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Defense Communities 360 Headlines

Pentagon Unveils Consolidation Plan for European Basing

  • January 8, 2015
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The Defense Department will close a major U.S. Air Force base in the United Kingdom and 14 other European facilities as part of an infrastructure consolidation expected to save $500 million annually. Thursday’s announcement by senior defense officials represented the culmination of the European Infrastructure Consolidation process, a two-year effort designed to improve the efficiency of the U.S. presence in Europe by eliminating excess infrastructure. “[The] bottom line for us was that we wanted to preserve our operational capability, while reducing the cost of supporting it,” said John Conger …

BRAC Lurks below Surface of European Infrastructure Initiative

  • January 8, 2015
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The European Infrastructure Consolidation announced Thursday should help DOD make its case to Congress for a new BRAC round, according to the Pentagon’s top installations official. Since the Obama administration first asked permission three years ago to conduct additional base closures, one of the most popular reasons cited by lawmakers for ignoring the request was that the department still needed to streamline its overseas footprint. On Thursday, John Conger, performing the duties of the assistant secretary of defense for energy, installations and environment, acknowledged the effort to pare excess infrastructure partially was intended to respond to lawmakers’ concerns …

Only One New Hampshire Senator at Top of Readiness Panel

  • January 8, 2015
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New Hampshire Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R) will head up the Readiness and Management Support panel of the Senate Armed Services Committee in the 114th Congress, but she no longer will share the subcommittee’s leadership with her fellow New Hampshirite, Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D). In the past Congress, Shaheen had been the subcommittee chair, with Ayotte as the ranking member. But now with Republicans controlling the Senate, Ayotte will take the gavel of the Readiness panel and Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine (D) will serve as the ranking member. Shaheen, however, will remain on the full committee …

DOD FY’16 Budget Topline to Exceed Spending Cap

  • January 8, 2015
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The Pentagon is expected to request a topline spending level of $534 billion for fiscal 2016, which would exceed the Budget Control Act spending cap by almost $35 billion, according to defense officials and congressional aides. If Congress matches DOD’s request but fails to provide the department any relief from the spending cap, automatic cuts under sequestration would be imposed. Defense stakeholders are eagerly awaiting the Obama administration’s FY 2016 budget request — scheduled to be unveiled Feb. 2 — as it follows a two-year period in which lawmakers offered DOD $31.5 billion in extra spending by lifting the budget caps …

State-of-the Art Street Lighting at Brunswick Landing to Generate Hefty Energy Savings

  • January 8, 2015
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New street lighting installed at the former Naval Air Station Brunswick, Maine, features dimming controls that are expected to trim the LRA’s energy and maintenance costs by 80 percent. The project — which upgraded 650 street and area lights with new LED fixtures and radio frequency-enabled control and monitoring systems at Brunswick Landing — was developed and financed by Pemco Holdings LLC. The effort did not require any upfront capital from the Midcoast Regional Redevelopment Authority; it will be paid for from savings generated by the program over a 10-year period …

White House to Release FY’16 Budget Request on Time

  • January 7, 2015
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For the first time in five years, the Obama administration will release its budget proposal for the upcoming year by the statutory deadline, the first Monday in February. “We look forward to working with Congress on returning to regular order in the annual budget process,” Emily Cain, a spokeswoman for the Office of Management and Budget, said in a statement on Wednesday. The administration’s pledge to meet this year’s Feb. 2 deadline would allow appropriators more time to review the FY 2016 budget request and hold hearings ahead of Congress’ April 15 deadline for completing a joint budget resolution, reported CQ. The move also would allow lawmakers to begin crafting individual spending measures sooner and help Republicans fulfill their promise to pass the 12 spending bills through regular order …

Ft. Bragg Airlift Wing Earns Temporary Reprieve in Policy Bill

  • January 7, 2015
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The Air Force will not be able deactivate the 440th Airlift Wing, an Air Force Reserve unit based at Fort Bragg’s Pope Field, as soon it had planned as a result of language in the fiscal 2015 defense authorization bill sponsored last year by then-Sen. Kay Hagan (D-N.C.). An amendment halting all C-130H and C-130J aircraft transfers until 60 days after the Air Force issues a report outlining a justification of its decision that was added to the Senate version of the measure was included in the compromise legislation enacted last month. The language also calls for the Government Accountability Office to review the Air Force report …

Texas County Supports Measure Alerting Homebuyers about Impacts of Neighboring Installations

  • January 7, 2015
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County commissioners of Guadalupe County, Texas, located on the eastern side of Randolph Air Force Base, last week adopted a resolution supporting legislation requiring homebuyers to be informed about the possible impacts of living near a military installation. The vote followed a presentation by officials from Joint Base San Antonio-Randolph about the air base’s economic and operational impacts on Guadalupe County, which lies outside of San Antonio, reported the Seguin Gazette. Randolph features a twin-runway, twin-control tower configuration and records a total of 212,000 takeoffs and landings each year …

State Laws Don’t Increase Pot Use, Army Finds

  • January 7, 2015
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The legalization of marijuana in Colorado and Washington has not contributed to an increase in the drug’s use at two of the Army’s largest installations, officials have concluded. In fact, the rate of positive drug tests for marijuana among soldiers at Fort Carson and Joint Base Lewis-McChord dropped since the two states legalized recreational marijuana, reported the Colorado Springs Gazette. “With one minor exception, the data is trending downwards, though it remains relatively flat and the changes are statistically insignificant …

Great Falls Approves Partnership Charter with Air Force

  • January 7, 2015
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The Great Falls (Mont.) City Commission on Tuesday approved the charter for the Air Force Community Partnership program, an effort under way over the last year to identify possible functions for which the city or Cascade County and Malmstrom Air Force Base could share services. A task force has been considering partnership opportunities for training, public works, radio communication for emergency responders, economic development and other options, reported the Great Falls Tribune. The Cascade County Commission approved the charter on Dec. 23; leadership at Malmstrom and the 120th Airlift Wing leadership previously approved it. The charter formalizes the process for establishing partnerships between Malmstrom, Great Falls and Cascade County …

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