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Defense Communities 360 Headlines

BRAC Cleanup Funding to Continue Long-Term Decline under FY’16 Request

  • February 5, 2015
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Funding to clean up installations closed during the first five BRAC rounds would fall 20 percent to $251.3 million in fiscal 2016, under the president’s new budget proposal. The request would continue a sharp drop in funding for past base closure rounds since FY 2013, when Congress allocated $759.6 million for cleanup and other closure costs. The FY 2015 omnibus spending bill approved in December provided $315 million for past BRAC cleanups. That allocation, however, represented a $45 million increase over the president’s budget request, and lawmakers may be inclined to boost the administration’s request again for FY 2016 …

Carter Could Gain Senate Confirmation within a Week, McCain Says

  • February 5, 2015
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Ashton Carter, President Obama’s nominee to become the next defense secretary, could be confirmed by the Senate by the end of next week. On Thursday, Senate Armed Services Chairman John McCain (R-Ariz.) said he hoped the panel could vote on the nomination by next Tuesday. If, as expected, the panel reports Carter’s nomination favorably, the full Senate could take it up by Thursday, McCain said, reported the Hill. The chairman added that he doubts information requests from committee members to the Obama administration about Guantánamo Bay will postpone the votes. The fast-track timeline McCain described followed a smooth confirmation hearing for Carter the previous day.

State Designates Ft. Monmouth as Quarantine Center, Raising Questions from Local Officials

  • February 5, 2015
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State lawmakers and local officials on the board of the Fort Monmouth LRA are wondering how the closed installation was selected by New Jersey to serve as the backup quarantine center for travelers flying to Newark Liberty International Airport from West Africa who may have been exposed to the deadly Ebola virus. The Fort Monmouth Economic Revitalization Authority was not consulted before the state reached a six-month agreement with the Army to quarantine travelers at the post who are at risk of contracting Ebola but have not yet displayed symptoms, reported the Asbury Park Press. “This lease was imposed on [the authority] by the executive branch and was not vetted at a public meeting or voted on by the entire board,” according to a statement from Monmouth County Freehold Lillian Burry and the mayors of the three towns that surround Fort Monmouth …

New Orleans Considered Model for Ending Veteran Homelessness

  • February 5, 2015
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New Orleans appears to have set a high bar for eliminating homelessness among veterans when it announced last month that it had gone a step beyond ending chronic homelessness. The city said it had reached a point at which it could ensure “every homeless veteran who can be located is placed in permanent housing or in temporary housing with an identified permanent housing placement” within 30 days. It achieved a “zero” level of veteran homelessness by relying on a “housing first” approach, which emphasizes moving the homeless into permanent housing quickly even if it means lowering the barriers to entry …

Carter Eases through Nomination Hearing

  • February 4, 2015
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Ashton Carter’s nomination hearing before the Senate Armed Services Committee Wednesday to be the next defense secretary was largely tension-free and may be quickly followed by a vote on his candidacy by the full Senate next week. “We will talk to the majority leader to see if we can’t get your nomination to the floor so that you can get to work,” Committee Chairman John McCain (R-Ariz.) said at the end of the day-long hearing, reported CQ. Carter told the panel he hopes to get rid of the statutory caps on defense spending and find a way with Congress out of the “wilderness of sequester …

Colorado Springs Comes out to Shield Ft. Carson from Army Restructuring

  • February 4, 2015
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An overflow crowd made up of Colorado Springs residents and leaders showed up Tuesday afternoon to support Fort Carson at an Army listening session before officials determine how to shrink the service’s end strength by 70,000 soldiers by fiscal 2020. The Army is considering eliminating up to 16,000 personnel — almost all soldiers — from the post by the conclusion of a second round of restructuring intended to cut the service’s end strength to 420,000. The meeting is “not a BRAC hearing,” moderator Ed Anderson, a retired three-star general, emphasized at the outset of the session, which lasted three-and-one-half hours. Brig. Gen. Roger Cloutier, the Army’s director of force management, said “not a single decision has been made …

Budget Proposal Calls for Pause in Marine Corps Drawdown

  • February 4, 2015
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The fiscal 2016 budget request released Monday would retain the active-duty end strength for the Marine Corps at 184,000 for at least one year before dropping to 182,000. The pause is needed to assess “the impact of the four-year drawdown on small unit leaders in the face of a continued high operational tempo,” according to the budget. The number of Marines has been shrinking as the military withdraws from Afghanistan. Overall, the budget requests $24 billion for the Marines’ base budget, a $1.6 billion increase, and seeks to return the Marines Corps to its core mission as an expeditionary, emergency response force …

Changing Behavior Represents Next Frontier in Reaching Military’s Energy Goals

  • February 4, 2015
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The Navy and Marine Corps are tapping into of the hottest trends in academic research to help slash their expenditures on fuel and electricity — using psychology and the behavioral sciences to influence people to save energy by changing their habits and practices. “The opportunities that we see on the behavioral side of the house are phenomenal,” Marine Corps regimental commander Col. Jim Caley told the Washington Post. “And they’re frankly less expensive than us trying to buy new equipment.” While Caley is focused on trimming fuel use by Marine Corps vehicles, equipment and outposts during deployments, Dennis McGinn, assistant secretary of the Navy for energy, installations and environment, is working with two behavioral science experts …

Navy Stands up ‘Information Dominance’ Command in Southeastern Virginia

  • February 4, 2015
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The Navy held a ribbon-cutting ceremony last week to mark the creation of the Information Dominance Forces Command in Suffolk, Va., an organization made up of about 700 military, civilian and contractor personnel. The command has been operating since October, working to improve cybersecurity through dozens of efforts both ashore and afloat. Over the past several months, the command has been consolidating and aligning the missions, functions and tasks previously managed by the separate information dominance commands of Navy Cyber Forces, Fleet Cyber, Naval Meteorology and Oceanography, and the Office of Naval Intelligence …

Senate Budget Hearing Overlooks Shortfall in Defense Spending

  • February 4, 2015
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The urgency associated with raising the statutory cap on defense spending was all but ignored on Tuesday as the Senate Budget Committee held a hearing on President Obama’s fiscal 2016 budget request. Neither Committee Chairman Mike Enzi (R-Wyo.) nor ranking member Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) mentioned the need to raise the Budget Control Act cap on defense spending during their opening statements. Enzi stressed the “overspending” in Obama’s proposal that would expand the national debt, reported Defense News. The committee, along with its House counterpart, is responsible for developing an FY 2016 budget resolution, a document some GOP lawmakers are hoping calls for relaxing the defense caps …

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