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Defense Communities 360 Headlines

If Congress Opts for Spending Omnibus, Compromise over Individual Bills Attainable

  • October 19, 2014
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Lawmakers will only have a narrow window when they return to Capitol Hill next month to decide whether to aim for a massive year-end fiscal 2015 spending package or settle for a short- or long-term continuing resolution, but if they opt for the omnibus, overcoming differences between the two chamber’s individual spending bills should not be particularly arduous, according to an analysis by CQ. Differences between the House and Senate versions for many of the spending bills are no more than $1.5 billion or less. The House and Senate proposals for defense appropriations are only $1.3 billion apart, while competing versions of the military construction-veterans affairs measure are only $400 million apart …

MacDill AFB, Tampa Consider Building Joint Use Pool

  • October 19, 2014
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Officials at MacDill Air Force Base and Tampa are considering collaborating on the construction and use of an Olympic-sized pool on or near the installation in South Tampa. One option would be to build the facility off base and allow military personnel to use it for a nominal fee. “It would be good enough for special operators and other stuff,” Terry Montrose, spokesman for the 6th Air Mobility Wing, told the Tampa Tribune. The two parties began discussing dozens of possible areas for partnering in April, with a joint effort to build a new pool emerging as the idea that made the most sense. The installation and city both want to replace aging aquatic facilities …

Army Answers Questions about Airborne Pollution in Homes outside Ft. Gillem

  • October 19, 2014
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The Army and the LRA for the former Fort Gillem hosted a public forum last week to address residents’ questions about test results from the summer that revealed toxic vapor in dozens of homes. The Army has conducted vapor intrusion tests in 68 homes and one daycare center surrounding the installation located outside of Atlanta. The vapors are believed to stem from groundwater contamination that seeped off the post. The Army plans to install ventilation systems in the daycare. In the other homes, scientists still need to determine whether levels of contamination are high enough to justify installing ventilation systems and whether the Army should be responsible for the work, said Tom Lederle, chief of the Army’s BRAC office …

Agreement Paves the Way for Hill AFB Visitors to Stay in Local Hotels

  • October 19, 2014
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Officials in Davis County, Utah, have reached an agreement with Hill Air Force Base allowing local hotels to accommodate visitors when the installation’s on-base lodging is at full capacity. The memorandum of understanding, which provides guidance to Hill on handling visitors’ inquiries regarding participating hotels in Davis County, still needs final approval from base officials, reported the Standard-Examiner. “Hill Air Force Base enjoys the benefits of strong community partnership and support,” the base said in a written statement. “This lodging agreement benefits both Hill and the local community,” it said. Last year, base visitors spent 11,000 hotel room nights in Davis County out of a total of 17,000 room nights requested. The agreement is almost identical to one neighboring Weber County has in place with Hill. The pact is “a great service” to the base, Louenda Downs, a commissioner for Davis County, told the Examiner.

North Texas to Open One-Stop Center for Veterans Services

  • October 19, 2014
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A newly formed nonprofit in north Texas is making plans to open a one-stop center to connect veterans with a full range of services, including employment, housing, education, health, transportation, legal and financial management. The Veterans Center of North Texas will act as a referral center for more than 200 service organizations for veterans from six counties. It also will verify veterans are receiving federal benefits they are entitled to. The center follows the model offered by similar organizations in other parts of Texas …

SASC Democratic Chairs in Tight Races Next Month

  • October 16, 2014
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Three Senate Armed Services Committee subcommittee chairs are facing close contests in the November elections, setting up the possibility that the committee will have new leadership on the Democratic side. Of course, if the Republicans take control of the Senate, the Democratic chairs would be replaced by their GOP counterparts. And no matter what happens on Nov. 4, longtime chairman Carl Levin (D-Mich.) is retiring at the conclusion of the 113th Congress. Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.), head of the readiness panel, is in a close race with former Massachusetts Sen. Scott Brown, but appears to have the edge …

Navy to Consider Basing Additional Jets at NAS Whidbey Island

  • October 16, 2014
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The Navy last week said it would revise the scope of an ongoing environmental impact statement (EIS) at Naval Air Station Whidbey Island to assess the impacts of basing up to 36 additional EA-18G Growler aircraft at the northwest Washington base. The initial EIS evaluated the impacts associated with adding two new expeditionary squadrons including up to 14 Growler aircraft. Last week’s announcement follows a Navy request earlier this year for 22 additional Growlers made as part of the fiscal 2015 budget submission …

San Antonio Installations Well Positioned, City Officials Say

  • October 16, 2014
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Robust mission growth at San Antonio’s three military installations resulting from the 2005 round of base closures should shield them from a new BRAC, local officials told the City Council this week. The establishment of the Medical Education and Training Campus and San Antonio Military Medical Center served to bolster Fort Sam Houston and its satellite, Camp Bullis, Bob Murdock, director of the city’s Office of Military Affairs, told lawmakers. The region’s success in adopting “dark sky lighting” has helped protect operations at Bullis, which has become increasingly critical as the location for air medical evacuation training, he added …

Contractor Admits to Falsifying Environmental Data at Hunters Point

  • October 16, 2014
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The Navy’s cleanup contractor at the former Hunters Point Naval Shipyard in San Francisco admitted earlier this year to submitting false samples in an apparent effort to show that the soil was not radioactive, reports NBC Bay Area News. After the Navy determined in October 2012 that soil sample results were inconsistent with previous tests conducted at the same location, an investigation by Tetra Tech revealed that the samples actually came from different locations than the ones indicated. In reality, the samples were collected from areas that had already tested clean for radiological contamination …

Dover AFB Transfers Water System

  • October 16, 2014
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Dover Air Force Base, Del., formally turned over its water system to Tidewater Utilities earlier this month, following its selection last year through a competitive solicitation. Tidewater will provide the installation with potable water service under a 50-year contract, and own and maintain all of the base’s water utility assets. The firm also will be responsible for making capital improvements to the system, reported the News Journal. “The commencement of the privatization agreement with [the Air Force base], a premier U.S. military facility, marks a turning point for our company and signals our capability to be a viable and competitive contender for military base water system privatizations across the country,” said Dennis Doll, president and CEO of Middlesex Water, the parent company of Tidewater.

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