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Defense Communities 360 Headlines

House Votes on Milcon Spending Bill Held up over Reliance on OCO Funds

  • April 29, 2015
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House Republicans postponed debate on the fiscal 2016 Military Construction-Veterans Affairs spending bill on Wednesday evening partially over fears that lawmakers would adopt amendments barring the use of funds from DOD’s overseas contingency operations (OCO) account to escape the statutory cap on defense spending. A series of amendments introduced by Reps. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) and Mick Mulvaney (R-S.C.) would have effectively eliminated $532 million in military construction funds allocated through the OCO, reported CQ Roll Call. Appropriators added the funds to the department’s war account, which isn’t subject to the Budget Control Act spending caps, as part of the GOP strategy to use the OCO as a relief valve for defense spending that doesn’t fit under the $523 billion cap on national security funds. But Van Hollen and Mulvaney called the shift of funds from DOD’s base budget to the OCO a “gimmick” to evade the caps …

Committee Postpones Debate over BRAC

  • April 29, 2015
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One of the most prominent supporters of the Pentagon’s request to conduct a new round of base closures withdrew an amendment Wednesday during deliberations over the fiscal 2016 defense authorization bill that would have authorized a BRAC round in 2017, as the Obama administration has requested. Rep. Adam Smith (D-Wash.), the ranking member of the House Armed Services Committee, intends to bring up the amendment on the floor when the House debates the authorization bill. The legislation marked up Wednesday explicitly bars DOD from carrying out a new BRAC round. Rob Wittman (R-Va.), chairman of the committee’s Readiness Subcommittee, and full Committee Chair Mac Thornberry (R-Texas) oppose the administration’s request for additional base closures, citing the overwhelming challenge of reopening a base once it is shuttered …

Army Dismantles Aviation Brigade Based in Germany

  • April 29, 2015
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The Ansbach, Germany-based 12th Combat Aviation Brigade will lose about 1,900 personnel and an estimated 2,850 family members as part of the Army’s aviation restructuring initiative in Europe, defense officials said Wednesday. The moves, which also include the relocation of 25 Apache attack helicopters from Germany, will force the department to maintain aviation capabilities in Germany using a continuous rotation to augment the remaining aviation assets and personnel …

San Antonio Fosters Cybersecurity Cluster

  • April 29, 2015
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San Antonio is cultivating the largest military and civilian federal cybersecurity hub outside the Washington metro region, marked by growth in the number of companies serving the market and highly-rated university programs, according to the San Antonio Economic Development Foundation. The military components of the city’s cybersecurity cluster are anchored by the 24th and 25th Air Force at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, and the National Security Agency Texas. The 24th Air Force safeguards key components of DOD’s information networks and employs more than 1,300 people. U.S. Cyber Command officials last year said up to 1,000 additional personnel will be coming to San Antonio in the next three years to support the department’s cybersecurity mission. “The strength of San Antonio’s cybersecurity industry is evident in the community’s commitment to grow and foster a sector for which it is ideally suited,” said John Dickson, principal at the San Antonio-based Denim Group …

Army Updates Rules Governing Utility Sales

  • April 29, 2015
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The Army last month released a long-awaited revision to its regulations governing the acquisition and sale of utilities services. The revised regulations, AR 420-41, took effect April 3 and incorporate significant changes in energy policy and technology occurring over the past 20 years, according to the Engineering and Support Center, Huntsville. The regulations cover Army policies and responsibilities for the acquisition and sale of utilities and related services for its domestic facilities, including electricity, natural or manufactured gas, water, sewage, thermal energy, chilled water, steam, hot water or high temperature hot water. The regulations also address renewable energy, onsite generation, demand response and energy financial incentives …

White House Veto Threats Signal Budget Showdown

  • April 28, 2015
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Veto threats issued Tuesday by the White House on two appropriations bills scheduled to go to the House floor this week, including the military construction–veterans affairs measure, leave uncertain how fiscal 2016 spending measures will go forward this year. The two statements from the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) indicate President Obama would not sign any spending bills that follow congressional Republicans’ plan to stick to the statutory spending caps while providing relief only to the Pentagon by stashing tens of billions of additional dollars in its war account. “The president’s senior advisers would recommend that he veto H.R. 2029 and any other legislation that implements the current Republican budget framework, which blocks the investments we need for our economy to compete in the future,” according to the statement of administration policy on the milcon spending bill. OMB issued the same veto threat for the energy-water measure …

Smith to Introduce BRAC Authorization Amendment Again

  • April 28, 2015
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For the second consecutive year, Rep. Adam Smith, the ranking member of the House Armed Services Committee, plans to offer an amendment to the annual defense policy bill approving a new round of base closures. As Smith did last year, he plans to introduce the amendment when the committee marks up the fiscal 2016 defense authorization bill today, but withdraw it in the hopes of receiving a vote on the House floor, reported CQ Roll Call. Last year, however, the House Rules Committee blocked Smith’s proposal from receiving a vote when the House debated the measure. In addition to authorizing a BRAC round in 2017, the amendment is expected to include some reforms to the base closure process. For instance, it would require the defense secretary to certify that base closures would result in net savings within six years …

Protection for Sage Grouse Could Jeopardize Training Facilities, House Committee Says

  • April 28, 2015
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Language in the House version of the fiscal 2016 defense authorization bill would bar the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service from increasing federal protection for the greater sage grouse, over concerns that listing the grassland bird as threatened or endangered would restrict the use of military training grounds and firing ranges in the western United States. A decision by the wildlife service to list the greater sage grouse likely would restrict military access to training grounds and firing ranges, reduce the number of exercises and limit the number of overflights and ground movements, the Army and Air Force has said, reported Stars and Stripes. The grouse’s habitat encompasses parts of 11 western states. Energy development and other activities threaten the black and brown bird by reducing the sagebrush it relies on for cover …

Policy Bill Would Trim Headquarters Spending, Personnel

  • April 28, 2015
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The Defense Department would need to cut the budget and personnel at its headquarters by 20 percent and save $10 billion over five years, under the fiscal 2016 defense authorization bill the House Armed Services Committee marks up today. The provision calls for the defense secretary to develop a plan for streamlining DOD management headquarters by requiring an accurate baseline accounting of headquarters budgets and personnel, and more specific information on actual and planned reductions in management headquarters. “The committee notes that the department has already claimed the savings associated with these reductions in the budget requests provided since the 20 percent goal was established in 2013,” according to a summary of the bill language …

American Water Upgrades Utilities at Hill AFB

  • April 28, 2015
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After being awarded a $288 million utilities privatization contract for Hill Air Force Base in January 2014, American Water has launched an initiative to invest $3.6 million in its first three contract years to upgrade water and wastewater systems at the installation in northern Utah. “The first year efforts include a major upgrade to one of our wells, as well as other replacements and infrastructure improvements,” Mark Persico, primary contracting officer representative for the contract, told Air Force Civil Engineer Center Public Affairs. “Over the next two to three months, projects include work on three sewage lift stations, 1,900 linear feet of sewer line, 13 pressure-reducing valves and replacement of 10 fire hydrants …

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