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Defense Communities 360 Headlines

SASC Members Launch Effort to Reverse Spending Cuts

  • April 8, 2014
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Members of the Senate Armed Services Committee plan on holding informal discussions on ways to loosen the 2011 Budget Control Act spending caps. Congress has provided partial relief to the automatic cuts in the first three years of sequestration, but starting in fiscal 2016 they are slated to be fully imposed, amounting to more than $50 billion in spending reductions annually. Sen. Angus King (I-Maine) said the committee is well-suited to tackle the issue because it’s bipartisan, broadly representative of both parties and more familiar with the impact of sequestration than other committees since DOD represents half of the spending cuts. Committee Chairman Carl Levin (D-Mich.) previously has talked about the effort. “I don’t know where it’s going. I just wanted to open up a discussion in the committee about what to do about sequester instead of just complaining about it,” King told the Hill on Tuesday.

Senators Consider House Plan to Study Army, Guard Changes

  • April 8, 2014
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Several members of the Senate Armed Services Committee on Tuesday signaled their support for a House bill that would create an independent commission to make recommendations about how the Army’s force structure should be allocated between the service’s active and reserve components. The bill, sponsored by Rep. Joe Wilson (R-S.C.), also would block the Army’s plan to transfer the National Guard’s 192 Apache attack helicopters to the active Army and replace them with 111 Black Hawk helicopters. The measure has the support of 41 Democrats and 111 Republicans …

Leader of Robins AFB Support Group to Step Down

  • April 7, 2014
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The 21st Century Partnership, the community support organization for Robins Air Force Base, Ga., is beginning a search for a new leader following last week’s announcement that Robert McMahon, the group’s president and CEO, will step down in May. McMahon, a retired major general whose last position was commander of Warner Robin Air Logistics Center, joined the partnership in September 2012. McMahon helped the city of Warner Robins and the surrounding region prepare for a new BRAC round through several initiatives, including commissioning multiple studies to compare Middle Georgia with other defense communities …

Aerotropolis Alliance to Boost Two Atlanta-Area Reuse Projects

  • April 7, 2014
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Two base redevelopment projects near Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport will receive an economic lift from a new coalition among business, government and education groups seeking to spur growth around the airport. The Atlanta Aerotropolis Alliance, a new initiative announced last month by the Atlanta Regional Commission, aims to attract business around Hartsfield, a zone encompassing both the former Fort McPherson and Fort Gillem. “An aerotropolis is a community that grows up around an airport with the airport being the economic heart of that community …

HASC to Mark up Defense Policy Bill in Three Weeks

  • April 7, 2014
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The six subcommittees of the House Armed Services Committee will mark up their portions of the fiscal 2015 defense authorization bill from April 30 to May 1, with the full committee markup scheduled for May 7.
The readiness subcommittee, which is responsible for installation policy including BRAC, will mark up its portion on May 1. The committee will post draft bills for each subcommittee and the full committee on its website prior to the markups, which will be streamed live.

Conventional Wisdom on Prospects for BRAC May Be Off, Expert Says

  • April 7, 2014
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Congress is closer to approving the Pentagon’s request to hold a BRAC round in 2017 than commonly believed, according to a commentary published Monday in Defense News. “Even as many House and Senate Armed Services committee members vow to block a BRAC round, other members are quietly indicating possible support for a 2017 BRAC round,” writes Barry Rhoads, co-chairman of Cassidy & Associates. Two key reasons are the military’s rapidly declining force structure and its worsening budget situation …

Vast Majority of Proposed Energy Projects Pose No Hazard, Navy Says

  • April 7, 2014
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The Navy determined that 96 percent of the 2,075 proposed energy projects it evaluated in 2013 would have little or no impact on its mission, according to congressional testimony submitted last week by the Navy’s top installations official. About 90 percent of the remaining projects were still under review as of Dec. 31, 2013. Only 8 projects were found to have a sufficient adverse impact to military operations to warrant establishment of a mitigation response team, stated Dennis McGinn, assistant secretary for energy, installations and environment …

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 …

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