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Defense Communities 360 Headlines

House Sticking to Budget Agreement, Boehner Says

  • March 25, 2014
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House Republicans have no plans to adjust the defense spending caps established in last December’s budget deal as a result of Russia’s military intervention in Ukraine, Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) said Tuesday. When asked about the likelihood that Congress would lift the caps on defense spending over the next six years, Boehner said it was too soon to tell, reported the Hill. “I don’t know that we’re far enough along in that project to make that determination. In terms of the spending for defense in this year, I believe that we’ll abide by the budget agreement that we’ve already made …

Closures of On-Base Eateries Likely Related to New Minimum Wage Rules

  • March 25, 2014
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Six restaurants located on military installations, including three McDonald’s outlets and two name-brand eateries, have closed recently or are planning to shortly, with new minimum wage requirements for workers on federal contracts believed to have played a role in the decisions. Last week McDonald’s restaurants closed at Naval Weapons Station Charleston, S.C., and at Naval Support Activity, Bethesda, Md.; a third McDonald’s will close next week at Naval Base Kitsap-Bremerton, Wash. A fourth restaurant, I Love Country, has notified Navy Exchange Service Command that it will close next week at Naval Station Pearl Harbor, Hawaii …

Navy Retains Little Excess Infrastructure, Officials Say

  • March 25, 2014
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The Navy eliminated most of its excess capacity in previous BRAC rounds, but the service still would take the opportunity to assess its existing footprint if Congress were to authorize additional base closures, the Navy’s top leaders told lawmakers Tuesday. “We will certainly take a — a very hard look at all our capacities, at all the bases that we have, should Congress authorize a new BRAC round. And we do support the use of that tool,” Secretary Ray Mabus told the House Defense Appropriations Subcommittee …

FY’15 Spending Bills May Not Be Completed on Time

  • March 25, 2014
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Despite optimism from top congressional appropriators about completing all 12 spending bills before the new fiscal year begins, it is likely lawmakers will need to rely on a continuing resolution to fund many agencies after Oct. 1, according to experts. With last December’s budget deal setting how much money lawmakers have to allocate among fiscal 2015 spending measures, appropriators are hoping the process of marking up individual measures will not be held up by partisan bickering over spending levels …

Army Leaders Look to BRAC to Mitigate Spending Cuts

  • March 25, 2014
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The Army’s top civilian and uniformed officials on Tuesday pressed the Pentagon’s case to hold a new BRAC, telling the House Armed Services Committee the service could save an estimated $1 billion annually following a round of base closures. Army Chief of Staff Gen. Ray Odierno said that a new round would cost less than the 2005 one and generate a larger return due to a reduction in operating costs and a drop in the Army’s end strength, reported Defense News. The last round required the service to invest $13 billion at the outset, producing annual savings of $1 billion …

Unemployment Rate for Recent Veterans Improved Last Year

  • March 24, 2014
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The unemployment rate for post-9/11 veterans edged down in 2013, dropping to 9.0 percent from 9.9 percent the year before, according to a report last week from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Unemployment for all veterans decreased slightly from 7 percent in 2012 to 6.6 percent. The overall unemployment rate in the United States was 7.4 percent in 2013. The youngest veterans, aged 18-24, however, experienced a jobless rate of 21.4 percent. “Those in the youngest group are experiencing unemployment at a higher rate than their nonveteran peers,” Teresa Gerton, deputy assistant secretary for policy for the Labor Department’s Veterans’ Employment and Training Service, told the Star-Herald. “But their labor participation rates are higher. Their attachment to the labor force is stronger. They’re out there trying to get a job,” Gerton said.

Housing Investors Face Uncertainty under BRAC, Downsizing

  • March 24, 2014
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Dramatic reductions in military end strength, along with a new round of base closures, could harm holders of $24 billion in military housing privatization bonds, which have financed the construction of more than 190,000 residences since 1996. A quarter of the bonds are uninsured, reports Barron’s. In addition, the developers and operators of most of DOD’s housing privatization projects are not protected against changes in occupancy stemming from BRAC …

Kansas Bill Would Restrict Duration of Easements

  • March 24, 2014
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Legislation limiting the use of an important tool for protecting military installations from encroachment was approved by a committee of the Kansas Senate Friday. Senate Bill 323 would limit the duration of conservation easements so they would end with the grantor’s death, reported the Lawrence Journal-World. DOD, the Kansas Governor’s Military Council and many landowners oppose the measure, saying it would restrict the benefit of a mechanism for preserving the missions of military installations …

Pet Projects Back in Vogue on Capitol Hill

  • March 24, 2014
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Last December’s budget deal, which by current indications will allow Congress to follow regular order for moving annual appropriations bills, also may allow lawmakers to press for funding for installations and favored military projects in their districts. In multiple hearings in recent weeks on DOD’s fiscal 2015 budget request, lawmakers have made clear they will fight to protect missions at local bases and manufacturing facilities in their districts, reports Defense News …

Navy Not Eager for New BRAC Round, Top Officer Says

  • March 24, 2014
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The Navy is not anxious to hold a new round of base closures as it doesn’t have a lot of excess capacity, Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Jonathan Greenert said last week. “I’m very satisfied with our laydown of our bases as we look around the world,” Greenert told reporters after an all hands call at Naval Station Mayport, Fla. “People ask me, do you have the need? Do you see a great need for BRAC? I say, no, I don’t …

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