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Defense Communities 360 Headlines

Garrison Commanders Grapple with Budget Constraints

  • April 7, 2015
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At a two-day conference for Army garrison commanders and command sergeants major last month, Katherine Hammack, assistant secretary for installations, energy and environment, addressed the challenge of running an installation amid tight fiscal constraints. “We have to weigh risks daily,” Hammack said. “What’s acceptable loss? Compare loss of life to buildings that decay a little faster … grass that grows a little higher? Gen. Halverson and I are okay with the grass growing higher if it means that the troops are trained, ready and properly equipped …

Army Completes Disposal of Kansas Ammo Plant through Auction

  • April 7, 2015
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A New York investment firm last week completed the purchase of a 10-acre parcel at the former Kansas Army Ammunition Plant after submitting the winning bid in an auction conducted by the General Services Administration. Cornwall Specialty Trading purchased the tract, which contains the plant’s former 67,000-square-foot administration building, for $282,777. The transaction marks the completion of the Army’s disposal of the 14,000-acre facility in southeastern Kansas that was shuttered following the 2005 BRAC round. The Great Plains Development Authority is the major property owner with 7,000 acres. The facility’s munitions manufacturer, Day & Zimmermann, purchased 4,000 acres to continue operations at the plant. Production, however, has been shut down, Ann Charles, assistant director of the authority, told 360. The Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism holds the title to the remaining 3,000 acres. Charles said the authority will help Cornwall market its parcel as part of its efforts to market the Great Plains Industrial Park. The LRA also will provide caretaker services for the investment firm’s parcel.

Feds Expand Initiative to Train Service Members for Jobs in Solar Industry

  • April 7, 2015
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Hill Air Force Base will be one of 10 installations to participate in a partnership between the defense and veterans affairs departments to train transitioning service members for jobs in the solar industry, President Obama announced on Friday during a visit to the base located north of Salt Lake City. The Solar Ready Vets initiative will train service members how to size and install solar panels, connect electricity to the grid, and interpret and comply with local building codes, according to a White House fact sheet. The intensive, six-week course will prepare participants for careers as installers, sales representatives, system inspectors and other solar-related occupations …

Navy Issues Impact Statement for Training Facilities on Marianas

  • April 7, 2015
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The Navy on Monday released a draft environmental impact statement for the construction of live-fire ranges, training courses and maneuver areas in the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI) needed to support the realignment of 5,000 Marines from Okinawa to Guam. “Establishing unit and combined level [range training areas] in the CNMI would support ongoing operational requirements, changes to U.S. force structure, geographic repositioning of forces and U.S. training relationships with allied nations,” according to the April 6 Federal Register notice. The Navy’s preferred alternatives for the training facilities are on the islands of Tinian and Pagan …

Carter Reaffirms Administration’s Commitment to Asia-Pacific

  • April 6, 2015
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The United States is entering a new stage in its pivot toward the Asia-Pacific region, with the Obama administration devoting increased attention to that sphere, Defense Secretary Ash Carter said Monday during a speech at Arizona State University. One component of the shift is military, with DOD’s newest and most capable weapons systems going first to the region. When movements are completed, 60 percent of the U.S. fleet will be in the Pacific-Indian Ocean area, Carter said. U.S. Marines already have a rotational presence in Australia and U.S. and Filipino authorities are working on ways to strengthen military-to-military cooperation …

Reliance on War Funding Account Allows Congress, DOD to Postpone Defense Reforms

  • April 6, 2015
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The ability of Congress and the Pentagon to stash spending in the military’s war funding account and sidestep the statutory spending limits sabotages the budget caps’ role in forcing officials to confront difficult decisions, a panel of experts said Friday at an event hosted by the Stimson Center. The department’s overseas operations account is “a budgetary disaster which leads you to expect resources to continue to be available when they probably will not be,” said Gordon Adams, who managed national security budgets at the Office of Management and Budget during the Clinton administration …

Texas Communities Await Verdict on Sequestration, Army Downsizing

  • April 6, 2015
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Local officials throughout Texas are increasingly alarmed about the prospect that stringent caps on Pentagon spending first imposed in 2013 will remain in place through the end of the decade. Already, defense communities in Texas have been hurt by the furlough of civilian workers, the loss of active-duty personnel and attrition in civilian personnel, reported the San Antonio Express-News. On the immediate horizon is an Army determination expected this summer on how it will allocate the elimination of up to 70,000 active-duty troops by fiscal 2020. Forts Hood and Bliss, and Joint Base San Antonio-Fort Sam Houston potentially could lose thousands of soldiers and civilian workers, but advocates for each of those posts believe the strong level of support provided by their host communities should shield them from the worst cuts …

Senior Army Official Named to Top DOD Readiness Post

  • April 6, 2015
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Brad Carson, currently undersecretary of the Army and the Army’s chief management officer, was appointed by President Obama as the acting undersecretary of defense for personnel and readiness, the department’s senior official responsible for issues related to military and civilian personnel, including quality of life. Carson replaces Jessica Wright, who said in December she would step down. Carson assumes the post at a time of renewed debate about the future of military compensation and personnel policies …

Presidio Solicits Input from San Francisco Residents on New Park

  • April 6, 2015
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The Presidio Trust last month began gathering public input about alternative designs for transforming the former San Francisco installation by creating an unbroken landscape from the main post of the historic Army installation to Crissy Field and San Francisco Bay. The “New Presidio Parklands,” a 13-acre tract, is being made possible by the construction of a bluff to cover the rebuilt Doyle Drive which runs through the Presidio connecting San Francisco to the Golden Gate Bridge. The trust views the project as a starting point for visiting the Presidio and the larger Golden Gate National Recreation Area, reported the San Francisco Chronicle …

OEA to Support Communities Facing Encroachment from Commercial Energy Development

  • April 5, 2015
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Communities interested in intervening when a commercial energy project could interfere with military activities now can apply for planning assistance from DOD’s Office of Economic Adjustment to limit potential conflicts with installations, ranges, training routes or special use airspace. States, counties, municipalities and other public entities, along with tribal nations, are eligible for community adjustment planning assistance under the program to ensure an energy project does not jeopardize DOD’s test, training and military operations. Examples of conflicts with military activity include low-level flight obstructions caused by wind turbines or solar power towers, electromagnetic interference from high-voltage electrical transmission lines, and glint and glare from photovoltaic arrays and solar power towers near military airfields …

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