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Defense Communities 360 Headlines

SunPower Breaks Ground on 15MW Solar Plant at Nellis AFB

  • March 29, 2015
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Officials from the Air Force, SunPower Corp. and NV Energy held a groundbreaking ceremony last week at Nellis AFB, Nev., for a 15-megawatt solar project that will be built over a closed landfill on the base’s south side. The $50 million project represents SunPower’s second photovoltaic effort at Nellis. The company built a 13.2-megawatt plant in 2007. Combined, the two plants will power base facilities exclusively on solar energy during daylight hours, reported the Law Vegas Review-Journal. “When this solar array is online, combined with our first solar array, Nellis will be host to the largest solar photonics system in the Department of Defense,” said Col. Richard Boutwell, commander of the 99th Air Base Wing …

OEA Grant to Fund Study of Georgia’s Aerospace, Defense Sectors

  • March 29, 2015
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The Georgia Department of Economic Development is launching a study of the state’s aerospace and defense industries and how they might cope with potential spending cuts. The study, funded by a $700,000 grant from DOD’s Office of Economic Adjustment, was announced earlier this month. “The results of the study will be critical in developing and expanding new market opportunities for Georgia businesses and our workforce,” Georgia Department of Economic Development Commissioner Chris Carr said in a release. “Our expectation is that this economic model tool will provide an accurate diagram of the supply chain for Georgia’s aerospace, defense and manufacturing sectors …

Carter Blasts House Budget Resolution

  • March 26, 2015
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Defense Secretary Ashton Carter on Thursday rejected the fiscal 2016 budget resolution approved by the House that would allow the Pentagon to exceed its statutory spending cap by adding billions of dollars into its war funding account. “Current proposals to shoehorn [DOD’s] base budget funds into our contingency accounts would fail to solve the problem, while also undermining basic principles of accountability and responsible, long-term planning,” Carter told a meeting of the Chiefs of Mission at State Department headquarters. The budget blueprint adopted by House Republicans on Wednesday would add $38 billion to DOD’s $58 billion request for the department’s overseas contingency operations account …

McCain Chides James for Claiming Savings from New Installation Support Agency

  • March 26, 2015
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Air Force moves that Secretary Deborah Lee James recently claimed met a Pentagon goal of reducing its headquarters staff by 20 percent did not produce any actual savings because the personnel were shifted elsewhere, Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) told James in a letter this week. “The conduct of the Air Force in response to this guidance seems to have produced no actual staff reductions and yielded no actual savings,” said McCain, chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee …

Federal, Local Investment Should Shield Ft. Bliss from Worst Cuts, Officials Say

  • March 26, 2015
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Fort Bliss faces a maximum loss of 16,000 personnel after the Army completes its second round of restructuring this decade by fiscal 2020 but at Wednesday’s listening session, El Paso officials expressed confidence the post would dodge dramatic cuts in personnel. The massive investment in the installation made by DOD and the El Paso community, along with its critical role in national security, leaves Fort Bliss well positioned as the Army decides how it will apportion personnel cuts as the service’s active-duty end strength drops from 490,000 to 420,000, said Rep. Beto O’Rourke. “Fort Bliss offers tremendous value to the U.S. Army …

Army Commission Takes Shape

  • March 26, 2015
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President Obama and leaders of the Armed Services committees last week named the eight members who will serve on a commission created by Congress to assess the size and force mixture of the Army after last year’s dispute over the service’s plan to swap aviation assets between the National Guard and the active component. The National Commission on the Future of the Army was mandated by the fiscal 2015 defense authorization bill. President Obama selected four individuals for the panel: Larry Ellis, president and CEO of VetConnexx, a retired general who commanded Army Forces Command from 2001 to 2004; Kathleen Hicks, director of the International Security Program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies and former director for policy planning at the office of the undersecretary of defense for policy …

Air Force Selects Developer for EUL at JB Charleston

  • March 26, 2015
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Air Force officials are negotiating a final lease agreement for a 30-acre parcel at Joint Base Charleston, S.C., with Charleston Area 2000 LLC, the Air Force Civil Engineer Center announced this week. The property would be leased through the enhanced use lease program. An opportunity assessment performed by AFCEC in January 2014 identified aviation-related, light-industrial development as the property’s highest potential value and use, according to Dave Funk, EUL program chief. “We’ve got a valuable piece of property that is currently underutilized …

House Adopts Budget with Extra Defense Funds

  • March 25, 2015
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The House on Wednesday opted for a fiscal 2016 budget resolution intended to attract the support of defense hawks, adopting a funding blueprint that sidesteps the Budget Control Act cap on defense spending by adding $38 billion to the Pentagon’s war account. After employing a rarely used procedure allowing lawmakers to vote on competing budgets, House Republicans embraced an alternative to the plan passed by the Budget Committee that relaxes a requirement to offset about half of the funds added to DOD’s overseas contingency operations account …

All Federal Agencies Will Need to Trim Real Property, under New OMB Policy

  • March 25, 2015
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Federal agencies, including the Defense Department, will be required to craft plans to reduce their real property footprint over the next five years, under a memo the Office of Management and Budget is scheduled to issue today. The memo, titled “National Strategy for the Efficient Use of Real Property: Reducing the Federal Portfolio through Improved Space Utilization, Consolidation and Disposal,” is a follow-on to the agency’s “Freeze the Footprint” policy issued in 2013. For the Pentagon, the policy means reducing excess space without relying on a BRAC round to shed large chunks of its real estate portfolio …

Military Value Leaves Ft. Hood in Good Company, Supporters Say

  • March 25, 2015
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Advocates for Fort Hood emphasized the quality of community resources in central Texas that support the installation and the resulting low cost of carrying out its missions during the post’s listening session on Tuesday. Community leaders who spoke at the public meeting highlighted the community’s most valuable assets — education opportunities, health care, transportation and access to Gulf of Mexico ports, affordable housing, sustainable water sources, and employment help and opportunities, reported the Killeen Daily Herald. “The best costs less,” said Bill Parry, executive director of the Heart of Texas Defense Alliance …

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