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Defense Communities 360 Headlines

FY’16 Appropriations Expected to Follow More Torturous Path

  • December 16, 2014
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The fiscal 2015 omnibus spending package cleared by Congress this past week experienced its share of twists and turns as elements of both parties attempted to remove objectionable provisions, but on the whole its passage represented a mostly bipartisan process that likely won’t be duplicated in the 114th Congress. Negotiations over the “CRomnibus” did not focus on spending allocations because that issue already had been settled last year as part of the budget deal between Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) and Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) that relaxed the defense and non-defense spending caps for FY 2014 and 2015 …

Republicans to Add Five Freshman Senators to Armed Services Panel

  • December 16, 2014
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Five newly elected Republican senators will join the Senate Armed Services Committee in the 114th Congress as the GOP gains extra seats and several members leave the panel. Meanwhile, Jack Reed (R.I.) will become the committee’s ranking member, Senate Democrats announced Friday. The GOP freshmen being added include: Tom Cotton (Ark.); Joni Ernst (Iowa); Mike Rounds (S.D.); Dan Sullivan (Alaska) and Thom Tillis (N.C.) …

Ohio Guard Wing Earns Reprieve in Defense Bill

  • December 16, 2014
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Mansfield Lahm Air National Guard Base, Ohio, received good news in the fiscal 2015 defense authorization bill as the result of language allowing the Air Force to fund avionics upgrades to the Air National Guard’s 179th Airlift Wing. The wing’s eight C -130H Hercules transport aircraft need the enhanced communications gear — called Automatic Dependent Surveillance Broadcast-Out (ADS-B) — to continue flying outside the U.S. mainland beyond 2020, reported the Mansfield News Journal. The provision allows the Air Force to tap alternative programs and funding to modernize the C-130H fleet but doesn’t require the service to go ahead …

Military Patient Volumes Drop at Georgia Hospital

  • December 15, 2014
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A federal law requiring military personnel and their dependents to obtain medical care from military facilities has resulted in a significant drop in patient care at a hospital frequented by service members stationed at Naval Submarine Base Kings Bay in southeastern Georgia. “We have seen a significant reduction in our volumes at the hospital, as well as physician practices,” Gary Colberg, president and CEO of the Southeast Georgia Health System, told the Brunswick News. The system’s Camden campus has lost an estimated $2 million a year as a result of the changes …

Obama Stops at JB McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst

  • December 15, 2014
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While President Obama on Monday thanked U.S. troops at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, N.J., for supporting the fight against both Ebola in West Africa and the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, discussions about the installation and the looming threat of base closure lurked in the background. “This is one of our nation’s premier joint military bases,” Obama told thousands of service members in an aircraft hangar …

FY’15 Omnibus Spending Bill Crosses the Finish Line

  • December 14, 2014
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Congress on Saturday night wrapped up work on fiscal 2015 appropriations for all agencies except for the Department of Homeland Security, after the Senate cleared the $1.1 trillion “CRomnibus” spending package 56-40. President Obama has indicated he will sign the spending package — new funding blueprints for 11 of the 12 annual appropriations titles through Sept. 30, 2015, and a continuing resolution (CR) for Homeland Security through Feb. 27 — by Wednesday when the current stopgap runs out …

Senate Sends Defense Bill to President

  • December 14, 2014
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The Senate approved the final version of the fiscal 2015 defense authorization bill Friday and sent it to the president’s desk, marking the 53rd straight year Congress has approved the annual defense policy bill. The measure, which allocates $496 billion for DOD’s base budget and $64 billion for overseas contingency operations, rejects or scales back many of the Pentagon’s major cost-saving reforms affecting military compensation and force structure. The bill, H.R. 3979, makes only a moderate concession to the Air Force proposal to retire its fleet of 283 A-10 close air support aircraft …

Decision on Next Round of Army Restructuring Expected by Next Summer

  • December 14, 2014
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The Army likely won’t announce until June how it will realign its forces as it eliminates up to 70,000 soldiers by fiscal 2020, according to comments made at a listening session for Fort Leavenworth, Kan., last week. The Army — which already is slated to trim its active-duty forces from 562,000 to 490,000 by the end of FY 2015 — now is gathering public input at 30 installations with the potential to lose between 2,500 and 16,000 military and civilian personnel by the end of a second round of troop cuts needed to accommodate stringent budget caps. If Congress does not offer the Pentagon any relief from the spending caps, the Army’s active-duty end strength could fall to 420,000 …

Cannon AFB Adds 600-Acre Parcel Courtesy of State

  • December 14, 2014
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The state of New Mexico recently purchased 600 acres adjacent to Cannon Air Force Base and donated it to the Air Force, the community support group for the installation said last week. The transaction stems from the effort spearheaded by the Clovis Committee of 50 to save the base located in eastern New Mexico from closure during the 2005 BRAC round. The group had argued that Cannon’s key assets included a lack of encroachment and the availability of land for future growth. At the urging of local officials, then-Gov. Bill Richardson approved a $5 million grant to purchase land and water rights to benefit the installation …

Persistence Needed in Battle against Veteran Homelessness

  • December 14, 2014
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The federal government has made significant strides in tackling veteran homelessness, but reaching President Obama’s goal of completely eradicating the problem is still years away, according to testimony last week by veterans service providers. Rep. Jeff Miller (R-Fla.),chairman of the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee, questioned the rationale for having more than 20 programs designed to take homeless veterans off the streets and provide them with housing, health care and employment assistance, reported Stars and Stripes. The programs are not duplicative in many cases since homeless veterans have diverse needs, said Baylee Crone, executive director for the National Coalition for Homeless Veterans …

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