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Defense Communities 360 Headlines

State Seeks Data on Effectiveness of Military Transition Programs

  • June 9, 2014
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Over the past several years, the state of Washington and Joint Base Lewis-McChord have been investing steadily in programs to help separating service members locate employment, but finding data on the success of those initiatives is proving elusive, officials told Gov. Jay Inslee (D) last week at a quarterly meeting of the state’s Military Transition Council. The problem is common across DOD, reports the News Tribune. An April Government Accountability Office study, for example, found little data showing how veterans fared six months after leaving the military …

Eastern North Carolina Positioned to Weather Drawdown

  • June 9, 2014
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The pace of active-duty separations from North Carolina installations is projected to increase from 40,000 annually in the five years that ended in 2012 to more than 75,000 in the next five years, but officials on the state’s coast are confident the region’s economic health will continue to thrive. “I am certainly not saying we will not see an impact … but the community can endure this if done over a three- to four-year period,” said Richard Woodruff, city manager for Jacksonville …

Proposal to Open Exchanges Online to Most Veterans Would Preserve Program Benefits

  • June 9, 2014
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The Army and Air Force Exchange Service (AAFES) has proposed providing online access to all honorably discharged veterans as a way to extend the exchanges’ discounts to millions of deserving veterans while shoring up the program’s revenue stream amid downsizing and budget cuts. The plan, submitted last month by AAFES CEO Thomas Shull to the Pentagon, would help the exchange system sustain profits needed to support morale, welfare and recreation activities at a time when fewer personnel and families are living on installations …

Congress Likely to Resist Attempts to Close Bases outside of BRAC, House Staffer Says

  • June 9, 2014
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Congress most likely would oppose an attempt by the Pentagon to use its authority to close an installation outside of a BRAC round, a staff member for the House Armed Services Committee said last week at the Defense Communities National Summit. If the department tried to use section 2687, there would be “pushback” from lawmakers, Dave Sienicki, a professional staff member on the majority side of HASC, told attendees. Congress has “blunt weapons” to employ and likely would lower the workforce thresholds in the statute …

Power Purchase Agreements Could Support Regional Projects, Committee Suggests

  • June 9, 2014
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The Defense Department should build on its use of power purchase agreements (PPAs) at individual installations and consider regional initiatives, according to the report of the Senate Armed Services Committee accompanying the fiscal 2015 defense authorization bill that it passed last month. “Like housing privatization, regional or portfolio approaches in a contract that will provide energy to more than one military installation may offer the potential for greater savings and best value …

Five Installations Recognized for Outstanding Support of DOD Missions

  • June 8, 2014
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The Pentagon on Friday announced the 2014 recipients of the Commander in Chief’s Annual Award for Installation Excellence: U.S. Army Garrison Hawaii, Schofield Barracks, Hawaii; Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center Twentynine Palms, Calif.; Naval Station Norfolk, Va.; Altus Air Force Base, Okla.; and Defense Supply Center Richmond, Va. The award recognizes the outstanding and innovative efforts of the people who operate and maintain the nation’s military installations, according to a press release. “Installation excellence enables better mission performance and enhances the quality of life for service members and their families. Each winning installation succeeded in providing excellent working, housing and recreational conditions,” it said.

DOD to Review Services Acquisition Process, Official Says

  • June 8, 2014
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The Pentagon’s process for acquiring weapons systems garners a lot of attention, but DOD’s procurement of services soon will undergo scrutiny as well. “We spend $360 billion a year to acquire things and services, and services is about $180 billion of that spend,” Alan Estevez, principal deputy undersecretary of defense for acquisition, technology and logistics, told attendees last week at the Defense Communities National Summit. DOD has developed a highly structured process for buying aircraft, satellites and other equipment, but services procurement so far has eluded having a highly regulated system imposed on it …

Senate Appropriators Question whether European Basing Study Will Generate Savings

  • June 8, 2014
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The Senate Appropriations Committee is concerned that any monetary savings generated by DOD’s effort to consolidate its European footprint could be offset by large expenditures on military construction in an echo of the lesson most lawmakers have drawn from the last round of base closures. In the report accompanying the fiscal 2015 military construction and veterans affairs spending bill it passed last month, the panel questions the department’s intention to build a joint intelligence analysis center at Royal Air Force Base Croughton in the United Kingdom estimated to cost in excess of $300 million. The department asks for $92.2 million in its FY 2015 budget request for the project’s first phase …

Air Force Continues to Explore New Ways to Provide Installation Support

  • June 8, 2014
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The Air Force is considering alternatives ways to manage its installations as officials craft a plan that likely would move the service toward a more centralized approach. Speaking Friday at the Defense Communities National Summit, Brig. Gen. Timothy Green, the Air Force’s director of civil engineers and deputy chief of staff for logistics, installations and mission support, acknowledged that his predecessor, now a two-star general assigned as a special assistant to the commander of Air Force Materiel Command, is leading the initiative. “She’s been asked to look at the art of the possible,” Green said …

BRAC Not Right around the Corner, House Staffer Says

  • June 8, 2014
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Citing unanswered questions about the level of surplus DOD infrastructure and the extent to which the military’s force structure will come down, if at all, a staff member for the House Armed Services Committee (HASC) expressed doubt Friday that Congress would approve a new round of base closures in the near term. The Pentagon has requested permission each of the past three years to conduct a BRAC round so it can shed some of its estimated 24 percent excess capacity. But Dave Sienicki, a professional staff member on the majority side of HASC, told the audience at the Defense Communities National Summit that he was skeptical of that figure because the department hasn’t assessed its excess capacity since 1999. “[That figure] doesn’t make sense to me …

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