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Defense Communities 360 Headlines

Obama’s Attempt to Overturn Sequester Runs into Republican Roadblock

  • January 30, 2015
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Congressional Republicans have made it clear they will not support President Obama’s plan to pay for a fiscal 2016 budget request that tops the statutory spending caps by $74 billion through an unspecified combination of spending cuts and the elimination of tax breaks. Many Republicans would join Obama and Democrats in lifting the Budget Control Act spending cap for the Pentagon, but they are unwilling to provide higher spending for domestic programs as well, reported CQ. An aide to House Budget Chairman Tom Price (R-Ga.) outright rejected the budget proposal which the president is scheduled to submit to Congress on Monday …

Commission Urges Retaining Commissaries, Improving Quality-of-Life Programs

  • January 30, 2015
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The final report of the Military Compensation and Retirement Modernization Commission devoted seven of its 15 recommendations to changes benefitting quality of life for service members and their families, including several that go beyond a strict definition of pay and benefits. Two recommendations that had not been previously revealed would bolster service members’ transition to civilian life and better support military children …

Support for Army’s Presence in Hawaii Faces Opposition

  • January 29, 2015
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At an Army listening session held near Schofield Barracks on Wednesday, the installation’s supporters easily outnumbered opponents but even the presence of only a small number of residents calling for the Army to downsize may have distracted from Chamber of Commerce Hawaii’s goal of showing overwhelming support for the Army. The chamber, which organized a “Keep Hawaii’s Heroes” campaign, said that worst case scenario would strip $1.35 billion in economic activity from the Honolulu region. To demonstrate support across Oahu for the Army, the chamber pointed to the 40,000 signatures it collected on behalf of the Army’s presence in Hawaii …

Senate Milcon Panel Features Six New Lawmakers

  • January 29, 2015
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The lineup of the Senate Military Construction and Veterans Affairs Appropriations Subcommittee in the new Congress remains largely intact at the senior levels but includes a number of new Republican and Democratic lawmakers. The most significant change is that Mark Kirk (R-Ill.), who had been the ranking member, is now the chairman. Jon Tester (D-Mont.) takes over the top Democratic slot for the retiring Tim Johnson (D-S.D.). New Republicans on the milcon panel include John Boozman (R-Ark.); Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.); and Bill Cassidy (R-La.). New Democrats include Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii); Tammy Baldwin (D-Wisc.); and Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) …

To Protect Wright-Patterson AFB, Dayton Leaders Focus on Big Picture

  • January 29, 2015
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Wright-Patterson Air Force Base benefited significantly from the last round of base closures and Dayton, Ohio, leaders are aiming to ensure DOD budget constraints don’t cut into those gains. In the current environment, local officials are just as concerned with preserving the installation’s current missions as securing new ones. “This is about the long-term relationship we have with the Air Force, and not a mission-by-mission effort,” Jim Hoagland, president and CEO of the Dayton Development Coalition, told the Dayton Business Journal. “Of course we want some of those new missions but we’re going to stay focused on the big picture, protecting those major assets …

McCain, Service Chiefs Warn about Impact of Spending Caps

  • January 28, 2015
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The nation’s top military officers on Wednesday bemoaned the impact of the Budget Control Act spending caps on national security, warning lawmakers they will not be able to carry out the nation’s defense strategy if Congress fails to offer any relief from pending sequestration. Army Chief of Staff Gen. Raymond Odierno told the Senate Armed Services Committee his force is as unready as at any other point in its 239-year history, with only 33 percent of the service’s brigades “ready to the extent we would expect them to be if asked to fight.” If sequestration is imposed starting in fiscal 2016, Odierno said the Army will need to cut 60,000 soldiers after already eliminating 80,000 troops in recent years …

Courtney Becomes Top Democrat on House Seapower Panel

  • January 28, 2015
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Connecticut Rep. Joe Courtney (D) will serve as the ranking member on the House Armed Services’ Seapower and Projection Forces Subcommittee in the 114th Congress, replacing Mike McIntyre (D-N.C.) who retired, according to the full subcommittee roster released Wednesday. Courtney’s district includes Naval Submarine Base New London and the General Dynamics Electric Boat manufacturing facility in Groton, and the Coast Guard Academy in New London. One other Armed Services panel has a new ranking member, with Rep. Jackie Speier (Calif.) taking the top Democratic spot on the Oversight and Investigations subcommittee. Rep. Niki Tsongas (Mass.) had been the ranking member …

North Country Gears up for Army Town Hall

  • January 28, 2015
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Local leaders in northern New York are getting ready for the March 20 listening session with the Army intended to provide officials input about community support for Fort Drum before the service decides how to shrink its end strength by 70,000 soldiers by fiscal 2020. A media campaign to alert the public about the event will kick off next week, reported the Watertown Daily Times. On the day of the meeting, the Fort Drum Regional Liaison Organization is planning to hold a number of small-group events for visiting officials throughout the day highlighting the community’s links to the post across a number of services, including education and health care …

Commission Recommendations to Benefit Military Families

  • January 28, 2015
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Several recommendations from the congressionally established commission reviewing military compensation are expected to support military families, according to sources familiar with the final report. The Military Compensation and Retirement Modernization Commission will recommend DOD build more child development centers on installations, a response to military families’ long-standing complaints about the lack of sufficient child care, reported Military Times. The commission reportedly will call for preserving existing commissary benefits, including selling items at cost plus a 5 percent surcharge …

Housing Partner to Expand Eligibility at Camp Lejeune

  • January 28, 2015
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Atlantic Marine Corps Communities is opening up family housing at Camp Lejeune, N.C., to military retirees, surviving spouses of active-duty and retired service members, and DOD employees and contractors. The move is intended to lower the housing project’s vacancy rate. Many installations across DOD have similarly opened their doors to residents who are not active-duty military personnel. “Lejeune is one of the last few installations that hasn’t opened to these categories until now,” Alanna King, marketing manager for Atlantic Marine, told the Jacksonville Daily News …

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