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Defense Communities 360 Headlines

Veterans Still Face Hurdles when Entering the Civilian Workforce

  • May 7, 2015
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Service members entering the civilian world continue to face challenges obtaining licenses and certifications for skills they used during their service. Combat medics, for example, typically will not qualify for basic health care jobs despite being highly trained. At a two-day American Legion conference last week, leaders from business and government looked for ways to smooth the transition for personnel seeking to enter the civilian workforce. Labor Secretary Tom Perez said the government has overhauled DOD’s job readiness program for service members leaving the military over the past two years, but said “unnecessary licensing barriers” still exist …

Twentynine Palms Honored for Sustainability Program

  • May 7, 2015
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Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center Twentynine Palms, located in the High Desert region of the Mojave Desert in Southern California, last month was named one of nine winners of the 2015 Secretary of Defense Environmental Awards for exceeding the department’s goals in energy reduction and water conservation and aggressively applying renewable energy solutions with an innovative and collaborative sustainability program. “Their efforts strengthen the department’s position as an environmental leader by integrating cost-effective environmental management with our national defense mission, thereby saving critical resources and helping to keep our country safe through sustained mission readiness,” Frank Kendall, undersecretary of defense for acquisition, technology and logistics, said in a statement announcing the winners …

Navy on Cusp of Reaching Renewable Energy Goals, Mabus Says

  • May 6, 2015
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The Navy is on course to consume 50 percent of its shore facilities’ electricity needs from renewable sources by the end of the year, Secretary Ray Mabus said last week. “We’re going to be there on our shore bases by this year,” purchasing a gigawatt of renewable energy, which will be half of shore energy power used, Mabus said during a National Press Club luncheon, reported Seapower Magazine. Generating one-half of its installations’ power needs from renewable sources would put the Navy well ahead of the Pentagon’s objectives for installations to shift toward alternative energy …

Defense Committee Embraces Installation-Community Partnerships

  • May 6, 2015
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The military services should take advantage of the relatively new authority allowing installations to enter into intergovernmental support agreements with local governments to provide, receive or share support services for most municipal functions, according to report language accompanying the fiscal 2016 defense authorization bill. “The [House Armed Services] Committee notes that the authority to enter into intergovernmental support agreements is broad and encourages the Department of Defense to leverage this authority in a manner that provides costs savings and improved services in support of Department of Defense installations, military personnel and their families,” the report states …

Budget Differences Put Military at Risk, Top Pentagon Officials Testify

  • May 6, 2015
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Defense Secretary Ash Carter reiterated the administration’s threat to veto legislation that adds $38 billion to DOD’s war account to get around the Budget Control Act spending caps, during a hearing Wednesday of the Senate Defense Appropriations Subcommittee. “While this approach clearly recognizes that the budget total we’ve requested is needed, the avenue it takes is just as clearly a road to nowhere,” Carter told the panel. If lawmakers stick to the path outlined in the compromise budget resolution adopted by both chambers over the past week, he said, the department again will need to make hasty and drastic decisions by Oct. 1 …

Dyess AFB Relies on Inmates for Beautification

  • May 6, 2015
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Since the beginning of April, low-risk inmates from the Taylor County Detention Center have been cleaning up common areas at Dyess Air Force Base, located outside of Abilene, Texas, under a partnership between the Air Force and the Taylor County Sheriff’s Office. The inmates, escorted by an officer, have been clearing areas of weeds and debris, reported BigCountryhomepage.com. The Air Force is receiving the inmates’ services for free. “We’re not paying them, they’re not paying us. In the future, I’m sure there will be some sort of cross training between some of our officers and some of their personnel, and maybe even do some more specialized training for some of our people,” said Taylor County Sheriff Ricky Bishop …

OMB Calls for Agencies to Cut Budgets by 5 Percent in FY’17

  • May 6, 2015
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The Office of Management and Budget has told all federal agencies, including the Defense Department, that their upcoming budgets should reflect a 5 percent reduction below the funding level programmed for fiscal 2017 in the current budget request submitted to Congress last February. “[The guidance] asks agencies to show how they would cut 5 percent below the FY 2017 levels shown in the FY 2016 budget, as well as how they would prioritize funding add-backs to those levels,” an OMB spokeswoman told CQ Roll Call. “This guidance represents the starting point in the budget process …

Senators Decry Spending Caps before Passing Budget Resolution

  • May 5, 2015
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The Senate passed the fiscal 2016 conference budget resolution Tuesday, after lawmakers from both parties used the debate to press their colleagues to strike a deal to lift the Budget Control Act spending caps. The budget blueprint adheres to the statutory caps on defense and domestic spending, but to sidestep the limit on the Pentagon’s budget, it stashes $38 billion in extra funds in DOD’s war account, which is not subject to the caps. The House passed the compromise resolution last week. The move sets up a showdown over next year’s budget with President Obama, who has threatened to veto any spending bill that sticks to the statutory caps or provides budget relief to DOD while leaving domestic programs at the capped levels …

Courtney Concerned about Impact of Opening up Family Housing Projects to General Public

  • May 5, 2015
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The Defense Department would need to brief the House Armed Services Committee on the potential impacts to host communities of its policy of opening family housing projects to the general public when occupancy rates drop below certain levels. The request, an amendment to the fiscal 2016 defense authorization bill added during last week’s committee markup, directs DOD to focus on community impacts stemming from changes in the number of non-federally connected civilian children residing in military housing. Officials also should develop recommendations to mitigate possible community impacts. A growing number of installations recently have expanded eligibility to live in family housing projects to DOD civilians, military retirees, and in some cases, the public as occupancy rates have dropped due to cuts in end strength …

Air Force’s Steven Zander Named as Finalist for Prestigious Civil Servant Award

  • May 5, 2015
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Steven Zander, who leads the Air Force Community Partnership Program, will be honored today on Capitol Hill as one of 30 finalists for the 2015 Samuel J. Heyman Service to America Medals. “The Service to America Medal finalists showcase the good that our public servants do each and every day behind-the-scenes on behalf of the American public,” Max Stier, president and CEO of Partnership for Public Service, told Federal News Radio. “They epitomize the true spirit and value of public service,” Stier said. Zander was nominated in the management excellence category for leading a team to develop innovative partnerships between Air Force bases and their neighboring communities to save money and strengthen the local base and community support in a wide range of service areas, including libraries, golf courses, snow removal, operation of a water/wastewater treatment plant, and construction/maintenance of ball fields …

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