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Defense Communities 360 Headlines

Congress Needs to Maintain Vigilant Oversight of Pentagon, Thornberry Says

  • January 20, 2015
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There are multiple reasons why lawmakers would ignore many of the Obama administration’s recent belt-tightening reforms such as holding a new BRAC round, Rep. Mac Thornberry (R-Texas), the new chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, said Tuesday. Thornberry referred to a number of DOD proposals to trim force structure, including retiring the A-10 close air support aircraft, not refueling the U.S.S. George Washington aircraft carrier and shutting down the assembly line for M1 Abrams tanks. “Sometimes the Pentagon is penny-wise, pound-foolish. Sometimes there is parochialism within the Pentagon …

New Guidelines to Improve Access to Installations for Troop Support Nonprofits

  • January 20, 2015
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Nonprofits providing support to military personnel and their families should find it easier to gain access to installations, under a memo recently issued by Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel. The memo emphasizes the importance of relationships with military support organizations and directs senior military leaders and installation commanders to implement uniform procedures to ease access for those groups, reported DOD News. Hagel said he is “directing installation commanders to be welcoming and supportive. … Consistent with mission requirements and security constraints, installation commanders are to provide even/support-driven access, support, collaboration, available space and certain logistical support to those organizations …

Regional Airport Expansion Would Not Hamper Robins AFB, Officials Say

  • January 20, 2015
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A proposal to expand the main runway at Middle Georgia Regional Airport would be unlikely to interfere with operations at nearby Robins Air Force Base, according to local officials. “It would take a tremendous amount of increase in traffic to create any issues at all. I don’t see that happening,” Doug Faour, manager of the Middle Georgia Regional Airport, told the Macon Telegraph. “What I see is the runway extension bringing jobs that are positively going to affect everybody …

Oregon Delegation Presses Pentagon to Transfer Chemical Depot

  • January 20, 2015
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Oregon’s congressional delegation is urging DOD to go ahead with an existing proposal to transfer thousands of acres at the former Umatilla Chemical Depot to the site’s local redevelopment authority at no cost, after learning the Army is reconsidering the plan. “We are writing to express our strong concerns about reports that the U.S. Army may seek to charge the communities around Umatilla to receive property as part of the ongoing Base Realignment Closure (BRAC) process at the Umatilla Army Depot,” Sens. Ron Wyden (D) and Jeff Merkley (D) and Rep. Greg Walden (R) said in a letter sent last week to Defense Secretary Charles Hagel. “If accurate, this would be a terribly disappointing development in a process that has otherwise been a model for transfers under the BRAC process …

Colorado LRA Narrows List of Consultants to Prepare Reuse Plan

  • January 20, 2015
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The LRA for the Pueblo Chemical Depot has selected three nationally known firms as finalists to craft a reuse plan for the Colorado site. The finalists are: Burns & McDonnell; Matrix Design Group; and Weston Solutions. The contract with PuebloPlex will call for the winning firm to assess the infrastructure on 16,000 acres of the 23,000-acre property that was declared surplus in 2013. The firm also would perform an economic analysis of Pueblo County, identify available buildings and provide a market analysis to determine how much the assets are worth. The LRA plans to interview each consultant teams on Jan. 29, with a final selection scheduled for Jan. 30, reported the Pueblo Chieftain. The Army will retain control of about 7,000 acres at the depot until it finishes destroying mustard-agent weapons that have been stored there for about 60 years.

Decision to Expand Training Area over Northern Plains Would Bolster Ellsworth AFB

  • January 19, 2015
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The Air Force on Friday approved a plan to expand military training airspace over parts of four states in the northern Plains, a move that would enhance the military value of Ellsworth Air Force Base, S.D., but that has been opposed by lawmakers in other states over the impact of low-level flights on agriculture and the safety of general aviation. The Air Force’s proposal would more than triple the area of the 28,000-acre Powder River Training Complex, which is located over portions of the Dakotas, Montana and Wyoming. “After nearly nine years working with the Air Force on this important expansion project, I’m pleased we’ve entered the final step to ensuring our Air Force pilots and personnel have the adequate airspace to perform the critical training they need in conditions that more closely resemble combat missions,” said Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.) …

Thornberry Hopeful Lawmakers Will Relax Spending Cap

  • January 19, 2015
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Rep. Mac Thornberry (R-Texas), the new chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, said he was optimistic Congress would relax the stringent cap on defense spending for fiscal 2016, but at the same time offered no clear strategy for achieving that aim. “I think we will find some way to improve the situation and I think we definitely should,” Thornberry told CQ last week. “And I really believe that most Republicans and Democrats in the House also agree with that — that there needs to be a fix to sequestration,” he said. The chairman acknowledged, however, that it is not clear how the two parties could strike a deal to lift the defense spending cap in the 2011 Budget Control Act …

Three Republicans Added to House Milcon Spending Panel

  • January 19, 2015
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The GOP lineup for the House Military Construction and Veterans Affairs Appropriations Subcommittee will feature three new members, including the chairman, Charlie Dent (Pa.). The other two new Republican members are David Joyce (Ohio) and David Jolly (Fla.). Committee Chairman Hal Rogers (R-Ky.) announced the GOP rosters for each of the 12 subcommittees last week. Dent’s district stretches from Harrisburg to Allentown, and includes Fort Indiantown Gap, an active National Guard Training Center which serves as the headquarters for the Pennsylvania Department of Military and Veterans Affairs. The Republican roster for the House Military Construction Appropriations Subcommittee includes: Charlie Dent (Pa.), chairman; Alan Nunnelee (Miss.); Jeff Fortenberry (Neb.); Tom Rooney (Fla.); Martha Roby (Ala.); David Joyce (Ohio); and David Jolly (Fla.).

LRA Completes Demolition of Aging Facilities at Former New York Air Base

  • January 19, 2015
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More than 30 years after the federal government shuttered Hancock Air Force Base located outside of Syracuse, N.Y., the economic development organization responsible for turning it into Hancock Airpark has finished demolishing aging military infrastructure at the site that it has no plans to reuse. Last month, demolition crews finished the removal of 85 buildings containing more than 200 apartments, reported Syracuse.com. CenterState CEO had considered renovating the housing but never was able to obtain funding to go ahead, said Lori Dietz, CenterState’s vice president of operations. The state funded the $2.4 million demolition …

Louisville Mayor Prescribes Comprehensive Plan to End Veteran Homelessness

  • January 19, 2015
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Louisville, Ky., is in the midst of a far-reaching effort to end veteran homelessness by the end of the year. Fifteen local agencies already have raised $10 million for the initiative, which calls for substance abuse counseling, debt management, funding for housing needs and many other services to help homeless veterans get back on their feet, reported WDRB. Mayor Greg Fischer believes the effort will find permanent housing for 360 homeless veterans. The initiative, Rx: Housing Veterans, is part of the national campaign to end veteran homelessness called Zero 2016. “It’s not just a hand-out but a hand-up to a better quality of life, a better way of life and you know what? It’s just the right thing to do,” said Kentucky Veterans Affairs Commissioner Heather French Henry. “They served us; it’s time for us to serve them.”

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