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Defense Communities 360 Headlines

Senate May Move Milcon Spending Bill after August Recess

  • July 24, 2014
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Senate Appropriations Chairwoman Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.) has revived talk of advancing a fiscal 2015 spending bill before Oct. 1, with the military construction-veterans affairs measure looking like the chamber’s best shot. Senate Democrats possibly could combine the milcon bill with other spending measures or, even, focus their efforts on approving the defense spending measure, reported CQ …

Iowa Judge Wants to Create Court to Keep Veterans out of Jail

  • July 23, 2014
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An Iowa judge is trying to establish a veterans court in Woodbury County to help military veterans obtain essential services to cope with drug and alcohol addiction and mental health problems while keeping them out of jail. “They come back broken [from Iraq and Afghanistan], and we’re starting to see them in our court system,” District Judge Jeffrey Poulson told the Omaha World-Herald. Poulson envisions matching participants with a mentor who could provide advice, but would not act as a counselor …

Energy Firm to Build Solar Array at Robins AFB under EUL

  • July 23, 2014
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Chicago-based New Generation Power will develop a 10-megawatt solar array at Robins Air Force Base after reaching agreement with the Air Force on an enhanced use lease at the Middle Georgia installation. The firm will sell energy generated by the photovoltaic facility to Georgia Power through a power purchase agreement the two previously signed. The lease payments Robins receives during the project’s 20-year term will be reinvested in renewable facility energy or energy conservation measures. The power generated still will count toward the installation’s alternative energy mandates because it is produced on base, according to James Willingham, deputy director of the 78th Civil Engineer Group at Robins. “It will be enough to sustain several follow-on energy conservation projects,” Willingham told the Telegraph. Willingham said he expects construction at the 50-acre site will begin by September, with the solar plant going online by January.

DOD to House 5,000 More Migrant Children

  • July 23, 2014
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Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel has authorized the military to house up to 5,000 additional unaccompanied children who have crossed the nation’s southern border illegally, spokesman Col. Steve Warren said Wednesday. Hagel’s order — signed at the request of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) — also extends the housing assistance mission to Jan. 31, 2015, reported Stars and Stripes. Officials have not yet chosen the installations that will accommodate the flood of children from Central America …

Ranchers Concerned about Possible Transfer of BLM Lands at White Sands to DOD

  • July 23, 2014
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Language in the House version of the fiscal 2015 defense authorization bill shifting control of hundreds of thousands of acres owned by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) in the northern extension of White Sands Missile Range, N.M., to the Pentagon has ranchers concerned that the transfer could restrict their access for grazing and hunting. The provision is a reaction to the SunZia Southwest Transmission Project — a 515-mile, high-voltage transmission line traversing the northern extension of White Sands — which DOD officials had opposed until May when the developer agreed to bury five miles of the line to eliminate conflicts with training and weapons testing …

House Readiness Chair Reiterates Stance on New BRAC Round

  • July 23, 2014
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At a summit on maintaining military readiness under spending constraints, Rep. Rob Wittman (R-Va.), chairman of the House Armed Services’ Readiness Subcommittee, reiterated his position that Congress shouldn’t consider approving a new round of base closures until the Pentagon clarifies the future direction of force structure and its objectives for the next BRAC. “And if we’re going to get this right, we need to finish some things, we need to understand where’s end strength going to end up, how are we going to properly resource in the face of sequester, in the face of transitioning out of [the overseas contingency operations account] …

Expansion of Northern Flight Training Area Provokes Local Opposition

  • July 22, 2014
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An Air Force plan to expand a military flight training area for bombers over parts of Wyoming, Montana and the Dakotas is drawing opposition from local officials concerned about the impact of increased flight activity. The Air Force says it needs to expand the Powder River Training Complex to 28,000 square miles for use by B-1 bombers based at Ellsworth AFB, S.D., and B-52 bombers at Minot AFB, N.D., reported the Billings Gazette. The move would cut training costs by limiting the need for the aircraft to fly to Utah and Nevada. The expansion is critical to preserving the B-1 mission at Ellsworth, according to South Dakota Sen. John Thune …

State Leads Effort to Highlight Assets at Ft. Leavenworth

  • July 22, 2014
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The Kansas Governor’s Military Council is working closely with elected officials and community leaders in northeastern Kansas to make the case for protecting Fort Leavenworth in the face of the Army’s latest effort to eliminate up to 70,000 additional troops by 2020. The supplemental programmatic environmental assessment (SPEA) released by the Army last month evaluated a maximum reduction at Leavenworth of 1,789 soldiers and 735 civilians. “The significance is huge,” said John Armbrust, the council’s executive director …

Bonner Looks to Transform Shipyard at Hunters Point

  • July 22, 2014
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The decades-long, multibillion-dollar redevelopment of the former Hunters Point Naval Shipyard managed by Lennar’s Kofi Bonner represents “the culmination of a career spent redesigning urban spaces spanning both sides of San Francisco Bay, particularly down-on-their-luck industrial corridors,” according to a recent profile in Ozy of the giant developer’s regional vice president. A number of factors make this “the most complicated” project that Bonner has worked on, including radioactive and other hazardous contamination, multiple regulators …

House Considers Moving FY’15 CR Next Week

  • July 22, 2014
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House leaders are considering voting on a fiscal 2015 continuing resolution (CR) next week that likely would extend past the November elections and possibly into December. No details on the duration or spending levels are available as Republican leaders have yet to make a final decision, reported CQ. While lawmakers already have conceded that a CR would be needed to keep the federal government running when the new fiscal year starts Oct. 1, a decision by the House to move a stopgap funding measure prior to the August recess would come much earlier than anticipated. Such an action also would definitely mark the end of activity on individual appropriations bills, and would leave the task of crafting an omnibus spending bill that would fund the federal government for the rest of FY 2015 until a lame-duck session.

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