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Defense Communities 360 Headlines

Air Force Launches Environmental Review for Basing F-35 Squadrons at Eielson AFB

  • March 6, 2015
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Alaska’s congressional delegation applauded Thursday’s announcement by the Air Force that it would begin preparing an environmental impact statement for its plan to base two F-35A squadrons totaling 48 aircraft at Eielson Air Force Base. The Federal Register notice is a “giant leap towards bringing the F-35 to the most strategic place in the world — and with Russia militarizing the Arctic, these F-35s can’t arrive soon enough,” said Sen. Dan Sullivan (R). “Over the last few weeks, I have spoken with several senior Air Force leaders, including the chief of staff of the Air Force General Welsh, and they all have assured me that Alaska is home to the nation’s largest training ranges, the best airspace and some of the very best airmen in the Air Force …

Fiscal Constraints are Degrading Navy Readiness, Greenert Testifies

  • March 6, 2015
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The Navy’s readiness and capabilities have suffered after three consecutive years of budget constraints, Adm. Jonathan Greenert, chief of naval operations, told lawmakers Wednesday. “Navy readiness is at its lowest point in many years,” Greenert told the Senate Defense Appropriations Subcommittee. “The budget reductions have forced us to cut afloat and ashore operations, it has generated a ship and aircraft maintenance backlog, and it has compelled us to extend unit deployments …

Lawmakers Approve $2.4M to Buffer Langley AFB, Fentress Landing Field

  • March 6, 2015
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Virginia lawmakers last week approved $2.4 million in amendments to the state budget to protect two military airfields in Hampton Roads — Langley Air Force Base in Hampton and Fentress Naval Auxiliary Landing Field in Chesapeake — from urban encroachment. With stringent spending caps being imposed on DOD and the prospect of a new base closure round, efforts to support the missions of local installations are critical, reported the Virginian-Pilot. “The big thing is we want to keep Langley here, just as Virginia Beach wants to keep Oceana,” said Del. Gordon Helsel …

President Nominates Conger to Number Two Position in Comptroller’s Office

  • March 4, 2015
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John Conger — who currently is the Pentagon’s acting assistant secretary of defense for energy, installations and environment — was nominated Wednesday by President Obama to be the principal deputy to the department’s comptroller. Conger obtained his current title in December after DOD merged its installations and operational energy organizations to comply with the newly enacted fiscal 2015 defense authorization bill. Previously Conger had been acting deputy undersecretary of defense for installations and environment, a title he assumed in September 2012 after Dorothy Robyn vacated the top installations slot. He joined DOD in 2009 as the assistant deputy undersecretary of defense for installations and environment. Conger will need to be confirmed as principal deputy undersecretary of defense (comptroller) by the Senate before taking the new post.

Appropriations Panel Tells Carter to Live within the Spending Cap

  • March 4, 2015
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Forcing the Defense Department to live within the statutory budget caps would be detrimental to the nation’s security, new Defense Secretary Ashton Carter told the House Defense Appropriations Subcommittee on Wednesday, but the panel delivered the sobering message that the spending limits very likely are here to stay. “I completely agree that the BCA [Budget Control Act] needs to be modified to avoid dramatic, immediate and long-term negative impacts on our military capabilities,” said Chairman Rodney Frelinghuysen. “But unless and until the law is changed, this committee has no choice but to draft our bill to comply with the BCA caps …

New BRAC Round Would Generate Savings, Conger Says

  • March 4, 2015
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The Pentagon’s senior installations official told lawmakers Tuesday that the BRAC round DOD is requesting would realize savings much more quickly than the 2005 round. “We look at the next round as an efficiency-driven one,” John Conger, acting assistant secretary of defense for energy, installations and environment, told the House Military Construction and Veterans Affairs Appropriations Subcommittee. “In such a budget environment as we have today, it only makes sense to avoid spending money on excess …

Central Louisiana Hopes to Shield Ft. Polk from Troop Cuts a Second Time

  • March 4, 2015
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The people of Central Louisiana put on a strong show of support Tuesday for the listening session for Fort Polk, with a large number of residents lining the streets in Leesville on the way to the meeting site and crowds at two satellite locations participating via live streaming. Speakers emphasized the region’s patriotism and loyalty to the post as Army officials gathered input from Fort Polk’s neighbors before deliberating over the service’s second round of restructuring this decade. The listening sessions that officials are conducting at 30 installations will be used to help the Army determine how to shrink its active-duty end strength from 490,000 to 420,000 by fiscal 2020 …

Pax River Housing Project Featured on ‘Designing Spaces’

  • March 4, 2015
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Home improvement show “Designing Spaces” will feature the housing privatization project at Naval Air Station Patuxent River in an episode later this month. The segment — scheduled to air March 19 at 7 a.m. on Lifetime — will focus on one military family living at the Challenger Estates neighborhood managed by Lincoln Military Housing in southern Maryland. The segment highlights the unique partnership the military formed with developers and property managers to upgrade the condition of family housing at installations across the nation, according to a press release.

Installation Chiefs Turn up the Heat to Make Case for BRAC

  • March 3, 2015
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The military’s installation chiefs made an impassioned plea to lawmakers on Tuesday for permission to hold a BRAC round in 2017, fine tuning their previous arguments and making clear the consequences if Congress rejects the Pentagon’s request for a new round of base closures for the fourth year in a row. Two of the witnesses came to the House Armed Services’ Readiness Subcommittee hearing with new estimates of the amount of excess infrastructure capacity their services are saddled with. An analysis based on fiscal 2013 data concluded the Army has an 18 percent facility excess, said Katherine Hammack, assistant secretary for installations, energy and environment. That figure was based on an active-duty end strength of 490,000, which the Army will reach by the end of the year …

Conger Looks to Congress for Input on BRAC Process

  • March 3, 2015
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The Pentagon’s installations chief tackled head-on the latest criticism from lawmakers toward the administration’s request for a new BRAC round at Tuesday’s House Armed Services’ Readiness Subcommittee hearing. John Conger, acting assistant secretary of defense for energy, installations and environment, acknowledged that even though defense officials have pledged to conduct a new BRAC with a different emphasis than the last one, unless the department updates the legislation authorizing a new round, lawmakers may continue to be wary. “Let me be clear,” Conger said. “We’re open to a discussion on this point. I would like to solicit your suggestions as to specific changes in the BRAC legislation that would make it more acceptable …

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