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Defense Communities 360 Headlines

House, Senate Panel Call for Commission on Army Force Structure

  • May 26, 2014
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An independent commission would assess the proper end strength of the Army and mix between its active and reserve components, under separate versions of the fiscal 2015 defense authorization bill approved last week by the House and the Senate Armed Services Committee. A bipartisan amendment approved by the House would require the commission to explore — in addition to the Army’s size and mix — missions, force generation policies and how the structure should be modified to best fulfill mission requirements in a manner consistent with available resources …

DOD to Shed European Facilities

  • May 26, 2014
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The Pentagon will return 21 minor, non-operational sites to their host nations in Europe, an early result of its year-long review of excess infrastructure. DOD on Friday said the moves will save about $60 million annually, and will include outdated and excess family housing facilities, recreation sites and storage depots located across U.S. European Command. None of these adjustments affects existing force structure or military capabilities in Europe, according to Pentagon press secretary Rear Adm. John Kirby. And no major installations will be affected. As the department continues to carry out its European Infrastructure Consolidation review, it will look for additional excess sites to return to their host. “It’s an ongoing process and it will continue,” Kirby said, reported Stars and Stripes. “This is sort of the first tranche of what I suspect will be other changes to come.”

Zander’s Leadership Built Air Force’s Capacity to Carry out Installation-Community Partnerships

  • May 26, 2014
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Since legislation allowing installations and their host communities to share base support services was enacted in January 2013, Steven Zander has been the driving force behind the Air Force’s effort to take advantage of the new authority. Zander’s visionary leadership of the Air Force’s Community Partnership Initiative has been the key to creating partnerships opportunities across the country, but more importantly to piloting the process for identifying, implementing and sustaining collaboration between installations and the communities that support them …

Committee Hopes for Budget Deal that Lifts Defense Spending Caps

  • May 26, 2014
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Congress should find a bipartisan solution that relaxes the stringent spending caps on the Pentagon without increasing the deficit, according to the fiscal 2015 defense authorization bill approved last week by the Senate Armed Services Committee. The measure expresses the sense of the Senate that sequestration is having an adverse impact on the defense budget, according to a summary of the legislation provided by the committee. The bill text and committee report have not yet been released. The bill includes a number of provisions affecting installation policy, starting with language making clear that it is not authorizing a future BRAC round …

Senate Bill Would Aid BRAC Recovery through Changes to HUBZone Program

  • May 26, 2014
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A provision in the Senate version of the fiscal 2015 defense authorization bill would make it easier for tenants located at closed installations to qualify for the HUBZone program, a Small Business Administration initiative offering preferential access to federal procurements to businesses in distressed areas. The language, added by Maine Sen. Angus King (I), would expand the geographic boundaries of HUBZones at BRAC sites to include the town or county where the installation is located, or census tracts contiguous to the installation …

Solar Project Coming to Luke AFB under EUL with Arizona Utility

  • May 23, 2014
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The Air Force and Arizona Public Service have completed negotiations over an enhanced use lease (EUL) project that will result in the development of a photovoltaic solar energy project on a 102-acre parcel at Luke Air Force Base, the Air Force Civil Engineer Center announced this week. The local utility will construct, operate and maintain the project at the installation located northwest of Phoenix. The power generated would be used to meet Luke’s renewable energy generation goals. To date, AFCEC has closed eight EUL projects with considerations worth more than $250 million.

BRAC Analysis Will Give State a Leg Up, Colorado Lawmaker Says

  • May 23, 2014
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A study of Colorado’s installations to help it prepare for the next BRAC round mandated under a new state law will mark the first time Colorado has conducted an independent analysis of its military facilities. The analysis should provide the state with a competitive advantage, according to Colorado Senate President Morgan Carroll (D). “We are trying to mirror criteria we know they’re going to have to use to evaluate in next round of BRAC …

Murray Fights to Put Returning Veterans Back to Work

  • May 22, 2014
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Patty Murray has been a tireless advocate for veterans since joining the Senate, championing improved job training, expanded employment assistance and education benefits, increased funding for veterans health care and other benefits, housing assistance and accountability from the Veterans Affairs Department. The Washington senator’s efforts to address veteran unemployment culminated three years ago when legislation she authored, the VOW to Hire Heroes Act, was cleared by Congress. The landmark, bipartisan legislation was designed to help put veterans back to work by providing job skills training as they leave the military and by easing the training and certification process they face …

House Approves Authorization Bill despite Veto Threat

  • May 22, 2014
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The House easily passed the fiscal 2015 defense authorization bill 325-98 on Thursday, despite the looming threat of a presidential veto over its rejection of a host of cost-cutting proposals as well as language restricting the transfer of detainees from Guantánamo Bay. In an effort to build momentum to reverse the measure’s failure to include authorization for a BRAC round, compensation reforms and many of the Pentagon’s proposed force structure reductions, the White House lobbied Democrats prior to the final vote. By encouraging Democrats to vote against it, the White House hoped to strengthen its case for revisiting many of the proposals in the Senate version or in conference …

Senate Committee Reverses Pentagon Cost-Cutting Plans

  • May 22, 2014
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The Senate Armed Services Committee on Thursday voted to reverse many of the cutbacks the Pentagon proposed in its budget request, including plans to retire an aircraft carrier and the Air Force’s A-10 fleet, as it marked up the fiscal 2015 defense authorization bill. The panel, which approved the legislation 25-1, also voted to reject the Obama administration’s request to hold a new BRAC round in 2017 and to block much of an Army plan to shift the National Guard’s AH-64 Apache attack helicopters to its active component …

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