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Defense Communities 360 Headlines

Officials Celebrate Lease Signing for UAS Park at Grand Forks AFB

  • February 18, 2015
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The Air Force, Grand Forks County and Grand Sky Development Co. on Wednesday celebrated the execution of the enhanced use lease — and the beginning of development — for the Grand Sky unmanned aerial systems (UAS) business and aviation park at Grand Forks AFB, N.D. Grand Sky is expected to take advantage of the burgeoning unmanned systems industry, catering to organizations interested in taking advantage of the open airspace in the northern Plains for UAS research, testing, training and operations. In addition to growth in the use of UAS by federal agencies, commercial applications are projected to jump dramatically as the FAA opens up the national airspace to unmanned aircraft …

ADC Calls Special Membership Meeting to Vote on Bylaws Changes

  • February 18, 2015
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ADC will hold a special meeting next month at Installation Innovation Forum 2015 for its members to vote on two changes to its bylaws affecting the size and makeup of its board of directors. The first amendment would increase the size of the board from 12 to 13 members following the Defense Communities 2015 National Summit in June, and, starting next year, increase the number of directors to 14. The second amendment would alter existing guidelines calling for the board to maintain an equal balance among members from base redevelopment communities (LRAs), active defense communities and the private sector …

New Security Rules Frustrate Some Taxis Serving Ft. Drum

  • February 18, 2015
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New rules governing access to Fort Drum, N.Y., have generated complaints from some taxi companies, but praise from others. The post’s entry policy now requires cabs to participate in the RapidGate tagging system, which requires businesses to pay $199 to sign up, and an additional $179 annually for each employee requiring access to the installation, reports the Watertown Daily Times. Merritt Makuch, office manager and dispatcher at Big Man’s Cab in Watertown said the added expense — $1,000 per year to cover three taxis and multiple drivers — isn’t worth it even though the company averaged five trips a day to Fort Drum …

New Rules to Streamline Procedures for Support Organizations to Gain Access to Installations

  • February 18, 2015
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The Army plans to issue new rules shortly to streamline the process for nonprofits providing support to military personnel and their families to gain access to its installations. The executive order the Army plans to release stems from two memos recently issued by the defense secretary directing senior military leaders and installation commanders to implement uniform procedures to ease access for military support organizations and veterans service organizations. The new rules will expedite much of the paperwork that accompanies a written request from military support organizations for access to an installation, said Carla Coulson, director of Army Installation Services …

VA Contemplates Holding Exercise to Trim Unneeded Facilities

  • February 18, 2015
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During a Capitol Hill hearing on its fiscal 2016 budget request, the Veterans Affairs Department last week broached the possibility of conducting a BRAC-like exercise that would allow it to shed hundreds of aging hospitals and clinics it no longer needs. “VA cannot be a sound steward of the taxpayers’ resources with the asset portfolio that we’re currently carrying,” Veterans Affairs Secretary Bob McDonald told the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee. “No business would carry such a portfolio. Veterans deserve much better. It’s time to close the VA’s old substandard and underutilized infrastructure …

Carter Pledges to Fight for Service Members, Build Force of the Future

  • February 18, 2015
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Ashton Carter was formally sworn in Tuesday as defense secretary, providing the former deputy defense secretary almost two years to tackle a number of thorny national security crises. “If anyone is made for this job, if there’s a job description that fits a person, this is the guy that fits the job description,” Vice President Joe Biden said before administering the oath of office to Carter at the White House. Carter, 60, also served as the undersecretary of defense for acquisition, technology and logistics under Obama. In a message to the DOD workforce, Carter laid out three priorities for his tenure: Helping the president make the best possible national security decisions for protecting the nation …

Ft. Bragg Airlift Wing Scales Down Activity with End of Reprieve in Sight

  • February 18, 2015
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The reprieve awarded Fort Bragg’s 440th Airlift Wing in the fiscal 2015 defense authorization bill could end in a matter of months, with an Air Force report justifying its proposal last year to relocate the unit’s 12 C-130H Hercules cargo aircraft and inactivate the wing expected shortly. A provision in the annual policy bill sponsored by then-Sen. Kay Hagan (D-N.C.) forced the Air Force to temporarily postpone its planned deactivation of the 440th, an Air Force Reserve unit based at Fort Bragg’s Pope Field. The unit is continuing to fulfill its requirements to support airborne and special operations units at Fort Bragg at the same time it is losing dozens of airmen and officials are developing plans to inactivate the 440th …

Task Force Lima Urges Unified Effort to Promote State’s Facilities

  • February 18, 2015
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The Ohio Federal Military Jobs Commission last week visited Task Force Lima, the support organization for the Joint Systems Manufacturing Center in northwestern Ohio, as part of an initiative to protect and attract military employment in the state.
After visiting each of the state’s military facilities the commission now will start drafting a report to Gov. John Kasich and lawmakers, reported limaohio.com. The task force recommended the report call for a statewide approach to any effort undertaken to protect Ohio’s military installations from a future base closure round. “I think what we’re looking for is the opportunity to … present a united front of Ohio interests,” said Lima Mayor David Berger …

Maryland Governor Proposes Exempting Military Pensions from Income Tax

  • February 18, 2015
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In an effort to make Maryland more welcoming to veterans, new Gov. Larry Hogan (R) wants to fully exempt military pensions from state income tax.
Currently the state exempts only the first $5,000 of military pensions from taxation. About 53,000 retirees in Maryland receive military pensions, which average $28,000 a year, reported the Baltimore Sun. “People who put their lives on the line every day kind of earned a tax break,” Hogan told reporters last week after addressing a crowd of veterans at an American Legion post. The governor acknowledged, however, that getting the General Assembly to approve his legislative proposal would be challenging …

Army Housing Partners Intent on Minimizing Impact of Benefits Cut

  • February 16, 2015
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Family housing developers at Army installations are trying to absorb the one percent reduction in basic allowance for housing imposed starting this fiscal year so that military families won’t need to make up the difference out-of-pocket. Slowing the growth in the BAH so it covers only 99 percent of rental costs was one of the few cost-saving reforms Congress included in the fiscal 2015 defense authorization bill. To absorb the extra cost, developers are looking for ways to operate more efficiently, said Ivan Bolden, chief of the privatization and partnerships division of the Army’s office of the assistant chief of staff for installation management …

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