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Defense Communities 360 Headlines

Authorization Bill Loosens Restrictions on Guam Buildup Spending

  • December 16, 2014
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A freeze on spending construction funds from the Pentagon and the government of Japan on projects in Guam needed to accommodate an influx of Marines would be lifted under the final version of the fiscal 2015 defense authorization bill. In recent years, leaders of the Senate Armed Services Committee had barred the United States from spending money needed to prepare Guam for the realignment of about 5,000 Marines from Okinawa due to concerns over the lack of a DOD implementation plan for the buildup. Japan so far has contributed $1 billion out of the $3 billion it pledged to support the move …

Air Force Not Planning Involuntary Force Reductions in FY’15, James Says

  • December 16, 2014
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The Air Force will not go ahead with involuntary force reductions planned for fiscal 2015, Air Force Secretary Deborah Lee James said Tuesday during an online forum. “[Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Welsh and I] are in agreement that enough is enough,” James said as she neared her first anniversary at her post. “We have reduced far enough. We will not go lower, and we will fight to hold on to the numbers now that we have.” In 2014, the Air Force selected more than 13,000 airmen for voluntary separation and more than 6,000 to leave involuntarily …

DOD Needs to Assess Threat from Foreign Governments to Training Ranges, GAO Finds

  • December 16, 2014
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For many years, the Defense Department has been concerned about the challenges posed by urban development, endangered species habitat and other external influences that could interfere with the use of its installations and training ranges. More recently, defense officials have reported concerns with security encroachment by foreign entities that acquire assets near test and training ranges that provide an opportunity for surveillance of DOD activities. To date, however, DOD has not conducted a risk assessment to determine the degree to which “foreign encroachment” poses a threat its ranges, nor issued guidance directing the services to conduct such assessments, concludes the Government Accountability Office in a new report …

Major Adjustments Not Needed for Industry as Air Force Centralizes Installation Support

  • December 16, 2014
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The Air Force’s move to centralize mission support functions under a new agency should not dramatically change how the service deals with industry, Col. Brian Duffy, vice commander of the Air Force Installation and Mission Support Center (AFIMSC Provisional), told business representatives last week. “While some organizational changes may take place to align functions under AFIMSC, in general, the people and offices within the Air Force that small businesses work with today remain the ones you will work with in the future …

Closed Bases Find New Niche — Test Sites for Autonomous Vehicles

  • December 16, 2014
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One installation closed through BRAC 2005 recently reached an agreement allowing Mercedes-Benz to use its roads to test driverless cars, while another shuttered in the same round is discussing the possibility of providing space for testing and development of autonomous vehicles to a Princeton University research group. In October, the city of Concord, the Contra Costa Transportation Authority and the Navy licensed Mercedes-Benz to use the former Concord Naval Weapons Station in northern California as a test site. The automobile manufacturer will test other related technology as well, including traffic signals designed to communicate with self-driving cars …

FY’16 Appropriations Expected to Follow More Torturous Path

  • December 16, 2014
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The fiscal 2015 omnibus spending package cleared by Congress this past week experienced its share of twists and turns as elements of both parties attempted to remove objectionable provisions, but on the whole its passage represented a mostly bipartisan process that likely won’t be duplicated in the 114th Congress. Negotiations over the “CRomnibus” did not focus on spending allocations because that issue already had been settled last year as part of the budget deal between Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) and Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) that relaxed the defense and non-defense spending caps for FY 2014 and 2015 …

Republicans to Add Five Freshman Senators to Armed Services Panel

  • December 16, 2014
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Five newly elected Republican senators will join the Senate Armed Services Committee in the 114th Congress as the GOP gains extra seats and several members leave the panel. Meanwhile, Jack Reed (R.I.) will become the committee’s ranking member, Senate Democrats announced Friday. The GOP freshmen being added include: Tom Cotton (Ark.); Joni Ernst (Iowa); Mike Rounds (S.D.); Dan Sullivan (Alaska) and Thom Tillis (N.C.) …

Ohio Guard Wing Earns Reprieve in Defense Bill

  • December 16, 2014
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Mansfield Lahm Air National Guard Base, Ohio, received good news in the fiscal 2015 defense authorization bill as the result of language allowing the Air Force to fund avionics upgrades to the Air National Guard’s 179th Airlift Wing. The wing’s eight C -130H Hercules transport aircraft need the enhanced communications gear — called Automatic Dependent Surveillance Broadcast-Out (ADS-B) — to continue flying outside the U.S. mainland beyond 2020, reported the Mansfield News Journal. The provision allows the Air Force to tap alternative programs and funding to modernize the C-130H fleet but doesn’t require the service to go ahead …

Military Patient Volumes Drop at Georgia Hospital

  • December 15, 2014
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A federal law requiring military personnel and their dependents to obtain medical care from military facilities has resulted in a significant drop in patient care at a hospital frequented by service members stationed at Naval Submarine Base Kings Bay in southeastern Georgia. “We have seen a significant reduction in our volumes at the hospital, as well as physician practices,” Gary Colberg, president and CEO of the Southeast Georgia Health System, told the Brunswick News. The system’s Camden campus has lost an estimated $2 million a year as a result of the changes …

Obama Stops at JB McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst

  • December 15, 2014
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While President Obama on Monday thanked U.S. troops at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, N.J., for supporting the fight against both Ebola in West Africa and the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, discussions about the installation and the looming threat of base closure lurked in the background. “This is one of our nation’s premier joint military bases,” Obama told thousands of service members in an aircraft hangar …

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