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Defense Communities 360 Headlines

President’s Minimum Wage Order Likely Limited in Scope

  • February 2, 2014
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Last week’s announcement by President Obama that he will sign an executive order raising the minimum wage for federal contractors to $10.10 an hour likely will affect a relatively small number of workers. The act increasing the federal minimum wage from $7.25 is only expected to cover about 200,000 federal contract workers overall, since most already make more than $10.10 …

President Nominates Walmart Official for Air Force Installations Post

  • February 2, 2014
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President Obama last week nominated Miranda Ballentine, a top sustainability and renewable energy official for Wal-Mart Stores, to become assistant secretary of the Air Force for installations, environment and logistics, continuing the administration’s preference to select individuals with a background in energy to lead each service’s installations office. Kathleen Ferguson has been the acting assistant secretary since last March when Terry Yonkers stepped down. Ballentine has been the director of sustainability, renewable energy, sustainable facilities and stakeholder engagement for Wal-Mart Stores since 2008. Previously, she was vice president of investor analysis, chief operating officer and senior consultant for David Gardiner and Associates, according to a White House press release. In 2004, she served as the director of operations, assistant treasurer, and a board member for Environment2004. Ballentine was the operations director for the Solar Electric Light Fund from 2001 to 2004.

One Cost-Cutting Measure Could Jeopardize Health of Housing Privatization Projects

  • February 2, 2014
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The Defense Department has discussed a number of reforms needed to rein in costs and sustain a robust force structure, with changes to compensation and benefit costs one of its highest priorities. One adjustment officials have broached, however, reducing or freezing the basic allowance for housing (BAH), could “seriously impair” the military’s housing privatization program, according to a commentary in Multi-Housing News. Because initial investment decisions in individual projects were predicated on modest increases in the monthly allowance given to service members for housing costs, an across-the-board rate increase or a tiered reduction based on rank will have an immediate impact on owners and managers of privatized housing projects, writes Paula Cino, senior director of energy and environmental policy for the National Multifamily Housing Council …

Robyn to Write about Obstacles to Achieving Agencies’ Infrastructure, Energy Goals

  • January 31, 2014
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Dorothy Robyn, who previously held the Pentagon’s top installations slot, this week said she would step down in March as commissioner of the General Services Administration’s (GSA) Public Buildings Service. In an interview with the Washington Post, Robyn said she next will write about shortcomings in the government preventing effective management of federal infrastructure and improvements in energy conservation. “I’ve been a part of some tremendous work both here at GSA and at DOD and I want to go write about that and also write about the impediments to GSA and DOD doing it better,” she told the paper. “It’s been a joy to be part of the work, but I’ve been frustrated by the impediments,” Robyn added. She left DOD in September 2012 after being selected for the GSA post.

Industry Officials Share Keys to Recruiting Veterans with House Panel

  • January 30, 2014
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Private sector officials shared lessons learned from their successes recruiting veterans during a hearing this week by the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee. Maureen Casey, managing director of military and veterans affairs for JPMorgan Chase, updated lawmakers on lessons the financial services giant learned during the launch of its military hiring program. To reach its target, JPMorgan reevaluated its hiring practices and established a new recruiting team with the ability to translate military skills into civilian ones …

Massachusetts Delegation Meets amid Shadow of BRAC

  • January 30, 2014
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Five members of Massachusetts’ congressional delegation on Wednesday discussed state and local initiatives to enhance the efficiency of Massachusetts’ installations as part of an effort to preserve those assets in the run-up to a possible BRAC round. “There are cuts that will be coming in defense,” Rep. Richard Neal (D) told MassLive. “If the Pentagon has to figure out how to move money around in the budget we want to be preemptive …

Virginia Lawmakers Urge Air Force to Reconsider Moving Science Office to Ohio

  • January 30, 2014
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Three Virginia lawmakers are questioning the Air Force’s plans to relocate its Office of Scientific Research from its current site in Arlington, Va., to Wright-Patterson AFB in Ohio. Sens. Tim Kaine (D) and Mark Warner (D), and Rep. Jim Moran (D) argue that the office’s existing location — close to the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), the Office of Naval Research and the National Science Foundation — is too valuable to abandon …

Air Force Panel Recommends Greater Reliance on Reserve Components

  • January 30, 2014
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The Air Force should shift some personnel from its active-duty force to the Air National Guard and Air Force Reserve as a way to deal with fiscal pressures, the National Commission on the Structure of the Air Force recommended Thursday. “Transitioning missions from the Active Component to the Reserve Components will allow the Air Force to perform these missions with less expensive part-time Reservists while reducing the Active Component end strength, thus saving money in the military personnel accounts that can be put to use in readiness, modernization, and recapitalization accounts,” according to the panel’s final report …

Corporate Jobs Initiative Doubles Hiring Goal to 200,000 Veterans

  • January 29, 2014
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After achieving its goal to hire 100,000 veterans seven years early, a coalition of companies has pledged to double its hiring mark to 200,000 former service members by 2020. The 100,000 Jobs Mission, made up of 131 companies, hired 117,439 former service members within two years after setting its hiring goal in 2011, reported USA Today. “We have been able to make a difference in the lives of so many of our nation’s veterans, and those veterans bring tremendous skills and experience to the workplace,” said Maureen Casey, director of military and veterans affairs at JPMorgan Chase …

President Highlights Need to Support Veterans, Military Families

  • January 29, 2014
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President Obama underscored the importance of supporting service members as they transition into the civilian world during his State of the Union speech on Tuesday. “We’ll keep working to help all our veterans translate their skills and leadership into jobs here at home. And we all continue to join forces to honor and support our remarkable military families …

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