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Defense Communities 360 Headlines

Texas Lawmakers Advance Measure to Bolster Support for Defense Communities

  • February 26, 2015
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Texas would be able to provide more financial assistance to communities trying to support a neighboring military installation or cope with a downsizing, under legislation moving in the state Senate. On Wednesday, the Veterans Affairs and Military Installations Committee passed a bill raising the cap on grants from the Defense Economic Adjustment Assistance Grant program from $2 million to $5 million, reported the San Antonio Express-News. Senate Bill 318 now heads to the full Senate for consideration. The cap needs to be higher because of Texas’ population growth since the program was created in 1997, said state Sen. Juan “Chuy” Hinojosa (D), the bill’s author. It also would help Texas compete with other states fighting to preserve their military bases …

Leaders Highlight Alaska’s Strategic Advantages at Army Listening Sessions

  • February 26, 2015
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Almost 1,000 residents showed up at listening sessions in Anchorage and Fairbanks this week to tell the Army why Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson and Fort Wainwright should be spared cuts as the service determines how to realign its forces to eliminate up to 70,000 active-duty soldiers by fiscal 2020. At both public meetings, local leaders emphasized the state’s strategic location, vast training space, community support for the military and the quality of local schools. Alaska has more veterans per capita than any other state because it’s a great place to live, said Gov. Bill Walker (I). When considering Alaska’s strategic importance, one needs to look at Alaska from the top down, as on a globe, not a two-dimensional map, Walker said …

Native Landscaping, Drip Irrigation Slashes Water Use at Laughlin AFB

  • February 25, 2015
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With this month’s completion of the first phase of a water conservation project at Laughlin Air Force Base, Texas, the installation is one step closer to saving more than 61 million gallons of water per year and an estimated $500,000 in annual utility and maintenance costs. The project employs xeriscaping, the process of removing conventional landscaping and replacing it with native, drought-tolerant plants and rock features, and a centrally controlled drip line irrigation system. The approach has been carried out at a number of other Air Force installations, reported AFCEC Public Affairs. Prior to the project, Laughlin consumed an average of 216 million gallons of potable water each year, much of it through conventional manual irrigation of base landscaping …

Navy Agrees to Cover Cost of Filtering Water outside Closed Philadelphia-Area Bases

  • February 25, 2015
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The Navy could spend up to $12 million to filter contaminated drinking water near two former installations in suburban Philadelphia, Naval Air Station Joint Reserve Base Willow Grove and Naval Air Warfare Center Warminster, after elevated levels of perfluorinated chemicals were found last year in the wells of several nearby towns. The Navy signed an agreement with the Warminster Municipal Authority to install a carbon filtration system on three contaminated wells in the city. Horsham has asked the Navy for a similar system for five of its wells. Warrington has not yet developed a plan for addressing contamination in three of its wells, reported the Philadelphia Inquirer. Until the filters are in place, the three municipalities will continue buying water from neighboring towns, according to the story. The Navy has agreed to pay for cleanup costs but the Environmental Protection Agency is investigating whether there are other sources for the contamination, which stems from industrial products such as firefighting foam.

State of Readiness Approaches Troublesome Levels, Briefing Reveals

  • February 24, 2015
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The overall readiness of the nation’s military has been severely degraded, with units scheduled for deployment receiving a disproportionate share of available resources, Pentagon officials told the House Armed Services Readiness Subcommittee during a recent closed-door briefing. “While justifiable, this imbalance will eventually yield an unviable and technologically inferior fighting force and challenges our ability to win decisively against growing adversaries,” according to one of the briefing charts from the unclassified presentation obtained by CQ. Relief stemming from the two-year Ryan-Murray budget deal reached in December 2013 has helped restore some of the readiness decline but absent further relief from the Budget Control Act spending caps, readiness levels will continue to erode …

Columbus-Area Lawmakers Push Measure to Support Air Base

  • February 24, 2015
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State lawmakers from Columbus, Miss., are urging their colleagues in the Senate to push across legislation authorizing Mississippi to issue up to $25 million in bonds to fund the extension of a recreational path from the city to Columbus Air Force Base. The measure, which passed the House by a 118-2 vote last week, is an effort by area lawmakers to bolster quality of life for personnel and their families at the base. HB1453 would pay for an existing path — which includes separate tracks for walking, jogging and biking — to be extended by 14 miles. The installation is about 10 miles north of the city …

Wiregrass Region Attends Listening Session to Support ‘Home of Army Aviation’

  • February 24, 2015
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An overflow crowd of more than 1,600 residents turned out Monday to support Fort Rucker for an Army listening session held to gather input as the Army figures out how to shrink its active-duty end strength from 490,000 to 420,000 by fiscal 2020. Many attendees wore shirts with pictures of helicopters and the words “Fort Rucker: the heartbeat of the Wiregrass.” The Army is contemplating cutting a maximum of 2,500 soldiers and civilian employees from the southeastern Alabama post, losses that would affect the surrounding region, including Enterprise, Daleville, Ozark and Dothan. “When you look at the impact of 3,000 direct jobs and 15,000 indirectly throughout the Wiregrass, that is devastating,” Enterprise Mayor Kenneth Boswell …

FOAC Seeking Member Input on Legislative Ideas

  • February 24, 2015
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The ADC Federal Outreach Advisory Committee (FOAC) meets throughout the year to discuss the top federal legislative matters. The FOAC subcommittees for active-base communities and redevelopment communities will meet during Installation Innovation Forum 2015 in Monterey in March, and both are seeking member input on legislative ideas. If you have suggestions for legislative ideas the subcommittees should discuss, please contact ADC senior policy advisor Paul Kalomiris at pkalomiris@defensecommunities.org.

Ohio Law Requires Public Colleges to Recognize Military Experience

  • February 24, 2015
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A new Ohio law will require state universities to count veterans’ military experience toward earning college credit, a critical step in helping veterans obtain a degree. Under the legislation, the state will create standards for awarding credit for military experience. It also requires the schools to award the credit for free, reports Military.com. More significantly, the measure will make it easier for veterans to connect with colleges in Ohio, according to Jeff Robinson, spokesman for the Ohio Board of Regents. “In some cases, a veteran may not know the first point of contact on a campus for help, or that there is even help available specifically for them …

Malmstrom AFB Solicitation for EUL Fails to Attract Proposals

  • February 24, 2015
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A recent solicitation from Malmstrom Air Force Base to lease a 42-acre parcel via an enhanced use lease failed to attract any proposals. Installation officials had published a request for information for prospective developers, even though its family housing partner, Balfour Beatty Communities, retained the right of first refusal, reported the Great Falls Tribune. Balfour Beatty now is considering using the property for base housing, even though the firm did not respond to Malmstrom’s request. Balfour’s proposal could be connected to its housing project or it could pursue an enhanced use lease, according to Mark Coleman, Malmstrom’s real property officer. Base officials believed an enhanced use lease for the tract would benefit the Air Force Community Partnership Program, the service’s effort to take advantage of the new authority allowing installations to enter into intergovernmental support agreements with their host community, according to the story.

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