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Defense Communities 360 Headlines

JB San Antonio to Host Air Force Installation Support Center

  • January 21, 2015
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Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland will host the new Air Force Installation and Mission Support Center headquarters, officials announced Wednesday. Joint Base San Antonio was selected over three other candidates — Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Va., Scott Air Force Base, Ill., and Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio — primarily because much of the new organization’s subordinate staff already are located there, according to a press release. Initial personnel assigned to the support center are expected to begin reporting by summer 2015, with most of the staff slated to be in place by fall 2016 …

Electric Powertrain Manufacturer Moves to Alameda Point

  • January 21, 2015
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Wrightspeed, a designer and manufacturer of low-emission, electric hybrid powertrains, has moved its offices and assembly plant to historic Hangar 41 at the former Naval Air Station Alameda, located on San Francisco Bay. Wrightspeed makes electric powertrains that can be installed in existing delivery and garbage trucks, making them “near zero-emission, quiet and efficient commercial vehicles,” according to a press release. The company had not previously focused on garbage trucks and selected Hangar 41 at Alameda Point because it needs a building with doors large enough to accommodate the huge vehicles …

Judge Dismisses Developer’s Suit over Groundwater Contamination at Ft. Detrick

  • January 21, 2015
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A federal judge last week dismissed a housing developer’s $37 million lawsuit against the federal government alleging the Army’s negligent practices contaminated the groundwater underneath land outside of Fort Detrick where it planned to build 732 homes.
In U.S. District Court in Baltimore, Judge Catherine Blake ruled that Waverley View Investors failed to show that DOD environmental directives barred the Army from burying certain toxic chemicals in unlined pits at the installation prior to 1972, reported the Frederick News Post. She granted the Army’s motion to dismiss the suit. The homebuilder claimed that high levels of trichloroethylene in the groundwater stemming from the Army’s disposal practices since the 1950s reduced the value of its 93-acre parcel. The developer also sought damages to compensate it for development costs and lost profits.

Malmstrom Supporter Eyes Potential for Mission Growth in Next BRAC

  • January 21, 2015
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Malmstrom Air Force Base has the potential to benefit from a new round of base closures through mission growth, according to David Weissman, chairman of the Montana Defense Alliance. “We think that there might be the opportunity through the BRAC to actually increase the size of Malmstrom if they were to reduce a base and move assets around. So our strategy would actually be to look at growth,” Weissman told KRTV. Congress has ignored the Pentagon’s calls for a BRAC recently, but Weissman believes lawmakers are close to realizing that the military services need a way to pare down their excess capacity. “I believe that the next year or so will be pretty eye-opening for them all and they’ll come around and believe it’s the right thing to do,” he said …

Congress Needs to Maintain Vigilant Oversight of Pentagon, Thornberry Says

  • January 20, 2015
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There are multiple reasons why lawmakers would ignore many of the Obama administration’s recent belt-tightening reforms such as holding a new BRAC round, Rep. Mac Thornberry (R-Texas), the new chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, said Tuesday. Thornberry referred to a number of DOD proposals to trim force structure, including retiring the A-10 close air support aircraft, not refueling the U.S.S. George Washington aircraft carrier and shutting down the assembly line for M1 Abrams tanks. “Sometimes the Pentagon is penny-wise, pound-foolish. Sometimes there is parochialism within the Pentagon …

New Guidelines to Improve Access to Installations for Troop Support Nonprofits

  • January 20, 2015
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Nonprofits providing support to military personnel and their families should find it easier to gain access to installations, under a memo recently issued by Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel. The memo emphasizes the importance of relationships with military support organizations and directs senior military leaders and installation commanders to implement uniform procedures to ease access for those groups, reported DOD News. Hagel said he is “directing installation commanders to be welcoming and supportive. … Consistent with mission requirements and security constraints, installation commanders are to provide even/support-driven access, support, collaboration, available space and certain logistical support to those organizations …

Regional Airport Expansion Would Not Hamper Robins AFB, Officials Say

  • January 20, 2015
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A proposal to expand the main runway at Middle Georgia Regional Airport would be unlikely to interfere with operations at nearby Robins Air Force Base, according to local officials. “It would take a tremendous amount of increase in traffic to create any issues at all. I don’t see that happening,” Doug Faour, manager of the Middle Georgia Regional Airport, told the Macon Telegraph. “What I see is the runway extension bringing jobs that are positively going to affect everybody …

Oregon Delegation Presses Pentagon to Transfer Chemical Depot

  • January 20, 2015
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Oregon’s congressional delegation is urging DOD to go ahead with an existing proposal to transfer thousands of acres at the former Umatilla Chemical Depot to the site’s local redevelopment authority at no cost, after learning the Army is reconsidering the plan. “We are writing to express our strong concerns about reports that the U.S. Army may seek to charge the communities around Umatilla to receive property as part of the ongoing Base Realignment Closure (BRAC) process at the Umatilla Army Depot,” Sens. Ron Wyden (D) and Jeff Merkley (D) and Rep. Greg Walden (R) said in a letter sent last week to Defense Secretary Charles Hagel. “If accurate, this would be a terribly disappointing development in a process that has otherwise been a model for transfers under the BRAC process …

Colorado LRA Narrows List of Consultants to Prepare Reuse Plan

  • January 20, 2015
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The LRA for the Pueblo Chemical Depot has selected three nationally known firms as finalists to craft a reuse plan for the Colorado site. The finalists are: Burns & McDonnell; Matrix Design Group; and Weston Solutions. The contract with PuebloPlex will call for the winning firm to assess the infrastructure on 16,000 acres of the 23,000-acre property that was declared surplus in 2013. The firm also would perform an economic analysis of Pueblo County, identify available buildings and provide a market analysis to determine how much the assets are worth. The LRA plans to interview each consultant teams on Jan. 29, with a final selection scheduled for Jan. 30, reported the Pueblo Chieftain. The Army will retain control of about 7,000 acres at the depot until it finishes destroying mustard-agent weapons that have been stored there for about 60 years.

Decision to Expand Training Area over Northern Plains Would Bolster Ellsworth AFB

  • January 19, 2015
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The Air Force on Friday approved a plan to expand military training airspace over parts of four states in the northern Plains, a move that would enhance the military value of Ellsworth Air Force Base, S.D., but that has been opposed by lawmakers in other states over the impact of low-level flights on agriculture and the safety of general aviation. The Air Force’s proposal would more than triple the area of the 28,000-acre Powder River Training Complex, which is located over portions of the Dakotas, Montana and Wyoming. “After nearly nine years working with the Air Force on this important expansion project, I’m pleased we’ve entered the final step to ensuring our Air Force pilots and personnel have the adequate airspace to perform the critical training they need in conditions that more closely resemble combat missions,” said Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.) …

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