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Defense Communities 360 Headlines

Plan to Trim Commissary Benefits Troubles Military Families

  • April 6, 2014
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Military families across the spectrum of rank and income are concerned about the impact of the Defense Department’s proposal to drastically cut subsidies for military grocery stores, according to a new survey. Two-thirds of military families at pay grades E-6 and above with household incomes of at least $50,000 said commissaries are a key part of their current compensation, according to the survey from the First Command Financial Behaviors Index. Three-quarters of respondents said eliminating the subsidies “would negatively impact their families …

Air Force Reliance on Renewable Energy Climbs

  • April 6, 2014
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Production from renewable energy sources jumped 53 percent from 2012 to 2013 at Air Force installations, with 8 percent of the electricity consumed by the service coming from renewable sources in fiscal 2013, Kathleen Ferguson, acting assistant secretary for installations, environment and logistics, told lawmakers last week. This year the service is planning renewable projects expected to provide more than 31 megawatts of capacity. An additional 31 to 41 megawatts are planned for FY 2015 …

Wind Project on Maryland’s Eastern Shore Pits Governor against Pax River Supporters

  • April 6, 2014
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Legislation in the Maryland General Assembly that could block a proposed wind farm on the state’s Eastern Shore has divided Gov. Martin O’Malley (D), a strong proponent of clean energy, and southern Maryland officials who believe the project could interfere with a radar system at Naval Air Station Patuxent River used to test the stealth capability of aircraft. The measure, which passed the House last month, would delay the construction of large turbines within 56 miles of Pax River — an area that would cover the distance from the air station on the Chesapeake Bay’s western shore to the Great Bay project site across the bay …

Unfunded Priorities Lists Unlikely to Be Fulfilled

  • April 6, 2014
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The military services last week sent Congress a list of $36 billion worth of priorities not included in DOD’s fiscal 2015 budget request, including significant amounts of funding for facility needs. The lists, requested by the House Armed Services Committee, stand little chance of being funded, though, as lawmakers are unlikely to revisit the FY 2015 spending caps included in last December’s budget agreement. “It is not going to happen,” said Gordon Adams, a Stimson Center analyst responsible for the defense budget during the Clinton administration …

Study on European Basing Consolidation Nears Completion

  • April 6, 2014
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The Pentagon’s comprehensive review of its European infrastructure, an initiative to create long-term savings by closing facilities and consolidating operations, is expected to be completed later this spring, the department’s top installations official testified last week. Officials had planned on finishing the analysis by the end of 2013, but the effort fell behind schedule as a result of the challenging nature of the “holistic, joint review,” employee furloughs and other constraints …

Hawaii Military Affairs Council Hosts ASEAN Event

  • April 3, 2014
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The U.S.-ASEAN Defense Forum, an informal meeting of the defense ministers of 10 countries that make up the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, held in Hawaii this week concluded with a luncheon Thursday hosted by the Military Affairs Council of the Chamber of Commerce Hawaii. The luncheon was the forum’s only event hosted by a private organization and underscored the Hawaii community’s strong support for the military …

Push to Hire America’s Veterans Faces Challenging Terrain

  • April 3, 2014
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While corporations have pledged more than 1 million jobs to newly minted veterans returning from two of America’s longest wars, the population of unemployed post-9/11 veterans estimated at about 210,000 has had difficulty finding work, the Washington Post reports. Veterans face no shortage of jobs programs and career events — Hero2Hired, Hire a Hero, Hire Heroes USA, Operation Hire Our Heroes, Hire America’s Heroes and Hiring Our Heroes are just some of the initiatives under way across the country …

Key West Housing Project Exempt from Property Taxes, Florida Court Rules

  • April 3, 2014
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The Navy’s housing partner in Key West, Fla., is exempt from paying local property taxes and, as a result, does not need to pay about $11 million in back taxes, a Monroe County Circuit Court judge ruled this week. The county’s property appraiser ended the property tax exemption in 2012 on 895 units at Naval Air Station Key West and filed liens seeking back taxes, penalties and interest for the previous four years …

Appropriators Aim to Speed Progress on Spending Bills

  • April 3, 2014
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The House Military Construction-Veterans Affairs Appropriations Subcommittee advanced its draft fiscal 2015 spending measure Thursday, setting an early pace for enacting the federal government’s budget that House and Senate appropriators have pledged to maintain. House Appropriations Chairman Harold Rogers (R-Ky.) said the subcommittee markups of the milcon and legislative branch spending bills were the earliest of any appropriations bill since 1974 …

DOD Shouldn’t Attempt to Bypass BRAC, Armed Services Chair Warns

  • April 3, 2014
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Senate Democrats on Thursday forcefully warned the Defense Department against any attempt to close or realign installations outside of a BRAC round, reported the Hill. “If our Army or any of the other services proposes something in the budget which is not compliant with the BRAC process, in other words front-running the BRAC process, it will be triply difficult to get a BRAC process going,” Carl Levin (D-Mich.), chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, told Army Secretary John McHugh during his panel’s hearing on the service’s fiscal 2015 budget request …

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