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Defense Communities 360 Headlines

DOD Stuck with Sequestration, House Panelists Conclude

  • March 7, 2014
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In the 10 days since Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel outlined the department’s latest budget and associated cuts in force structure, Republican lawmakers have denounced the spending plan while Democrats have expressed reservations with the proposed changes. But despite warnings from Hagel and other top Pentagon officials that Congress will need to reverse at least some of the defense cuts imposed under the 2011 Budget Control Act if it wants to avoid weakening the military, the prospect of lawmakers reaching a deal to adjust the spending caps remains quite low …

Staffing Level of Navy to Remain Steady, Personnel Chief Says

  • March 7, 2014
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Despite the looming prospect of far-reaching changes to the armed forces, including reductions in force structure and adjustments to military compensation, the Navy will not be reducing its number of uniformed personnel, Vice Adm. Bill Moran, deputy chief of naval operations, said Wednesday. “I’m not anticipating having to cut people at all … The future is really bright for folks who want to continue to serve,” Moran, who also serves as chief of naval personnel, said in response to the first question during a worldwide all-hands call. He said the Navy expects to have a force of about 324,000 sailors in five years, the same as it does today …

Brigade’s Deactivation to Prompt Closure of Four Schools at Ft. Knox

  • March 7, 2014
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In a sign of things to come, especially for Army communities, Fort Knox will close four of its eight DOD schools for children this summer due to declining enrollment stemming from the loss of its only brigade combat team later this year. The Army is disbanding the 3rd Combat Brigade, 1st Infantry Division at Fort Knox as part of its plan to shrink its active component end strength by 80,000 soldiers through the deactivation of brigade combat teams at 10 U.S. installations. The drawdown would leave the Army with 490,000 troops by 2015, a level which would drop further under the Pentagon’s latest five-year spending plan …

Veterans Affairs Budget Would Receive Boost under FY’15 Request

  • March 6, 2014
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The Department of Veterans Affairs would be allocated $163.9 billion under President Obama’s fiscal 2015 budget request, a $10.1 billion increase over current funding levels. The proposal includes $1 billion to create a Veterans Job Corps, an initiative to put former service members to work as police officers, emergency response personnel and park rangers. Congress has rejected that plan each of the last two years, calling the idea too broad and expensive …

Virginia Should Advocate for New BRAC, Commission Recommends

  • March 6, 2014
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The commonwealth of Virginia stands to gain from a new round of base closures and, as a result, it should advocate for the Pentagon to hold another BRAC, according to a 10-member commission created last year by then-Gov. Bob McDonnell (R). “A BRAC will provide DOD the opportunity to achieve a number of efficiencies by consolidating existing activities located outside the commonwealth with existing installations and activities already in the commonwealth …

Cleanup Funding For Past BRAC Rounds Would Take Hit under FY’15 Proposal

  • March 6, 2014
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Funding to clean up installations closed during previous BRAC rounds would fall 40 percent to $270.1 million in fiscal 2015, under DOD’s latest budget request. If approved by Congress, the recommendation would continue a steep drop in funding for past base closure rounds since FY 2013. That year, Congress provided $759.6 million for cleanup and other closure costs associated with the five rounds of BRAC. This year, lawmakers allocated $451.4 million for the BRAC account …

Pentagon Paints Itself into Corner with Five-Year Spending Plan

  • March 5, 2014
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Top DOD officials had a difficult time Wednesday explaining to the Senate Armed Services Committee the logical inconsistency between a five-year budget that assumes $115 billion in relief from sequester cuts and the spending plan’s cuts in force structure they said could be avoided with the additional funding. On Tuesday, Pentagon Comptroller Robert Hale told reporters that officials included in its FY 2015-2019 budget a cut in the Army’s active-duty end strength to 420,000 and a reduction to 10 aircraft carrier battle groups. That spending plan assumes that a significant portion of the sequester cuts slated for FY 2016 and beyond would be reversed, allowing the military to avoid some of the most far-reaching impacts of sequestration …

Opposition Mounts on Hill to BRAC Request

  • March 5, 2014
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The Pentagon’s request to hold a round of base closures in 2017 is having trouble gaining traction among lawmakers, a similar reception to its requests for additional BRAC rounds in each of the past two years. The administration’s proposal stands little chance of going forward this year, Carl Levin (D-Mich.), chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, said Wednesday following his panel’s hearing on DOD’s fiscal 2015 budget request. “I just don’t think we’ve seen the value of it, including the last BRAC …

Los Angeles Takes on Veteran Homelessness

  • March 5, 2014
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Los Angeles officials, local advocates and the Veterans Affairs Department have taken on the daunting task of finding housing for former service members in the city with the highest number of homeless veterans in the nation. Phoenix and Salt Lake City recently met a White House goal of eliminating homelessness among veterans by 2015, but with about 6,000 homeless veterans on any given night, the challenges in Los Angeles are an order of magnitude greater than those smaller cities …

QDR Builds on 2012 Strategic Guidance

  • March 5, 2014
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The 2014 version of the Quadrennial Defense Review (QDR) released Tuesday in conjunction with DOD’s fiscal 2015 budget request updates the defense strategic guidance the department released in 2012 while highlighting the need to rebalance the force to carry out the nation’s national security priorities. The review discusses the rationale behind many of the proposals included in DOD’s latest five-year spending plan, such as reducing the size of the Army and Marine Corps, trimming DOD staffs by 20 percent, conducting a new round of base realignment and closure, and slowing the growth in manpower costs. Regarding the justification for a new BRAC, the QDR notes the department estimates it already has more infrastructure than it needs, an imbalance that will only grow as the military reduces its force structure …

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