore Sun. In 2008, Merritt purchased land in Aberdeen for five buildings, but so far has completed only one; it currently is empty …

Senate May Move Milcon Spending Bill after August Recess

  • July 24, 2014
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Senate Appropriations Chairwoman Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.) has revived talk of advancing a fiscal 2015 spending bill before Oct. 1, with the military construction-veterans affairs measure looking like the chamber’s best shot. Senate Democrats possibly could combine the milcon bill with other spending measures or, even, focus their efforts on approving the defense spending measure, reported CQ …

Iowa Judge Wants to Create Court to Keep Veterans out of Jail

  • July 23, 2014
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An Iowa judge is trying to establish a veterans court in Woodbury County to help military veterans obtain essential services to cope with drug and alcohol addiction and mental health problems while keeping them out of jail. “They come back broken [from Iraq and Afghanistan], and we’re starting to see them in our court system,” District Judge Jeffrey Poulson told the Omaha World-Herald. Poulson envisions matching participants with a mentor who could provide advice, but would not act as a counselor …

Energy Firm to Build Solar Array at Robins AFB under EUL

  • July 23, 2014
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Chicago-based New Generation Power will develop a 10-megawatt solar array at Robins Air Force Base after reaching agreement with the Air Force on an enhanced use lease at the Middle Georgia installation. The firm will sell energy generated by the photovoltaic facility to Georgia Power through a power purchase agreement the two previously signed. The lease payments Robins receives during the project’s 20-year term will be reinvested in renewable facility energy or energy conservation measures. The power generated still will count toward the installation’s alternative energy mandates because it is produced on base, according to James Willingham, deputy director of the 78th Civil Engineer Group at Robins. “It will be enough to sustain several follow-on energy conservation projects,” Willingham told the Telegraph. Willingham said he expects construction at the 50-acre site will begin by September, with the solar plant going online by January.

DOD to House 5,000 More Migrant Children

  • July 23, 2014
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Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel has authorized the military to house up to 5,000 additional unaccompanied children who have crossed the nation’s southern border illegally, spokesman Col. Steve Warren said Wednesday. Hagel’s order — signed at the request of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) — also extends the housing assistance mission to Jan. 31, 2015, reported Stars and Stripes. Officials have not yet chosen the installations that will accommodate the flood of children from Central America …

Ranchers Concerned about Possible Transfer of BLM Lands at White Sands to DOD

  • July 23, 2014
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Language in the House version of the fiscal 2015 defense authorization bill shifting control of hundreds of thousands of acres owned by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) in the northern extension of White Sands Missile Range, N.M., to the Pentagon has ranchers concerned that the transfer could restrict their access for grazing and hunting. The provision is a reaction to the SunZia Southwest Transmission Project — a 515-mile, high-voltage transmission line traversing the northern extension of White Sands — which DOD officials had opposed until May when the developer agreed to bury five miles of the line to eliminate conflicts with training and weapons testing …

House Readiness Chair Reiterates Stance on New BRAC Round

  • July 23, 2014
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At a summit on maintaining military readiness under spending constraints, Rep. Rob Wittman (R-Va.), chairman of the House Armed Services’ Readiness Subcommittee, reiterated his position that Congress shouldn’t consider approving a new round of base closures until the Pentagon clarifies the future direction of force structure and its objectives for the next BRAC. “And if we’re going to get this right, we need to finish some things, we need to understand where’s end strength going to end up, how are we going to properly resource in the face of sequester, in the face of transitioning out of [the overseas contingency operations account] …

Expansion of Northern Flight Training Area Provokes Local Opposition

  • July 22, 2014
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An Air Force plan to expand a military flight training area for bombers over parts of Wyoming, Montana and the Dakotas is drawing opposition from local officials concerned about the impact of increased flight activity. The Air Force says it needs to expand the Powder River Training Complex to 28,000 square miles for use by B-1 bombers based at Ellsworth AFB, S.D., and B-52 bombers at Minot AFB, N.D., reported the Billings Gazette. The move would cut training costs by limiting the need for the aircraft to fly to Utah and Nevada. The expansion is critical to preserving the B-1 mission at Ellsworth, according to South Dakota Sen. John Thune …

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