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Defense Communities 360 Headlines

Persistence Needed in Battle against Veteran Homelessness

  • December 14, 2014
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The federal government has made significant strides in tackling veteran homelessness, but reaching President Obama’s goal of completely eradicating the problem is still years away, according to testimony last week by veterans service providers. Rep. Jeff Miller (R-Fla.),chairman of the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee, questioned the rationale for having more than 20 programs designed to take homeless veterans off the streets and provide them with housing, health care and employment assistance, reported Stars and Stripes. The programs are not duplicative in many cases since homeless veterans have diverse needs, said Baylee Crone, executive director for the National Coalition for Homeless Veterans …

‘CRomnibus’ Clears House in Close Vote

  • December 11, 2014
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After almost collapsing due to Democratic opposition, the $1.1 trillion omnibus spending bill passed the House Thursday night 219-206, averting what likely would have meant Congress passing a short-term continuing resolution (CR) allowing Republicans to have the last word on fiscal 2015 appropriations early next year. The House also passed a two-day CR to give the Senate time to debate the spending package, as the existing stopgap was set to run out at midnight Thursday. The Senate was expected to pass the two-day CR before midnight to avoid a government shutdown. The chamber planned to take up the year-long spending bill beginning on Friday …

Deed Signing Marks First Transfer at Walter Reed

  • December 11, 2014
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Officials from the District of Columbia and the Army held a ceremonial signing Wednesday of a deed transferring a building at the former Walter Reed Army Medical Center, marking the first transfer of land at the hospital campus to the city. After demolishing the building, the District plans to construct a $12 million fire station. “My administration has worked closely with the Army to acquire Walter Reed so that we can begin transforming this historic campus into a vibrant destination that meets the needs and desires of the neighboring community …

Authorization Bill on Track to Pass Senate Friday

  • December 11, 2014
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The Senate most likely will clear the final version of the fiscal 2015 defense authorization bill sometime Friday before sending it to President Obama’s desk for his signature. On Thursday, the chamber voted to limit debate on the annual policy measure, H.R. 3979, triggering 30 hours of debate prior to a final vote. The debate could be cut short through an agreement to expedite the final vote, but Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) has vowed to object to such requests, reported CQ. Coburn pledged to block the legislation over the inclusion of almost 100 public lands provisions — including conveyances, expansions of the National Park system and changes in how public lands are managed — in the authorization bill, but his options are limited, beyond slowing the process …

Wittman Remains at Helm of House Readiness Panel

  • December 11, 2014
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Three of the seven panels that make up the House Armed Services Committee will pass the gavel to new chairmen in the 114th Congress, Rep. Mac Thornberry (R-Texas), chairman-elect of the committee, announced Thursday. Keeping his post, however, as chairman of the Readiness Subcommittee, which oversees installations and BRAC policy, will be Rep. Rob Wittman (R-Va.). Wittman, who was first elected to Congress in December 2007, took over the subcommittee at the beginning of the 113th Congress …

State Commits $2.9M to Upgrade Innovation Center at Hanscom AFB

  • December 11, 2014
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The commonwealth of Massachusetts and the Air Force this week celebrated the re-branding of a facility at Hanscom AFB that both parties hope will foster leading-edge advances in defense applications, cyber defense, IT and public safety. The Hanscom Collaboration and Innovation Center, formerly known as the CEIF — Command, Control, Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance Enterprise Integration Facility — will expand its role to include industry, technical consortia, federally funded research and development centers, and academia, as well as federal, state and municipal public safety officials …

House Expected to Approve FY’15 Spending Package

  • December 10, 2014
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Despite opposition from both conservatives and liberals, the House appears poised to pass the $1.1 trillion spending package on Thursday that would fund all government agencies except for the Department of Homeland Security for the remainder of fiscal 2015. House leaders will be relying on a significant number of Democratic votes as at least 50 Republicans are expected to oppose the “CRomnibus” because it fails to block President Obama’s executive actions to shield up to 5 million illegal immigrants from deportation …

Commissaries Earn Reprieve in Omnibus

  • December 10, 2014
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The massive omnibus spending bill unveiled Tuesday would restore most of the $100 million cut in the federal subsidy for military grocery stores included in the fiscal 2015 defense authorization bill, a move that should ensure commissary operations remain at current levels. The FY 2015 omnibus, which would fund almost all government agencies through next September, would restore $90 million of the proposed reduction, reports Stars and Stripes. As a result, service members, their family members and veterans should not see a reduction in the discounts offered at the stores …

Defense Panels Request Update on Security Reviews

  • December 10, 2014
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The Defense Department will need to update the congressional defense committees on the actions it has taken following recent reviews of physical security standards at DOD facilities, under the final version of the fiscal 2015 defense authorization bill. The reviews of security standards were conducted in response to the shootings at the Washington Navy Yard in September 2013 and at Fort Hood, Texas, in November 2009. The report is due April 30 and should include: a summary of the recommendations that came out of the recent security standards reviews; a description of the actions taken to address each recommendation …

Ft. McPherson-Tyler Perry Sale Back on Track

  • December 10, 2014
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The Fort McPherson LRA’s plan to sell about two-thirds of the former post to filmmaker Tyler Perry is on again, after the authority on Tuesday replaced a board member and approved a resolution outlining the boundaries of the 330-acre tract Perry would purchase. The McPherson Implementing Local Redevelopment Authority’s action means Perry would obtain the post’s historic parade ground, officers’ quarters and a golf course for his planned movie and television production complex. The LRA would hold onto the remaining 144 acres, which follows the northern and eastern perimeters of the installation located on the southwest edge of Atlanta …

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