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Defense Communities 360 Headlines

Senate’s Budget Matches House in Defense Dollars but Adds Procedural Hurdle

  • March 29, 2015
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Senate Republicans passed a fiscal 2016 budget resolution early Friday morning that matched the House’s approach to granting a reprieve to DOD from the statutory spending caps by adding $38 billion to the department’s war funding account. The budget blueprint adopted by a 52-46 vote in the Senate retains the $523 billion Budget Control Act cap on national security spending, while providing a total of $96 billion in the overseas contingency operations account — $58 billion from the Obama administration’s request and $38 billion in added funds to match the plan passed by the House earlier in the week. The resolution, however, retains a point of order on spending from the OCO that exceeds $58 billion …

Fiscal Constraints Will Be Felt throughout Air Force, Secretary Says

  • March 29, 2015
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A return to the statutory spending caps in fiscal 2016 would require the Air Force to find $10 billion in savings from the service’s original spending plans, Air Force Secretary Deborah Lee James said last week. “Ten billion is a big chunk of money and it would mean every part of our Air Force would be touched in some way,” James told the Dayton Daily News on the same day she toured Wright-Patterson Air Force Base. “It’s impossible to predict what that means for Wright-Patterson,” she said, but it could affect research programs at the Dayton-area installation and rekindle the possibility that civilian employees are furloughed …

Army Plans Involuntary Separation for Thousands of Combat Veterans

  • March 29, 2015
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The Army will be forced to eliminate about 14,000 soldiers as a direct result of the Budget Control Act spending caps which are prompting the service to shrink its active-duty force to 450,000 personnel, Vice Chief of Staff Gen. Daniel Allyn told the Senate Armed Services’ Readiness Subcommittee last week. “[Sequestration] will increase significantly the involuntary separation of officer and non-commissioned [NCO] leaders who have steadfastly served their country through the last 13 years of war,” Allyn said. Complying with the spending caps will require the involuntary separation of about 2,000 soldiers annually, including officers and NCOs …

SunPower Breaks Ground on 15MW Solar Plant at Nellis AFB

  • March 29, 2015
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Officials from the Air Force, SunPower Corp. and NV Energy held a groundbreaking ceremony last week at Nellis AFB, Nev., for a 15-megawatt solar project that will be built over a closed landfill on the base’s south side. The $50 million project represents SunPower’s second photovoltaic effort at Nellis. The company built a 13.2-megawatt plant in 2007. Combined, the two plants will power base facilities exclusively on solar energy during daylight hours, reported the Law Vegas Review-Journal. “When this solar array is online, combined with our first solar array, Nellis will be host to the largest solar photonics system in the Department of Defense,” said Col. Richard Boutwell, commander of the 99th Air Base Wing …

OEA Grant to Fund Study of Georgia’s Aerospace, Defense Sectors

  • March 29, 2015
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The Georgia Department of Economic Development is launching a study of the state’s aerospace and defense industries and how they might cope with potential spending cuts. The study, funded by a $700,000 grant from DOD’s Office of Economic Adjustment, was announced earlier this month. “The results of the study will be critical in developing and expanding new market opportunities for Georgia businesses and our workforce,” Georgia Department of Economic Development Commissioner Chris Carr said in a release. “Our expectation is that this economic model tool will provide an accurate diagram of the supply chain for Georgia’s aerospace, defense and manufacturing sectors …

Carter Blasts House Budget Resolution

  • March 26, 2015
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Defense Secretary Ashton Carter on Thursday rejected the fiscal 2016 budget resolution approved by the House that would allow the Pentagon to exceed its statutory spending cap by adding billions of dollars into its war funding account. “Current proposals to shoehorn [DOD’s] base budget funds into our contingency accounts would fail to solve the problem, while also undermining basic principles of accountability and responsible, long-term planning,” Carter told a meeting of the Chiefs of Mission at State Department headquarters. The budget blueprint adopted by House Republicans on Wednesday would add $38 billion to DOD’s $58 billion request for the department’s overseas contingency operations account …

McCain Chides James for Claiming Savings from New Installation Support Agency

  • March 26, 2015
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Air Force moves that Secretary Deborah Lee James recently claimed met a Pentagon goal of reducing its headquarters staff by 20 percent did not produce any actual savings because the personnel were shifted elsewhere, Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) told James in a letter this week. “The conduct of the Air Force in response to this guidance seems to have produced no actual staff reductions and yielded no actual savings,” said McCain, chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee …

Federal, Local Investment Should Shield Ft. Bliss from Worst Cuts, Officials Say

  • March 26, 2015
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Fort Bliss faces a maximum loss of 16,000 personnel after the Army completes its second round of restructuring this decade by fiscal 2020 but at Wednesday’s listening session, El Paso officials expressed confidence the post would dodge dramatic cuts in personnel. The massive investment in the installation made by DOD and the El Paso community, along with its critical role in national security, leaves Fort Bliss well positioned as the Army decides how it will apportion personnel cuts as the service’s active-duty end strength drops from 490,000 to 420,000, said Rep. Beto O’Rourke. “Fort Bliss offers tremendous value to the U.S. Army …

Army Commission Takes Shape

  • March 26, 2015
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President Obama and leaders of the Armed Services committees last week named the eight members who will serve on a commission created by Congress to assess the size and force mixture of the Army after last year’s dispute over the service’s plan to swap aviation assets between the National Guard and the active component. The National Commission on the Future of the Army was mandated by the fiscal 2015 defense authorization bill. President Obama selected four individuals for the panel: Larry Ellis, president and CEO of VetConnexx, a retired general who commanded Army Forces Command from 2001 to 2004; Kathleen Hicks, director of the International Security Program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies and former director for policy planning at the office of the undersecretary of defense for policy …

Air Force Selects Developer for EUL at JB Charleston

  • March 26, 2015
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Air Force officials are negotiating a final lease agreement for a 30-acre parcel at Joint Base Charleston, S.C., with Charleston Area 2000 LLC, the Air Force Civil Engineer Center announced this week. The property would be leased through the enhanced use lease program. An opportunity assessment performed by AFCEC in January 2014 identified aviation-related, light-industrial development as the property’s highest potential value and use, according to Dave Funk, EUL program chief. “We’ve got a valuable piece of property that is currently underutilized …

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