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Defense Communities 360 Headlines

House Tacks on Provision Prohibiting BRAC Round to Milcon Spending Bill

  • April 30, 2014
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The House approved an amendment to the fiscal 2015 military construction-veterans affairs spending bill Wednesday blocking DOD from proposing, planning for or carrying out a new round of base closures. The chamber passed the underlying legislation by a 416-1 vote, getting Congress off to the earliest start to the appropriations process since 1974. The milcon spending bill would provide $6.6 billion for military construction and family housing programs next year, a figure which matches the administration’s request but represents a $3.3 billion decline from the FY 2014 allocation. The measure would provide $270.1 million for the cleanup of BRAC sites, matching the Obama administration’s budget request, but representing a $181.3 million drop from current year funding. The bill would allocate $45 billion for medical services from the Department of Veterans Affairs, including mental health care, job training and suicide prevention efforts, reported the Hill.

Changes in Authorization Bill Intended to Overcome Concerns about Section 331

  • April 30, 2014
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New language in the portion of the fiscal 2015 defense authorization bill scheduled to be marked up Thursday by the House Armed Services’ Readiness Subcommittee is intended to resolve the military services’ concerns about implementing section 331, the authority allowing installations to enter into intergovernmental support agreements with a local government to provide, receive or share support services for most municipal functions. One hurdle to the services taking advantage of section 331 since it was enacted in January 2013 as part of the FY 2013 defense authorization bill has been concerns that the new authority conflicts with existing acquisition rules and regulations …

Policy Bill Would Resurrect DOD’s Top Installations Post

  • April 30, 2014
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The Pentagon’s top installations and environment position would remain in place, albeit with a different title, according to language in the portion of the fiscal 2015 defense authorization bill the House Armed Services’ Readiness Subcommittee is scheduled to mark up today. In December, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel called for merging the deputy undersecretary of defense (DUSD) for installations and environment with the assistant secretary for operational energy plans and programs as part of an effort to streamline the department’s overhead …

House Panel Sets Table for Future BRAC Round

  • April 30, 2014
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The House Armed Services’ Readiness Subcommittee unsurprisingly rejects the Pentagon’s request to hold a BRAC round in 2017 according to the portion of the fiscal 2015 defense authorization bill it is scheduled to mark up this morning, but at the same time the panel calls for DOD to prepare a comprehensive assessment of the need for additional base closures. The analysis would compare 20-year force structure plans for each of the services with an inventory of their installations to determine the level of excess infrastructure throughout the department …

Officials Break Ground on Ft. Belvoir Highway Expansion

  • April 29, 2014
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Leaders from northern Virginia broke ground Monday on a project to widen a 3.5-mile stretch of U.S. Route 1, the primary access road to Fort Belvoir. Traffic congestion outside the post’s gates has been a problem for the past two decades, even before the installation’s population grew by thousands of personnel following the last round of BRAC …

Reservists Face ‘Different Stressors’ in Returning from Combat

  • April 29, 2014
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According to the latest figures from the Pentagon, suicides among active-duty service members dropped in 2013 from the previous year but rose among Reservists, highlighting the different set of problems facing members of the Guard and Reserve. “There’s a growing amount of data — including our own research — that the Guard and Reserve soldiers are unique, with different stressors and problems,” said Dr. Craig Bryan, executive director of the National Center for Veteran Studies …

Subcommittee Would Block OSD Funds to Prod Pentagon to Budget for 11th Carrier

  • April 29, 2014
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The House Armed Services’ Seapower and Projection Forces Subcommittee plans to use the power of the purse to ensure DOD provides funding for 11 aircraft carriers. The panel would hold back half of the funding for the office of the secretary of defense (OSD) until officials commit funds needed to prepare to refuel the USS George Washington, according to the portion of the fiscal 2015 defense authorization bill the subcommittee is scheduled to mark up Wednesday …

Governor Appeals to White House to Protect White Sands from Transmission Line

  • April 29, 2014
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New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez (R) is urging President Obama to intervene in a decision by the Interior Department’s (DOI) Bureau of Land Management over the planned route of a transmission line that calls for it to cut through the northern extension of White Sands Missile Range, N.M. Martinez’s letter to Obama echoed the concerns of Pentagon officials and the installation commander who earlier have said the planned route of SunZia’s 515-mile-long, high-voltage transmission line would interfere with testing and evaluation activities at White Sands …

House Panel Rejects Proposal to Trim Commissary Discount, Housing Allowance

  • April 29, 2014
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The House Armed Services’ Military Personnel Subcommittee failed to adopt the Pentagon’s plan to reduce direct subsidies for military grocery stores and slow increases in service members’ basic allowance for housing (BAH), according to the portion of the fiscal 2015 defense authorization bill the panel is scheduled to mark up on Wednesday. The changes in military pay and compensation included in the administration’s FY 2015 budget request were the Pentagon’s latest attempt to stem the growth of skyrocketing personnel costs and mitigate the impact of the 2011 Budget Control Act spending caps …

Partnerships Focus on Finding Veterans a Career

  • April 29, 2014
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While many initiatives across the nation are focused on placing transitioning service members into jobs, two promising programs aim to help veterans find careers outside of the military. The 11-year old Helmets to Hardhats job training program helps veterans obtain certification in the construction industry through a no-cost apprenticeship program. Veterans receive a certification they can transfer to any state and receive training in how to read a blueprint, among other skills …

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