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Defense Communities 360 Headlines

Next DOD Budget to Consider Eliminating Select Missions

  • June 26, 2015
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After three years of living within tight fiscal constraints, defense officials will begin to consider jettisoning lower-priority missions to free up funds for the department’s most critical functions.
The wholesale cancellation of select missions is the only way to free up billions of dollars in a single budget year, Robert Work, the deputy secretary of defense, said this week. And regardless of whether lawmakers strike a deal to give the Pentagon more breathing room under the statutory spending caps, top officials are preparing for an extremely constrained topline budget number, reported Federal News Radio. “It’s going to be tough. There’s no simple way out of this problem,” Work said at a conference sponsored by the U.S. Geospatial Intelligence Foundation. “The fact is that we’re going to have to really prioritize and be ruthless about it …

Smith Outlines Recipe for Sustaining DOD

  • June 26, 2015
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It’s not exactly a tightly-held secret that the Defense Department would like to spend a lot more money in the coming years than it is likely to get. And as long as the spending caps imposed by the 2011 Budget Control Act remain in effect and partisan differences prevent Congress from striking a long-term budget deal, the Pentagon will continue to struggle to carry out all of its missions. But there is a way out of this predicament, Washington Rep. Adam Smith (D), ranking member of the House Armed Services Committee, said this week during the congressional keynote at the 2015 Defense Communities National Summit. The first step is for lawmakers to scrap the Budget Control Act and replace it with a new long-term spending plan …

Army Monitoring Performance of Local Schools, Report Warns

  • June 26, 2015
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Differences in school quality and student performance could be a significant selection criteria if the Army has an opportunity to recommend installations for closure, warns a new report from the Stimson Center directed at Army communities. “States and communities should consider the connection between education standards and basing decisions as part of the larger context for their education policies even though the Army’s level of priority on this issue and its plan for engaging with Congress are uncertain,” concludes the report, The Army Goes to School: The Connection between K-12 Education Standards and the Military-Base Economy. Over 300,000 children of active-duty service members in the Army are affected by educational standards which vary wildly from one school to the next …

House Votes to Go to Conference on Defense Bill

  • June 26, 2015
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The House on Thursday voted to go to conference on the fiscal 2016 defense authorization bill after the Senate removed language from its version that ran afoul of a constitutional requirement that legislation affecting revenue must originate in the House. Fixing the procedural issue delayed the House vote by a day. After the vote, Republicans and Democrats in the House named their representatives to the conference committee. House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) named 18 House Republican conferees; the Democrats will have 14. The Senate will likely name its conferees after the July 4 break, reported the Hill. The Senate stripped out a section from its version related to the treatment of the DOD Military Retirement Fund as a qualifying trust, which constitutes a revenue measure …

Support Group Spearheads Initiative to Raise Quality of Schools near Ft. Polk

  • June 26, 2015
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After Army Chief of Staff Gen. Ray Odierno warned governors in October 2013 that school performance would affect the service’s future stationing decisions, Fort Polk Progress responded by forming, leading and integrating a broad and ambitious initiative to improve public school outside the Louisiana post. Fort Polk Progress, a regional community organization that supports Fort Polk’s continued presence in Vernon Parish, used its experience in collaborating with local, state and federal partners to acquire funding for its education initiative and to bring its many partners into the fold. The partnership includes the Joint Readiness Training Center at Fort Polk, the Vernon Parish School District, and a variety of state agencies, educational institutions and businesses …

Construction, Renovation on Hold at Army Housing Projects

  • June 25, 2015
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The Army has suspended construction of new homes, along with renovation of existing units, as part of its Residential Communities Initiative until the service announces what locations will lose 40,000 soldiers. The Army’s announcement outlining how it expects to shrink its active-duty end strength to 450,000, and possibly further, is expected before the end of July. At that point, officials will conduct a fresh assessment of the requirements at its housing privatization projects …

Lawmakers Honor Top Defense Communities, Leaders at ADC Awards Ceremony

  • June 25, 2015
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Defense communities and their leaders take enormous pride in hosting and partnering with military installations, service members, military families and veterans. They also work hard to preserve the legacy and sustain economic growth when the mission or force structure at a local base changes. These communities, installations and leaders were represented among the recipients of the 2015 Defense Community Awards, who were honored during a special ceremony on Capitol Hill Wednesday, the final day of the 2015 Defense Communities National Summit. Rep. John Fleming (R-La.) honored Louisiana and Fort Polk Progress, which won the Community Excellence Award for its long record of support for the Army and Fort Polk. “The state has spent over $25 million to fund the Fort Polk regional growth management plan, which has promoted new housing, retail and dining options for soldiers and their families …

House Vote on Conference Committee for Policy Bill Hits Snag

  • June 25, 2015
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A House vote on a motion to request a conference committee for the fiscal 2016 defense authorization bill was postponed Wednesday to give the Senate time to remove language that runs afoul of a constitutional requirement that legislation affecting revenue must originate in the House. The offending language is included in a portion of the Senate bill that alters the military retirement system, John McCain (R-Ariz.), chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, told CQ Roll Call. McCain expressed confidence he could get obtain unanimous consent on the Senate floor on Thursday to remove the provisions. At this point, it doesn’t appear the snafu should slow down both chambers’ intent to reach agreement on a compromise measure quickly. McCain, along with House Armed Services Chairman Mac Thornberry (R-Texas), recently have expressed confidence that lawmakers could produce a conference report by sometime in July …

Kaine Lends a Hand to Separating Veterans

  • June 25, 2015
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During his first term in the Senate, Sen. Tim Kaine (Va.) has made reducing unemployment among veterans, especially Iraq and Afghanistan-era veterans, a personal mission. His first legislation, the 2013 Troop Talent Act, established new standards to help active-duty service members attain civilian credentials for military skills to assist their transition into the workforce. Kaine serves on the Armed Services Committee, a post has used to secure key Virginia priorities in the past two defense bills, including the refueling and overhaul of the Norfolk-based USS George Washington in the fiscal 2015 authorization bill …

Sumter Seeks Consultant to Perform JLUS for Shaw AFB

  • June 25, 2015
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The Sumter City-County Planning Commission is soliciting proposals from qualified consultants to prepare and deliver a joint land use study (JLUS) for Shaw Air Force Base and Poinsett Range in the city of Sumter and Sumter County, S.C. The project is funded by DOD’s Office of Economic Adjustment. Interested firms must demonstrate knowledge and experience in community planning, development and land use issues, as well as military installation management and operations. Responses are due by July 24 at 5 p.m. The complete RFP may be found on the city of Sumter website. All questions regarding this RFP shall be in written form and directed to George K. McGregor at gmcgregor@sumter-sc.com.

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