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Defense Communities 360 Headlines

Officials Gather for Groundbreaking for 30MW Solar Array at Ft. Benning

  • April 20, 2015
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Officials from the Army, the General Services Administration and Georgia Power held a groundbreaking at Fort Benning, Ga., on Friday for a $75 million, 30-megawatt solar photovoltaic array. The Fort Benning solar facility is the first of three Georgia Power solar projects in development at Georgia Army installations; the other two solar farms will be constructed at Forts Gordon and Stewart. The array at Fort Benning, located in Columbus, will feature 136,900 panels covering about 200 acres. The farm is scheduled to begin operation in 2016, providing about 40 percent of the post’s peak electrical demand …

House Appropriators Plan to Allocate Extra War Funds

  • April 19, 2015
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The House Appropriations Committee plans to allocate the $38 billion in funding added to DOD’s overseas contingency operations (OCO) account in an effort to sidestep the statutory cap on defense spending, according to the committee’s draft spending allocations. The committee’s fiscal 2016 spending plan includes $96 billion for OCO, with $88.4 billion allocated for the defense spending measure, $532 million for military construction and $7.1 billion for the State Department’s budget …

N.C. Delegation Will Continue to Oppose Effort to Shutter Airlift Wing

  • April 19, 2015
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North Carolina Sen. Thom Tillis said he would continue to fight the Air Force’s plan to deactivate Fort Bragg’s 440th Airlift Wing after officials last week released a long-waited reported justifying the move. The freshman senator said the plan to deactivate the 440th — an Air Force Reserve unit based at Fort Bragg’s Pope Field — would hinder the ability of airborne units at the post to quickly deploy to global hotspots. “Why on Earth would we jeopardize the training and readiness in that context — the only place on the planet where we do that? It just doesn’t make sense to me …

With Fewer Casualties, Army Plans to Close 40 Percent of Warrior Transition Units

  • April 19, 2015
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The Army will close 10 of its 25 warrior transition units by summer 2016 as the number of war-related casualties declines, officials announced Friday. Most of the closing locations serve 50 or fewer soldiers. The transition units will remain on installations where there are large concentrations of soldiers, and they will continue to be co-located with major Army medical centers. “We addressed the need at the height of conflict, and we are addressing the need as we come back down,” said Col. Chris Toner, commander of Warrior Transition Command …

Subcommittee Chairman Appears to Favor Consolidation Plan for Exchanges, Commissaries

  • April 19, 2015
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After gaining support among top DOD leaders, a plan to consolidate the military’s commissary and exchange systems now may be favored by a key lawmaker responsible for personnel policy. Rep. Joe Heck, chairman of the House Armed Services Military Personnel Subcommittee, has been reviewing the report of the Military Compensation and Retirement Modernization Commission, which in January called for consolidating DOD’s three exchange services with the Defense Commissary Agency into a single Defense Resale Activity …

State Approves 13MW Solar Project at Camp Lejeune

  • April 19, 2015
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The North Carolina Utilities Commission last week approved Duke Energy’s plan to construct a 13-megawatt solar farm at Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune. The farm will cover 80 acres, and connect to the electric grid at a Duke Energy Progress substation on the base. Power generated by the project will be available to the utility’s customers, with Camp Lejeune continuing to purchase energy from Duke. The solar array, the company’s first at a military installation, is expected to go online this year …

Funding Needed to Alleviate Gridlock outside Bases, Washington Lawmaker Testifies

  • April 16, 2015
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Many installations that experienced mission growth following the last BRAC round are still grappling with traffic congestion outside their gates, an urgent issue that requires dedicated funding from Congress, Washington Rep. Denny Heck (D) told the House Defense Appropriations Subcommittee during its annual “member day” hearing Wednesday. At the installation Heck represents, Joint Base Lewis-McChord, a disproportionate reliance on I-5 for access to the base has resulted in gridlock on a regular basis in South Puget Sound. The problem is not unique to the region as many installations, particularly in urban areas, are still coping with the aftermath of the 2005 round of BRAC and short-term mission growth …

Procedural Hurdle to Extra Defense Spending May Not Survive Compromise Budget Talks

  • April 16, 2015
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The compromise version of the fiscal 2016 budget resolution may jettison a procedural hurdle that could block the Senate from allocating $38 billion in extra funding stashed in DOD’s overseas contingency operations account (OCO). The funds were added to the war account in both chambers’ budget blueprints as a way of eluding the $523 billion Budget Control Act cap on national security spending. The Senate’s version, though, includes a point of order on spending from the OCO that exceeds $58 billion, the original amount requested by the Obama administration …

Tampa Leaders Look to Expand Tanker Mission at MacDill AFB

  • April 16, 2015
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Tampa leaders are working to bring KC-135 Stratotankers displaced from installations that receive the Air Force’s next generation aerial tanker to MacDill Air Force Base in an effort to demonstrate the base has the capacity to handle more aircraft. MacDill, which currently has 16 KC-135s, was passed over in 2013 to become one of the first bases to receive the KC-46A Pegasus. That competition would have brought 36 jets to MacDill, and local officials want to show that the base can support a greater number of aircraft …

Arizona Lawmaker Fighting to Save the A-10

  • April 16, 2015
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Arizona Rep. Martha McSally is working with fellow lawmakers and Republican leaders to find $500 million to keep the Air Force’s fleet of A-10 attack jets in service. One year after Congress offered the A-10 a temporary reprieve from an Air Force plan to retire the fleet, the first-term lawmaker is crafting language for the fiscal 2016 defense authorization bill to keep the Warthog flying. “I feel like I have made a very strong case and I believe that the leadership understands the importance of the A-10, so now we’re doing the sausage-making to make sure that happens …

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