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Defense Communities 360 Headlines

Report Needed on DOD Efforts to Sustain Services during Utilities Disruptions, Panel Says

  • May 11, 2014
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The House Armed Services’ Readiness Subcommittee directs the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to assess the status of the military’s effort to maintain mission readiness during long-term disruptions of electricity, and water and wastewater services from civilian utility systems, according to report language accompanying the panel’s portion of the fiscal 2015 defense authorization bill. While the subcommittee is encouraged that DOD is focusing on the potential of disruptions in utilities, “it is not clear what efforts the department is undertaking to ensure and promote energy security across its installations …

Joint Chiefs Split over Wisdom of Slashing Commissary Subsidy

  • May 11, 2014
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In a break from the support for the administration’s budget request typically expected from senior Pentagon leaders, Marine Corps Commandant Gen. John Amos during a Senate hearing last week criticized the plan to reduce annual federal subsidies for military grocery stores by $1 billion over three years. The plan is projected to cut average savings for shoppers from 30 percent to 10 percent. “That’s a 66 percent drop in savings for my Marines. I don’t like that,” Amos told the Senate Armed Services Committee, reported Stars and Stripes. “The commissary issue itself is radioactive …

New Jersey Panel Tasked with Promoting, Fortifying State’s Bases

  • May 11, 2014
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New Jersey Lt. Governor Kim Guadagno (R) on Friday launched a statewide Military Installation Growth and Development Task Force, a move designed to ensure the long-term growth and viability of the state’s military bases and Coast Guard installations. The task force’s primary objectives will be to organize a broad-based coalition — including elected officials at the local, state and federal level, as well as industry leaders, veterans and concerned citizens — to promote the state’s military installations; assist in the “economic fortification” of the state’s bases by leveraging the resources of the New Jersey Partnership for Action to help retain and attract missions to New Jersey …

Hagel ‘Not Pleased’ with Committee Votes to Ignore DOD’s Cost-Saving Proposals

  • May 11, 2014
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Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel was not pleased by the House Armed Services Committee’s markup last week of the fiscal 2015 defense authorization bill, press secretary Rear Adm. John Kirby told reporters Friday. The panel overturned a variety of cost-saving proposals from the Pentagon’s latest budget request, including plans to hold a new BRAC round, trim the size of the Army and restructure the National Guard, retire the Air Force’s A-10 fleet and scale back military compensation. “I can tell you that the secretary was certainly not pleased …

Legislature Approves Taxing District for Stratford Engine Plant Reuse

  • May 9, 2014
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The Connecticut General Assembly has passed legislation creating a special taxing district around the former Stratford Army Engine Plant, boosting the effort to transform the site into a mixed-use redevelopment. The measure, passed Wednesday in the Senate and last week in the House, would make it easier for developers to issue bonds to fund infrastructure upgrades, including roads, water and sewer lines, and sidewalks, reports the Connecticut Post. The taxing district would have the power to set and collect taxes to pay for the improvements …

Federal Scoring Rules Need to Be Revisited, Robyn Says

  • May 8, 2014
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Dorothy Robyn, a former deputy undersecretary of defense for installations and environment, makes the case for reforming the way the federal government treats real estate leases and public-private ventures for budgetary purposes, in a commentary in the Washington Post. “The budgetary rules that govern investment in these assets are a blunt instrument that does serious collateral damage. Reforming these rules would allow the government to shrink its real estate footprint, modernize its legacy infrastructure for the 21st century and save billions of dollars …

Committee Rejects Army Plan to Restructure National Guard

  • May 8, 2014
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The House Armed Services Committee Wednesday night voted to block the Army’s plan to shift almost 200 Apache attack helicopters from the National Guard to the service’s active component. The amendment to the fiscal 2015 defense authorization bill was proposed by Rep. Joe Wilson (R-S.C.) and passed by a voice vote with support from both sides of the aisle, reported the Hill. Following the vote, the committee passed the underlying defense policy bill early Thursday morning …

Lawmakers Vote to Preserve A-10 Fleet

  • May 8, 2014
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In a major victory for advocates of the A-10 Warthog, the House Armed Services Committee Wednesday night added language to the fiscal 2015 defense authorization bill prohibiting the Air Force from retiring its fleet of close air support aircraft. Supporters of the amendment, sponsored by Rep. Ron Barber (D-Ariz.), defied both Committee Chair Rep. Buck McKeon (R-Calif.) and ranking member Rep. Adam Smith (D-Wash.) in passing it 41 to 20. The committee later passed the underlying defense policy bill early Thursday morning …

In Resisting DOD Austerity Measures, House Bill Puts off Budget Reckoning

  • May 8, 2014
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The fiscal 2015 defense authorization bill passed unanimously early Thursday morning by the House Armed Services Committee brushed off a slew of cost-saving proposals by the Pentagon in an attempt to avert reductions in force structure needed to accommodate strict spending caps. The policy bill identifies savings to offset the cuts it rejects, but those represent only short-term solutions as part of an effort to postpone significant structural changes required by the 2011 Budget Control Act spending caps, reports CQ Roll Call …

Philanthropies Pledge $102M for Military Families

  • May 8, 2014
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First Lady Michelle Obama last week announced a $102 million philanthropic initiative to support military families over the next five years. The Veterans Philanthropy Exchange will allow participants to share best practices, create new resources and recruit even more donors, Obama said from the Washington headquarters of the Red Cross …

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