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Defense Communities 360 Headlines

Army Commission Announces Chairman, Vice Chair

  • April 26, 2015
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Retired Army Gen. Carter Ham, who most recently served as commander of U.S. Africa Command, will lead the National Commission on the Future of the U.S. Army, the commission announced last week. Thomas Lamont, who served as assistant secretary of the Army for manpower and reserve affairs from 2009 to 2013, will be the panel’s vice chair. The commission, created by the fiscal 2015 defense authorization bill, will assess the structure and size of the Army, determine the proper force mixture of the active and reserve components, and conduct policy analysis to document how policies affect mission requirements, according to a press release …

Cultural Festival to Showcase Link between Monterey, Military Facilities

  • April 26, 2015
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The city of Monterey, Calif., will hold a cultural festival this weekend to highlight the community’s close relationship with its two military installations — the Presidio of Monterey, home of the Defense Language Institute, and the Naval Postgraduate School.
With a BRAC round looming, the inaugural Language Capital of the World Cultural Festival will provide an opportunity for Monterey to demonstrate its support for the two installations, according to Mayor Clyde Roberson. “We can provide the [Defense Department’s] mission here better than anywhere else,” Roberson said last week. “This is just one of the many steps we are taking.” Last year, Monterey County trademarked the slogan, the “Language Capital of the World,” as part of an effort to raise the profile of the Defense Language Institute. Military activity in Monterey contributes $1.4 billion to the local economy annually, reported the Monterey Herald.

Compromise Expected over Procedural Hurdle to Use of Extra Defense Funds

  • April 23, 2015
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House and Senate conferees appear to have reached a compromise over one of the primary sticking points to agreement on a fiscal 2016 budget resolution, a procedural hurdle that could block the Senate from allocating $38 billion in extra funding added to DOD’s overseas contingency operations account (OCO). The Senate’s budget blueprint includes a point of order on spending from the department’s war account that exceeds $58 billion, the original amount requested by the Obama administration. The point of order would allow Senate Democrats or fiscal conservatives to block appropriations from the OCO that exceed $58 billion unless defense hawks can produce 60 votes to override the objection …

Personnel Committee Defers Action on Consolidation Plan for Commissaries, Exchanges

  • April 23, 2015
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A plan to consolidate the military’s commissary and exchange system is not included in the portion of the fiscal 2016 defense authorization bill marked up by the House Armed Services’ Military Personnel Subcommittee on Thursday. Chairman Joe Heck (R-Nev.) said the panel is not yet ready to address the consolidation plan, which the Military Compensation and Retirement Modernization Commission recommended in January. Lawmakers are awaiting results from a contractor study mandated by Congress in last year’s authorization bill …

New Air Force Agency Will Transform Delivery of Installation Support, Vice Commander Says

  • April 23, 2015
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The new Air Force Installation and Mission Support Center (AFIMSC) for the first time will provide the service a “single voice” for installation and mission support, allowing officials to better prioritize funding across the service, according to the center’s vice commander. “The tremendous opportunity that is presented by the AFIMSC is that, for the first time in our history as an Air Force, we are going to be able to have that single voice across that installation and mission support portfolio and try to provide the balance and leveling that our commands have done a great job at thus far,” Col. Brian Duffy told a class of Air Force leaders attending the Commanders’ Professional Development School …

Senate Armed Services to Keep Policy Bill Deliberations Closed

  • April 23, 2015
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The Senate Armed Services Committee voted 17-9 Thursday to keep its days-long markup of the fiscal 2016 defense authorization bill closed. The committee’s markup of the annual defense policy measure traditionally has been closed to the public at the insistence of former Chairman Carl Levin (D-Mich.), who cited the difficulty of going in and out of classified session. Supporters of opening the deliberations, led by Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.), have argued the markup should be open to the public given the importance of the legislation and because the lion’s share of the committee’s work is not classified …

OEA Makes $175M Available to Local Districts to Upgrade On-Base Schools

  • April 23, 2015
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The Defense Department will be allocating $175 million to local school districts to construct, renovate, repair or expand elementary and secondary schools operated by local school districts on military installations that are in poor condition or experiencing overcrowding, according to an April 23 Federal Register notice. The funding, part of the fiscal 2015 spending bill for DOD, supplements an ongoing, non-competitive program administered by the Office of Economic Adjustment that has provided a total of $770 million to upgrade schools. OEA will use a list of schools with the most serious capacity or facility condition deficiencies assembled by the department in 2011 to invite local education agencies to apply for funding …

White House Missives Reinforce Split with Congress over FY’16 Spending

  • April 22, 2015
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Office of Management and Budget Chief Shaun Donovan on Tuesday criticized the first two fiscal 2016 spending bills moving through the House for adhering to the Budget Control Act spending limits, underscoring the potential for a divisive battle over spending this year, but also setting the path for a possible budget deal to relax the stringent caps. Donovan criticized the military construction-VA spending bill for shortchanging spending to upgrade military bases and veterans’ health care, reported CQ Roll Call. The milcon bill, along with the energy-water measure, is set to go to the House floor next week after gaining approval of the House Appropriations Committee on Wednesday. “The president has been clear that he is not willing to lock in sequestration going forward, nor will he accept fixes to defense without also fixing non-defense …

How is DOD Assessing the Risks Posed by Turbines, Panel Asks

  • April 22, 2015
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With the number of wind farm projects with the potential to interfere with military training and testing activities on the rise, the House Armed Services’ Readiness Subcommittee is eager to learn how the Defense Department assesses the risk to military missions posed by wind energy development. Defense officials have reached agreements over mitigation measures in a number of instances in which proposed wind farms were located close to installations, training ranges or low-level training routes, according to report language attached to the subcommittee’s portion of the fiscal 2016 defense authorization bill …

Milcon Spending Bill Advances in House

  • April 22, 2015
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The House Appropriations Committee on Wednesday approved a $76.6 billion fiscal 2016 spending bill for military construction and veterans affairs that provides a significant boost for military construction and family housing after spending on those programs dropped about one-third in the current year. Under the bill, military construction and family housing spending would rise $900 million over FY 2015 levels to $7.7 billion. The House’s proposal, however, still falls short of the Obama administration’s request for $8.4 billion in FY 2016. Milcon funding dropped in the current year as DOD opted to defer a portion of its construction program to fund higher priorities such as operations and readiness …

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