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Defense Communities 360 Headlines

BLM Assessment Keeps Southwestern Transmission Line on Track

  • December 1, 2014
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The Bureau of Land Management last week found no significant environmental impact from burying a five-mile section of a proposed high-voltage transmission line that traverses the northern extension of White Sands Missile Range, N.M., bringing the 515-mile project one step close to gaining final approval. The proposal to bury a section of the transmission line was part of a compromise reached in May between the Defense Department and BLM to settle a dispute between the developer of the SunZia project and supporters of White Sands over the line’s potential to impact testing and evaluation activities at the missile range. If no significant concerns are raised during the 30-day public comment period, BLM could move forward with a record of decision in January …

House Republican Plan Calls for Omnibus to Fund Most Agencies

  • November 30, 2014
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House Republican leaders are expected on Tuesday to propose funding most government agencies through a year-long omnibus, with a short-term continuing resolution for immigration-related programs. The latest House GOP proposal to confront President Obama over the unilateral actions he took last month shielding millions of illegal immigrants from deportation would not necessarily avert a government shutdown, however, as House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) last week said Democrats would not support such a plan. “We will not be enablers to a Republican government shutdown, partial or otherwise …

Top Candidate for Pentagon Post Drops Out; Johnson Added to the Mix

  • November 30, 2014
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Michèle Flournoy, one of the frontrunners to replace Chuck Hagel as defense secretary, removed herself from contention last week, while at least one other candidate has emerged. Flournoy was undersecretary of defense for policy from 2009 to 2012 and now is CEO for the Center for a New American Security. She had been considered for the job two years ago before President Obama opted for Hagel. Flournoy is the second top-flight candidate to drop out of the running following last Monday’s announcement that President Obama had accepted Hagel’s resignation. Sen. Jack Reed (D-R.I.), who is in line to become ranking member on the Senate Armed Services Committee, also said he wasn’t interested in taking the helm at the Pentagon …

Hagel Remains Focused on Pressing Challenges, DOD Official Says

  • November 30, 2014
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Despite tendering his resignation after losing the confidence of the president, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel will continue to press ahead with the department’s most critical priorities until his successor is confirmed by the Senate, Pentagon Press Secretary Rear Adm. John Kirby told reporters last week. “We’ve got huge budget uncertainty that we’re facing. And one of the things that he’ll be working on over the holiday break is work that FY ’16, fiscal year ’16 budget submission. There’s a lot of work to do …

David Larson, Longtime OEA Deputy, Retires

  • November 30, 2014
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David Larson, who oversaw thousands of funding awards to communities affected by closure, realignment and mission growth as the deputy director for programs for DOD’s Office of Economic Adjustment (OEA), retired from the Defense Department last month after serving at the agency for 23 years. Larson oversaw almost $3 billion in awards to local and state governments, helping defense communities to both prepare for and cope with BRAC actions, and to protect neighboring installations from incompatible growth. He managed support for the Defense Economic Adjustment Program and the Economic Adjustment Committee, a 22-agency effort to support communities responding to defense program changes …

State Invests $2.5M to Upgrade Access Road to JB Cape Cod

  • November 30, 2014
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The commonwealth of Massachusetts is spending $2.5 million to repair and repave a primary roadway serving Joint Base Cape Cod, state officials announced last week. The repairs to Connery Avenue will cover sections of roadway both off and on the installation, which houses elements of the Army National Guard, Air National Guard, U.S. Coast Guard and the Air Force, along with nearly 30 other tenants. In addition to serving the 22,000-acre installation, the road provides critical access to the local fire and sheriff’s departments and the Massachusetts National Cemetery …

List of Candidates to Replace Hagel Includes Familiar Names

  • November 24, 2014
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Following Monday’s surprise announcement that President Obama had accepted the resignation of Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel after less than two years in his post, a number of candidates to succeed Hagel have emerged. The top tier of possible replacements includes three people with extensive experience at the highest echelons of the Pentagon — Michèle Flournoy, Ashton Carter and Robert Work. Flournoy, CEO of the Center for a New American Security, and Carter, former deputy defense secretary, both were on previous short lists to replace former Defense Secretary Leon Panetta …

McCain May End Closed Markups for Authorization Bill

  • November 24, 2014
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The Senate Armed Services Committee’s markup of the defense authorization bill may be open to the public next year, Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), who is expected to take the gavel for the panel in the 114th Congress, said last week. “I lean towards it, but I want to get the sense of all the members of the committee,” said McCain. McCain has previously stated there is no reason to hold the markup in a closed session. Before going ahead, though, he said he wants to make sure a majority of the committee supports the move, reported CQ Roll Call …

Local, State Initiatives Advance to Shield Letterkenny Army Depot from Cuts

  • November 24, 2014
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Officials in south central Pennsylvania are moving ahead with multiple initiatives to strengthen Letterkenny Army Depot and the region in the event of a future BRAC. At this point, though, L. Michael Ross, president of the Franklin County Area Development Corp., is confident Letterkenny’s immediate future is secure. “Right now Letterkenny is very stable with everything going on in the world,” Ross, who also serves as chairman of Team Letterkenny, told the Franklin County Council of Governments last week …

Biomass Plant Diversifies Army’s Portfolio of Renewables

  • November 24, 2014
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The 60-megawatt biomass plant at Fort Drum, N.Y., runs 24 hours a day powered by large quantities of residue from the harvest of timber in New York’s North Country. About 85 percent of the plant’s fuel mix is logging residue — primarily treetops and branches — with wood products reclaimed from demolition sites making up much of the balance, according to Larry Richardson, CEO of ReEnergy Holdings. A small amount comes from shredded tires …

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