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Defense Communities 360 Headlines

Courtney Concerned about Impact of Opening up Family Housing Projects to General Public

  • May 5, 2015
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The Defense Department would need to brief the House Armed Services Committee on the potential impacts to host communities of its policy of opening family housing projects to the general public when occupancy rates drop below certain levels. The request, an amendment to the fiscal 2016 defense authorization bill added during last week’s committee markup, directs DOD to focus on community impacts stemming from changes in the number of non-federally connected civilian children residing in military housing. Officials also should develop recommendations to mitigate possible community impacts. A growing number of installations recently have expanded eligibility to live in family housing projects to DOD civilians, military retirees, and in some cases, the public as occupancy rates have dropped due to cuts in end strength …

Air Force’s Steven Zander Named as Finalist for Prestigious Civil Servant Award

  • May 5, 2015
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Steven Zander, who leads the Air Force Community Partnership Program, will be honored today on Capitol Hill as one of 30 finalists for the 2015 Samuel J. Heyman Service to America Medals. “The Service to America Medal finalists showcase the good that our public servants do each and every day behind-the-scenes on behalf of the American public,” Max Stier, president and CEO of Partnership for Public Service, told Federal News Radio. “They epitomize the true spirit and value of public service,” Stier said. Zander was nominated in the management excellence category for leading a team to develop innovative partnerships between Air Force bases and their neighboring communities to save money and strengthen the local base and community support in a wide range of service areas, including libraries, golf courses, snow removal, operation of a water/wastewater treatment plant, and construction/maintenance of ball fields …

Army Reassigns White Sands’ Engineer Battalion

  • May 5, 2015
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The Army’s 2nd Engineer Battalion — based at White Sands Missile Range, N.M., after it was reactivated in 2008 — is being reassigned to Fort Bliss, Texas, after being reorganized once again. The battalion had 500 soldiers in 2008 but as of its casing ceremony last week, it was down to 200 personnel. Two of the battalion’s companies are moving to Fort Bliss, one company is transferring to Fort Polk, La., one will be inactivated, and the remaining soldiers will be reassigned elsewhere …

Fleet Changes Reduce Carbon Emissions at Fort Gordon

  • May 5, 2015
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Officials at Fort Gordon, Ga., have been replacing the installation’s vehicle fleet with gas-powered hybrid, electric and ethanol-based vehicles in an attempt to conserve fuel and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The post, located outside of Augusta, has reduced fossil fuel usage by 7 percent in the past three fiscal years by trimming gas-powered vehicles in their fleet by 18 percent since 2012, reported the Augusta Chronicle. A 2009 executive order requires a 2 percent annual reduction in greenhouse gas emissions and a 30 percent decrease in petroleum-based vehicles in federal fleets by fiscal 2020 …

Panel Directs GAO to Study Impact of Deferred Maintenance on Readiness

  • May 4, 2015
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In response to concerns over DOD’s policy to stop fully funding facilities sustainment, the House Armed Services’ Readiness Subcommittee directs the Government Accountability Office to review the state of the department’s facility sustainment and recapitalization program, according to report language attached to the panel’s portion of the fiscal 2016 defense authorization bill. The congressional watchdog agency should address: to what extent has DOD met its goals for sustainment and recapitalization of its facilities? what is known about the condition of facilities and the trend in conditions since fiscal 2011 …

Senate Panel to Take up Policy Bill Next Week

  • May 4, 2015
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The Senate Armed Services Committee, including its six subcommittees and the full committee, will mark up the fiscal 2016 defense authorization bill next week. The Airland panel will mark up its portion of the annual policy bill next Monday, followed by the other five subcommittees on May 12. The Readiness and Management Support Subcommittee will be one of three panels that day to conduct its markup in an open session. The full committee will mark up the legislation behind closed doors beginning May 13 and plans to finish its business by the end of the week …

State to Offer N.D. Communities $1.5M to Support Military Bases

  • May 4, 2015
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North Dakota Gov. Jack Dalrymple on Friday signed legislation funding a $1.5 million base retention grant program for the state’s defense communities. The funds would be allocated for the two years beginning July 1 and would support Grand Forks and Minot Air Force bases, and the Air National Guard Base in Fargo. Each community can receive up to $500,000. The legislation, the state Department of Commerce budget bill, also includes $7.5 million for infrastructure development at the Grand Sky unmanned aerial systems business and aviation park at Grand Forks AFB …

State Efforts to Improve License Portability for Spouses Miss Mark

  • May 4, 2015
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State lawmakers have begun to take aim at the hurdles facing military spouses striving to maintain a career as they move across the country, but so far legislation addressing the portability of professional certifications and licenses has been uneven, according to a panel discussion last week. After moving to Virginia, one spouse, a hairdresser, had to spend four months satisfying state requirements calling for her to obtain notarized copies of the licenses she previously earned in five others states. “Who’s your advocate when you’re that one spouse trying to get a governing body to expedite?” Eddy Mentzer, DOD’s program manager for spouse education and career opportunities, said April 28 at the American Legion’s National Credentialing Summit in Washington. “Many spouses don’t have the resources …

Marketing Blitz to Promote MacDill AFB

  • May 4, 2015
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The Tampa Bay Defense Alliance is rolling out a campaign to promote MacDill Air Force Base at a time when DOD is facing budget constraints and pursues a new round of base closures. The initiative is intended to raise awareness of the installation among area residents and businesses, as well as in Washington. A central theme of the effort is showcasing the robust partnership between the community and MacDill, reported the Tampa Tribune. The initiative is centered on the “My MacDill” website, which provides residents and local organizations an opportunity to post photos, videos and personal memories about the base and its contributions to the Tampa region and the nation …

Resolution to Budget Dispute Not Coming Soon, Republicans Indicate

  • May 3, 2015
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In the face of calls from the White House for bipartisan talks to lift the statutory spending caps, senior Republicans say any negotiations will need to wait until the fiscal 2016 appropriations process plays itself out. After the White House issued veto threats on two appropriations bills considered by the House last week — including the military construction-veterans affairs spending measure — the Obama administration and congressional Republicans appear to be on a collision course. The statements from the Office of Management and Budget indicated that President Obama would not sign any spending bills that follow congressional Republicans’ plan to stick to the Budget Control Act levels while providing relief only to the Pentagon by stashing tens of billions of additional dollars in its war account …

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