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Defense Communities 360 Headlines

State of Readiness Approaches Troublesome Levels, Briefing Reveals

  • February 24, 2015
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The overall readiness of the nation’s military has been severely degraded, with units scheduled for deployment receiving a disproportionate share of available resources, Pentagon officials told the House Armed Services Readiness Subcommittee during a recent closed-door briefing. “While justifiable, this imbalance will eventually yield an unviable and technologically inferior fighting force and challenges our ability to win decisively against growing adversaries,” according to one of the briefing charts from the unclassified presentation obtained by CQ. Relief stemming from the two-year Ryan-Murray budget deal reached in December 2013 has helped restore some of the readiness decline but absent further relief from the Budget Control Act spending caps, readiness levels will continue to erode …

Columbus-Area Lawmakers Push Measure to Support Air Base

  • February 24, 2015
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State lawmakers from Columbus, Miss., are urging their colleagues in the Senate to push across legislation authorizing Mississippi to issue up to $25 million in bonds to fund the extension of a recreational path from the city to Columbus Air Force Base. The measure, which passed the House by a 118-2 vote last week, is an effort by area lawmakers to bolster quality of life for personnel and their families at the base. HB1453 would pay for an existing path — which includes separate tracks for walking, jogging and biking — to be extended by 14 miles. The installation is about 10 miles north of the city …

Wiregrass Region Attends Listening Session to Support ‘Home of Army Aviation’

  • February 24, 2015
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An overflow crowd of more than 1,600 residents turned out Monday to support Fort Rucker for an Army listening session held to gather input as the Army figures out how to shrink its active-duty end strength from 490,000 to 420,000 by fiscal 2020. Many attendees wore shirts with pictures of helicopters and the words “Fort Rucker: the heartbeat of the Wiregrass.” The Army is contemplating cutting a maximum of 2,500 soldiers and civilian employees from the southeastern Alabama post, losses that would affect the surrounding region, including Enterprise, Daleville, Ozark and Dothan. “When you look at the impact of 3,000 direct jobs and 15,000 indirectly throughout the Wiregrass, that is devastating,” Enterprise Mayor Kenneth Boswell …

FOAC Seeking Member Input on Legislative Ideas

  • February 24, 2015
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The ADC Federal Outreach Advisory Committee (FOAC) meets throughout the year to discuss the top federal legislative matters. The FOAC subcommittees for active-base communities and redevelopment communities will meet during Installation Innovation Forum 2015 in Monterey in March, and both are seeking member input on legislative ideas. If you have suggestions for legislative ideas the subcommittees should discuss, please contact ADC senior policy advisor Paul Kalomiris at pkalomiris@defensecommunities.org.

Ohio Law Requires Public Colleges to Recognize Military Experience

  • February 24, 2015
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A new Ohio law will require state universities to count veterans’ military experience toward earning college credit, a critical step in helping veterans obtain a degree. Under the legislation, the state will create standards for awarding credit for military experience. It also requires the schools to award the credit for free, reports Military.com. More significantly, the measure will make it easier for veterans to connect with colleges in Ohio, according to Jeff Robinson, spokesman for the Ohio Board of Regents. “In some cases, a veteran may not know the first point of contact on a campus for help, or that there is even help available specifically for them …

Malmstrom AFB Solicitation for EUL Fails to Attract Proposals

  • February 24, 2015
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A recent solicitation from Malmstrom Air Force Base to lease a 42-acre parcel via an enhanced use lease failed to attract any proposals. Installation officials had published a request for information for prospective developers, even though its family housing partner, Balfour Beatty Communities, retained the right of first refusal, reported the Great Falls Tribune. Balfour Beatty now is considering using the property for base housing, even though the firm did not respond to Malmstrom’s request. Balfour’s proposal could be connected to its housing project or it could pursue an enhanced use lease, according to Mark Coleman, Malmstrom’s real property officer. Base officials believed an enhanced use lease for the tract would benefit the Air Force Community Partnership Program, the service’s effort to take advantage of the new authority allowing installations to enter into intergovernmental support agreements with their host community, according to the story.

House, Senate Face Competing Forces in Crafting FY’16 Budget Resolution

  • February 23, 2015
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The House and Senate Budget committees are getting ready to draft fiscal 2016 budget resolutions, but with Republicans divided over whether — and how — to break the statutory spending caps, it’s too early to predict how they will come up with spending levels that satisfy both defense and fiscal hawks. The House committee is more likely to stick with the existing Budget Control Act caps, but the resulting resolution could yield discretionary spending levels perceived by lawmakers from both parties as too low for defense and non-defense programs. That outcome could lead to a budget deal later this year similar to the one struck by Rep. Paul Ryan and Sen. Patty Murray in December 2013 that offered the Pentagon limited relief above the FY 2014 and 2015 caps, reported CQ …

Brooks City Base to Honor Its Past through Restoration Projects

  • February 23, 2015
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Brooks City Base is undertaking two projects to help celebrate the nearly 100-year history of Brooks Field — a $560,000 restoration of the burial site of its namesake and a $2.5 million restoration of one of the facility’s original hangars. “This space is special, not just to Brooks and to San Antonio, but really to the entire United States, because of its significance with World War I,” said Leo Gomez, president and CEO of Brooks Development Authority. On Nov. 13, 1917, at the age of 22, Sidney Brooks Jr. crashed and died on final approach to Kelly Field No. 2 in San Antonio as he neared the completion of his pilot training. The Army broke ground on a new facility less than a month later, and renamed it after him on Feb. 4, 1918 …

Amid Air Force Effort to Inactivate Airlift Wing, Others Question the Move

  • February 23, 2015
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The Air Force is moving forward with its plan to inactivate Fort Bragg’s 440th Airlift Wing even before it issues a congressionally mandated report justifying the action. Over the weekend, officials opened a clearinghouse for traditional reservists in the 440th — an Air Force Reserve unit based at Fort Bragg’s Pope Field — to help them find other positions before the unit’s planned inactivation at the end of September, reported the Fayetteville Observer. Lawmakers added the justification report to the fiscal 2015 defense authorization bill as a prerequisite before the Air Force could shut down the 440th, a unit made up of 1,200 airmen …

UK Leads the Way in Employing Public-Private Partnerships to Improve Military’s Efficiency

  • February 23, 2015
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The Department of Defense has taken advantage of public-private partnerships (P3s) to upgrade its infrastructure for family housing and utilities, and to develop new on-base sources of renewable energy, but there are a host of other areas for the department to leverage private sector investment, according to a recent commentary in Government Executive. Nick Greenwood, managing director of the infrastructure advisory group for KPMG LLP, points to the United Kingdom, where its Ministry of Defence has relied on P3s for a variety of infrastructure needs along with an array of military and support services. P3s have been used to refurbish the ministry’s main building in Whitehall, consolidate its real estate in London and rebuild the government’s communications headquarters …

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