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Defense Communities 360 Headlines

Diverging Fortunes for Two Maine Shipyards

  • August 18, 2015
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Officials at Portsmouth Naval Shipyard in Kittery, Maine, are hiring hundreds of engineers, technicians, ship fitters and fabricators as they try to expand the facility’s workforce from 4,700 to 5,350 by the end of September. The hiring spree comes as the shipyard attempts to alleviate a maintenance backlog for the Navy’s fleet of nuclear submarines stemming from recent budget constraints, reports the Press Herald. Earlier this month, senior Navy officials highlighted the shipyard’s bright future. They cited the billions of dollars in work servicing attack submarines that Portsmouth has secured, as well as the pending confirmation of Adm. John Richardson as the new chief of naval operations as positive signs …

Kansas Lawmakers Decry Planning Effort to Move Detainees to Ft. Leavenworth

  • August 18, 2015
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Members of Kansas’ congressional delegation have criticized the Pentagon’s decision to assess the feasibility of housing detainees at Fort Leavenworth now held at Guantánamo Bay as it drafts a formal plan for closing the controversial detention center. Defense officials last week traveled to the post in northeastern Kansas; they plan to visit the Naval Consolidated Brig in Charleston, S.C., shortly. The surveys are part of the “ongoing effort to identify locations within the United States that can possibly facilitate military commissions and can possibly hold detainees currently at GTMO,” a DOD spokesman told the Voice of America. DOD will consider a variety of “military and civilian sites” to determine whether they can hold the law of war detainees “in a humane and secure manner,” according to the spokesman. “Only those locations that can hold detainees at a maximum security level will be considered …

S.C. Legislature Approves Seven Bills Aiding Service Members, Veterans

  • August 18, 2015
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A measure establishing a committee to assess the state’s delivery of veterans services was one of seven bills the South Carolina General Assembly approved this year that support service members and their families, and veterans. The veterans services bill directs the committee to study state and local veterans issues, and to recommend legislation to improve the structure, delivery and coordination of veterans services in South Carolina, reported the State. Another measure requires state colleges and universities to charge in-state tuition to veterans as soon as they become residents. The bill waives the requirement that individuals must live in South Carolina for a year to receive in-state tuition …

Barksdale AFB to Consider Opening Charter School

  • August 18, 2015
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Officials at Barksdale Air Force Base are considering opening a charter school, according to D.C. Machen, superintendent of Bossier Parish schools. Only eight military installations in the United States have charter schools, including Naval Air Station Joint Reserve Base New Orleans in Belle Chasse. A charter school could be opened on-base in two years; the local school board would need to approve its charter, reported KTBS. It also would need to admit the children of civilian families, which would require civilians to obtain security clearances …

The Past Lingers at Two Former Airfields

  • August 18, 2015
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A North Carolina fine art photographer drawn to long-forgotten, abandoned places has released a series of photos of decaying buildings at the former Chanute Air Force Base in Rantoul, Ill.
The village of Rantoul has reused some of the Air Force facilities, but many are badly deteriorated after remaining untouched for decades, reports We are the Mighty. The publication features eight photos by Walter Arnold shot at Chanute, which was shuttered in 1993. The installation was closed as a result of the 1988 BRAC round. Arnold did not get permission to access Chanute, but entered the site anyway. “Of all the locations that I have showcases online, Chanute has had the most response …

Odierno Remains Anxious over Army’s Declining End Strength

  • August 14, 2015
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Army Chief of Staff Gen. Ray Odierno on Wednesday warned that the service risks sacrificing its long-term viability if stringent spending caps remain in place. “I believe this nation is at an important inflection point, specifically regarding national security,” Odierno said during his last Pentagon press briefing as he prepares to retire from the Army after almost 40 years of service. “Our security environment remains uncertain and dynamic,” he said, “with increasing requirements on our military while we continue to have decreasing resources in our military. This is of great concern to me …

Court Rebuffs Neighbors’ Complaints over Noise from Navy Growlers at Washington Base

  • August 14, 2015
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A federal judge this week refused to grant an injunction sought by residents in northwest Washington state to suspend flights of EA-18G Growler aircraft based at Naval Air Station Whidbey Island to an outlying landing field (OLF) to practice takeoffs and landings. The neighbors complained that the flights to OLF Coupeville, which resumed early last year following a temporary moratorium, were causing serious health effects due to noise. U.S. District Judge Thomas Zilly, however, ruled that the group of residents known as Citizens of the Ebey’s Reserve for a Healthy, Safe and Peaceful Environment failed to show that overflights by the Navy’s newest electronic-warfare aircraft were significantly louder than described in a 2005 environmental assessment, reported the Seattle Times …

Installations, Local Partners in Three States Win DOD Awards for Habitat Protection

  • August 14, 2015
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Conservation projects in Georgia, Maine and Nevada intended to protect buffer lands at four military installations in collaboration with local agencies and nonprofits will receive a total of $6.2 million, DOD’s Readiness and Environmental Protection Integration (REPI) Program announced earlier this week. The three 2015 REPI Challenge award winners are Fort Benning/Fort Stewart, Ga.; Naval Air Station (NAS) Fallon, Nev.; and the Naval Shipyard Portsmouth Survival, Evasion, Resistance and Escape (SERE) School, Maine. The three partnerships will leverage their DOD awards with more than $21 million in other funding to protect a total of 28,050 acres. The REPI Challenge aims to protect large parcels of land through cost sharing from local and private partners to preserve compatible land uses that support military readiness, while also protecting critical wildlife habitats and threatened and endangered species. The competition places a premium on harnessing the creativity of the private sector to leverage unconventional sources of funding, attract philanthropic support and take advantage of market-based approaches to land and resource conservation …

District Finds Room for Homeless Veterans at Walter Reed

  • August 14, 2015
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Help USA, a national group founded almost 30 years ago by current New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, plans to renovate a series of single-occupant apartments at the former Walter Reed Army Medical Center, under a deal being negotiated by the Army and the District of Columbia. The project, slated to include 75 efficiency apartments, would be the only component of the city’s redevelopment plan for 66.5 acres at the medical campus aimed at veterans, reported the New York Times. “It’s an iconic setting,” Thomas Hameline, president and CEO of the nonprofit which has launched veterans programs in four states, said of the historic hospital in northwest Washington …

ADC Welcomes Five New Board Members

  • August 14, 2015
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Five new directors representing a range of defense communities and private sector firms have joined the ADC board following the elections held in June during the National Summit in Washington. The new directors are: Russell DeSalvo, president and CEO, PuebloPlex (Pueblo Depot Activity Development Authority). DeSalvo has a background in community advocacy and installation management/redevelopment, which he has leveraged to forge a successful community-military partnership to support the reuse of the realigned Pueblo Chemical Depot in central Colorado. Joe Driskill, executive director, Sustainable Ozarks Partnership and the Leonard Wood Institute. The partnership — a subsidiary of the institute — collaborates with Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri’s congressional delegation, state leaders and others to support the installation and improve the region’s business climate …

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