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Defense Communities 360 Headlines

Defense Budget Insufficient to Meet Strategic Guidance, Independent Panel Concludes

  • December 2, 2014
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The defense budget is inadequate to meet the Pentagon’s strategic requirements, even in the absence of threats which emerged over the past year, two members of an independent panel formed to assess the 2014 Quadrennial Defense Review told the House Armed Services Committee Tuesday. Michèle Flournoy, a former undersecretary of defense for policy, said the Budget Control Act spending caps pose “a threat to national security” and could jeopardize the lives of service members if another conflict were to arise. Congress should approve the department’s proposals to slash spending through a new BRAC round and reform military compensation …

Local, State Officials Move ahead with Plans to Purchase Properties outside Robins AFB

  • December 2, 2014
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The state of Georgia is targeting mobile home parks in attempt to lower residential density as it ramps up its effort to purchase properties surrounding the airfield at Robins Air Force Base. The state effort, which is focused on northern Houston County, follows a similar initiative in southern Bibb County to purchase properties near Robins affected by aircraft noise, reports the Telegraph. The state, Bibb, Houston and Peach counties, and DOD are spending a total of $29.8 million to limit encroachment around the base in Middle Georgia …

House, Senate Resolve Impasse over Authorization Bill

  • December 1, 2014
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Leaders of the House and Senate Armed Services committees reached agreement on a compromise fiscal 2015 defense authorization bill, after breaking an impasse over two Pentagon proposals intended to trim the cost of military compensation. Sen. Carl Levin (D-Mich.), chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, announced the breakthrough on Monday, but did not say how the issues had been resolved. “We compromised,” Levin told reporters Monday evening. “It takes two, not just to tango, but to compromise.” He indicated details would be released on Tuesday …

House GOP Searches for Spending Bill Sweet Spot

  • December 1, 2014
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House Republicans on Tuesday will try to reach a consensus on a strategy for wrapping up fiscal 2015 appropriations before the current continuing resolution runs out Dec. 11. Republican leaders are trying to find an approach that satisfies conservatives eager to block President Obama’s executive action on immigration as well as other lawmakers unwilling to risk another federal-wide shutdown. One proposal that could strike that balance calls for funding most government agencies through a year-long omnibus, with a short-term CR for immigration-related programs …

Compensation Panel Not Aiming to Solve Pentagon Budget Challenges, Commissioner Says

  • December 1, 2014
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The Defense Department should not pin its hopes on finding major budget savings in the final report of a nine-member commission established by Congress to review military compensation, according to one member of the commission. “We’re going to work on what’s important to properly recruit and retain and resource the force necessary for the war after next,” former Congressman Stephen Buyer (R), who represented Indiana for nine terms, told Stars and Stripes. “I have told leadership at the Pentagon that their present budget issue is not my problem. Don’t look to me to solve your present budget problem. If you’ve got issues with sequester, then you deal with that with the Congress. That’s not my job …

New Access Policy at Ft. Belvoir Weeds Out Significant Chunk of Visitors

  • December 1, 2014
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The new access policy adopted at Fort Belvoir has helped boost security at the northern Virginia post by allowing security personnel to identify a significant number of visitors with criminal records. Twenty percent of visitors have criminal records and 4 percent have a felony conviction or other issue barring them from the installation, reported the Belvoir Eagle. “By screening people before they come on the installation, it’s enabling us to weed out some of the bad guys, some of the folks who do not need to be on the installation …

BLM Assessment Keeps Southwestern Transmission Line on Track

  • December 1, 2014
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The Bureau of Land Management last week found no significant environmental impact from burying a five-mile section of a proposed high-voltage transmission line that traverses the northern extension of White Sands Missile Range, N.M., bringing the 515-mile project one step close to gaining final approval. The proposal to bury a section of the transmission line was part of a compromise reached in May between the Defense Department and BLM to settle a dispute between the developer of the SunZia project and supporters of White Sands over the line’s potential to impact testing and evaluation activities at the missile range. If no significant concerns are raised during the 30-day public comment period, BLM could move forward with a record of decision in January …

House Republican Plan Calls for Omnibus to Fund Most Agencies

  • November 30, 2014
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House Republican leaders are expected on Tuesday to propose funding most government agencies through a year-long omnibus, with a short-term continuing resolution for immigration-related programs. The latest House GOP proposal to confront President Obama over the unilateral actions he took last month shielding millions of illegal immigrants from deportation would not necessarily avert a government shutdown, however, as House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) last week said Democrats would not support such a plan. “We will not be enablers to a Republican government shutdown, partial or otherwise …

Top Candidate for Pentagon Post Drops Out; Johnson Added to the Mix

  • November 30, 2014
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Michèle Flournoy, one of the frontrunners to replace Chuck Hagel as defense secretary, removed herself from contention last week, while at least one other candidate has emerged. Flournoy was undersecretary of defense for policy from 2009 to 2012 and now is CEO for the Center for a New American Security. She had been considered for the job two years ago before President Obama opted for Hagel. Flournoy is the second top-flight candidate to drop out of the running following last Monday’s announcement that President Obama had accepted Hagel’s resignation. Sen. Jack Reed (D-R.I.), who is in line to become ranking member on the Senate Armed Services Committee, also said he wasn’t interested in taking the helm at the Pentagon …

Hagel Remains Focused on Pressing Challenges, DOD Official Says

  • November 30, 2014
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Despite tendering his resignation after losing the confidence of the president, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel will continue to press ahead with the department’s most critical priorities until his successor is confirmed by the Senate, Pentagon Press Secretary Rear Adm. John Kirby told reporters last week. “We’ve got huge budget uncertainty that we’re facing. And one of the things that he’ll be working on over the holiday break is work that FY ’16, fiscal year ’16 budget submission. There’s a lot of work to do …

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