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Defense Communities 360 Headlines

Medical College at Chaffee Crossing Would Bring Huge Investment to Region

  • February 25, 2014
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The Fort Chaffee Redevelopment Authority last week agreed to donate 200 acres of land on the former Army post for a school of osteopathic medicine, a project that is expected to significantly boost the economy of the region surrounding Fort Smith, Ark. As part of the deal, the board of the Fort Smith Regional Healthcare Foundation committed $58 million to build the school and anticipates additional funding from other sources. “We are very excited to be a part of the plans to build this osteopathic medical university,” said Ivy Owen, the LRA’s executive director, reported the City Wire. “Their plans dovetail nicely with our plans for this area. The wooded, open space, walkable-style campus is exactly what we want for Chaffee Crossing.” The new college would be one of only 31 colleges of osteopathic medicine in the United States.

Partnership Ideas for Wright-Patterson Cover Wide Array of Services

  • February 25, 2014
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At a workshop last week, local leaders discussed a variety of services that could be shared between Wright-Patterson Air Force Base and its neighbors in and around Dayton, Ohio, including maintenance of streets and equipment, recreation and provision of water and sewer. At the outset of the workshop, Col. Cassie Barlow, 88th Air Base Wing and installation commander, highlighted one critical need for the base — child development centers. “We consistently have a waiting list of more than 100 kids. This is a huge need for us …

DOD Proposes Scaling Down Subsidies for Commissaries

  • February 25, 2014
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Military grocery stores would not be closed under the Pentagon’s fiscal 2015 budget request, but discounts for service members and retirees would be greatly curtailed, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said Monday. The department is proposing to reduce the annual direct subsidy provided to military commissaries by $1 billion over a three-year period; the annual subsidy now totals $1.4 billion. As a result, the savings on groceries enjoyed by military families would drop from an average of 30 percent to about 10 percent, according to a Pentagon briefing led by senior officials on background …

Hagel Vows to Trim Defense Infrastructure

  • February 25, 2014
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As expected, the Obama administration will ask Congress to authorize a new round of base closures in 2017 as part of its fiscal 2015 budget request, marking the third year in a row DOD will ask permission to pare down its excess infrastructure. “We cannot fully achieve our goals for overhead reductions without cutting unnecessary and costly infrastructure,” Hagel told reporters on Monday. Mindful of DOD’s recent track record with such requests, Hagel pointed out that the department “has already been reducing infrastructure where we can …

FY ’15 Budget Reveals Scope of Cuts Needed to Address Spending Caps

  • February 25, 2014
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The Army’s active-duty end strength would be reduced to between 440,000 and 450,000 under the five-year budget proposal unveiled Monday by Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel. The long-term budget included with the fiscal 2015 budget request, the department’s first to fully reflect the transition DOD is making after 13 years of war, adheres to the spending caps in place next year but exceeds the Budget Control Act caps for the following four years by $115 billion. As a result, the Army would be forced to draw down to an end strength of 420,000 if sequester cuts are not reversed in FY 2016 …

Use of Food Stamps by Service Members Continues to Grow

  • February 23, 2014
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Military grocery stores have seen a steady increase in the use of food stamps since the recession began in 2008, climbing 233 percent over the past five years. The growth rate of food stamp redemptions at commissaries, which has slowed more recently, has been attributed to the weak economic recovery, high unemployment rates for military spouses, and a move by some states to lower eligibility requirements for food stamps, making it easier for service members to qualify …

Army Selects 20 New Firms for Massive Energy Procurement

  • February 23, 2014
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The Army last week announced 20 new award winners under its $7 billion procurement to obtain renewable energy through private sector financing, bringing the total number of contracts awarded in four technologies under the multiple-award, task order contract (MATOC) to 79. The contracts allow the firms to compete for power purchase agreements lasting up to 30 years at DOD installations using solar, wind, biomass and geothermal technologies. As renewable energy opportunities at Army installations are assessed, the Army Corps of Engineers’ Huntsville Center will issue a competitive task order request for proposal to pre-qualified companies for the specific technologies …

Wright-Patterson Invites Community to Consider New Ways to Partner

  • February 23, 2014
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Wright-Patterson Air Force Base hosted leaders from public agencies, organizations and businesses last week to generate ideas for taking advantage of DOD’s new authority to share base support services. The Feb. 20 workshop was one of the early steps in a six-to-eight-month process the Air Force is carrying out to find ways the Dayton, Ohio, installation can collaborate with local municipalities to leverage each other’s resources in an effort to save money …

‘Shadow BRAC’ is the Immediate Threat to Bases, Washington Insider Says

  • February 23, 2014
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While the next BRAC round could come as early as 2017, the immediate threat to defense communities are smaller cuts and realignments that don’t require a formal base closure round to go forward, the president of a Washington public affairs firm said last week during a meeting of the local support group for Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point. “The more scary thing to me is what I have been calling the shadow BRAC,” Barry Rhoads, president of Cassidy and Associates, told Allies for Cherry Point’s Tomorrow. “We’re undergoing shadow BRACs as we speak. That’s actually no notification of Congress …

HASC Ranking Member Stands up for BRAC

  • February 23, 2014
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The Pentagon could be forced to realign unneeded installations outside of the normal BRAC process if Congress continues to bar it from conducting a new round of base closures, according to written comments the office of Rep. Adam Smith (D-Wash.) submitted to Breaking Defense last week. “Mr. Smith thinks that given the changing size and shape of our military force, the Department of Defense needs to be able to adjust its infrastructure to accommodate and reflect the shape of the force,” according to Smith’s office. “It is his hope that Congress acts and these changes are made through the normal BRAC process …

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