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Defense Communities 360 Headlines

Senate Committee Will Try to Preserve A-10 Fleet, Levin Says

  • May 13, 2014
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Carl Levin (D-Mich.), chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, said Tuesday that he and other senior members of the panel will try to find an offset to pay for the cost of operating the Air Force’s fleet of A-10 close air support aircraft. The committee, however, won’t follow the lead of its counterpart in the House, which last week voted to preserve the aircraft through fiscal 2015 by allocating $635 million from DOD’s overseas contingency operations (OCO) account to cover the cost. “We’re going to try to save it …

GAO Reviews Feasibility Study behind Closing Power Plant at Clear AFS

  • May 12, 2014
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The Air Force’s decision to close the power plant at Clear Air Force Station, located in the interior of Alaska, primarily was based on a feasibility study of alternative power sources, according to a new report from the Government Accountability Office (GAO). The agency was asked to review the study before the Air Force closes the plant. Officials considered leasing the plant to a private-sector entity or to a public utility, but none were interested. The Air Force then decided to close the plant after determining the estimated costs to shut it down were significantly lower than the cost of continuing to operate it …

100,000 Jobs Mission Reaches for Hire Goal

  • May 12, 2014
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Companies in the 100,000 Jobs Mission hired almost 141,000 U.S. military veterans through the first quarter of 2014, putting the coalition of 154 companies on a trajectory to surpass its new goal of hiring 200,000 veterans by 2020. At an event last week, Peter Chiarelli, former vice chief of staff of the Army, applauded the initiative for de-mystifying the impact of post-traumatic stress and recognizing there is no reason veterans affected by the condition cannot work …

Housing Developer Files Suit over Groundwater Contamination at Ft. Detrick

  • May 12, 2014
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A firm planning to build housing on a 92-acre site outside of Fort Detrick last week filed a lawsuit against the federal government alleging that high levels of trichloroethylene in the groundwater stemming from the Army’s negligent disposal practices dating to the 1950s have prevented it from building 732 homes in Frederick, Md. The lawsuit filed by McLean, Va.-based Waverly View Investors in U.S. District Court in Baltimore seeks more than $37 million to compensate it for the value of the land, development costs and lost profits, reported the Baltimore Sun. The company says the groundwater has TCE levels up to 42 times the federal maximum …

Authorization Bill Places Pentagon on Path toward ‘Hollow’ Military

  • May 12, 2014
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By voting to block most of the Pentagon’s proposals for coping with stringent spending caps imposed through fiscal 2021, the House Armed Services Committee last week could jeopardize the military’s readiness while raising questions as to how DOD will meet the mandated budget limits starting in FY 2016. “When we are told we can’t reduce infrastructure, we can’t retire weapons systems, we can’t change pay, compensation, health care, what’s left … is readiness and modernization,” Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told reporters over the weekend. “So we are going to have to raid our readiness accounts and our modernization account …

House Language Could Provide Head Start for BRAC Authorization, Conger Says

  • May 12, 2014
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Language approved by the House Armed Services Committee last week calling for a comprehensive assessment of the need for additional base closures and realignments could provide the Pentagon a jump on a new BRAC round, according to John Conger, acting deputy undersecretary of defense for installations and environment. “They have given us the preamble pieces,” Conger told American Forces Press Service. “All of which take time and if we execute them, all will allow a BRAC authorization on a shorter timetable.”

Army to Test for Hazardous Vapors outside Ft. Gillem

  • May 11, 2014
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The Army shortly will begin a vapor intrusion study outside Fort Gillem’s northern and southern borders to determine whether vapors generated by groundwater contaminants have seeped into nearby homes. The tests are being conducted at the request of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in conjunction with the Army’s planned transfer of the post, located outside of Atlanta, reported the Clayton News Daily. “What we’re trying to do is make sure there are no health risks with the groundwater contamination coming off of the installation,” Owen Nuttall, the Army’s site manager and environmental coordinator for the post, said last week. Officials previously confirmed the groundwater beneath the neighborhoods north and south of Gillem became contaminated from landfills on the post. Samples will be taken during the summer and winter with a small canister that will be placed on residential properties for three days.

Report Needed on DOD Efforts to Sustain Services during Utilities Disruptions, Panel Says

  • May 11, 2014
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The House Armed Services’ Readiness Subcommittee directs the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to assess the status of the military’s effort to maintain mission readiness during long-term disruptions of electricity, and water and wastewater services from civilian utility systems, according to report language accompanying the panel’s portion of the fiscal 2015 defense authorization bill. While the subcommittee is encouraged that DOD is focusing on the potential of disruptions in utilities, “it is not clear what efforts the department is undertaking to ensure and promote energy security across its installations …

Joint Chiefs Split over Wisdom of Slashing Commissary Subsidy

  • May 11, 2014
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In a break from the support for the administration’s budget request typically expected from senior Pentagon leaders, Marine Corps Commandant Gen. John Amos during a Senate hearing last week criticized the plan to reduce annual federal subsidies for military grocery stores by $1 billion over three years. The plan is projected to cut average savings for shoppers from 30 percent to 10 percent. “That’s a 66 percent drop in savings for my Marines. I don’t like that,” Amos told the Senate Armed Services Committee, reported Stars and Stripes. “The commissary issue itself is radioactive …

New Jersey Panel Tasked with Promoting, Fortifying State’s Bases

  • May 11, 2014
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New Jersey Lt. Governor Kim Guadagno (R) on Friday launched a statewide Military Installation Growth and Development Task Force, a move designed to ensure the long-term growth and viability of the state’s military bases and Coast Guard installations. The task force’s primary objectives will be to organize a broad-based coalition — including elected officials at the local, state and federal level, as well as industry leaders, veterans and concerned citizens — to promote the state’s military installations; assist in the “economic fortification” of the state’s bases by leveraging the resources of the New Jersey Partnership for Action to help retain and attract missions to New Jersey …

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