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Defense Communities 360 Headlines

Army Hotel Privatization Initiative Reaches Five-Year Milestone

  • November 9, 2014
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InterContinental Hotels Group last week celebrated five years as the hotel operator for the billion dollar Privatization of Army Lodging (PAL) program. Over the past five years, IHG has brought 77 Army lodging facilities into the IHG Army Hotels portfolio across 39 installations in the United States through three separate phases. This year, IHG has opened 1,300 guest rooms on Army posts. The firm expects to brand an existing 2,000 guest rooms on two posts by the end of 2015 …

First Lady, Madagascar Penguins Team up for Veterans Day

  • November 9, 2014
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First Lady Michelle Obama sends the “Penguins of Madagascar” on a top-secret mission to teach elementary and middle-school students about the many ways America’s military veterans can contribute to the nation. The six-minute video debunks the myths many Americans hold about veterans returning from duty. The video supports the GotYour6 campaign, an initiative focused on empowering veterans and shifting public perceptions of veterans through media. A recent study sponsored by GotYour6 reveals the contradictory perceptions Americans have of veterans. It finds that people’s views can be altered, partially through the support of the entertainment industry. “Not only does portraying veterans in a more neutral, asset-based role on television and film strengthen impressions of veterans and represent the most credible approach, it also holds the potential to engage the public in a new conversation about supporting returning veterans through opportunity rather than charity,” the study concludes.

Team Protecting Georgia Bombing Range Tapped for Inaugural Nancy Natoli Élan Award

  • November 9, 2014
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The team of military, state and nonprofit organizations responsible for protecting a bombing range in southeastern Georgia from encroachment has been awarded the inaugural Nancy Natoli Élan Award for Innovation in Land Conservation by the U.S. Endowment for Forestry and Communities. The Townsend Bombing Range Encroachment Partnering Team — Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort, Georgia Department of Natural Resources, The Nature Conservancy and Naval Facilities Engineering Command Southeast — has helped conserve more than 30,000 acres used for training by Marine Air Corps Station Beaufort, S.C., as well as Navy, Air Force and Army units from more than a dozen installations …

Pentagon Spending on Path to Bust Budget Caps, CBO Finds

  • November 6, 2014
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Pentagon spending is forecast to grow at an average annual rate of 1.2 percent over the next 15 years, resulting in a 20 percent increase in the defense budget by 2030, according to a report released Thursday by the Congressional Budget Office. The largest components of the DOD budget would grow by different amounts, however. The cost of operation and support, which accounts for about two-thirds of the department’s FY 2015 budget, would rise steadily through 2030, with average growth of 1.1 percent a year in real terms and cumulative growth of 18 percent. The growth in operation and support — which includes compensation for the department’s military and civilian employees, military health care, and various operation and maintenance activities — would occur despite a 6 percent decrease in the size of the military …

Ft. Jackson Restricts Access to Area Residents

  • November 6, 2014
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Residents of Columbia, S.C., who have grown accustomed to taking advantage of the lightly traveled roads on Fort Jackson for cycling or visiting the post’s water park, museums or golf course now will need to be escorted or pass a background check to gain entry to the installation. The change follows new Army regulations designed to prevent attacks similar to the one in Ottawa, Canada, last month in which a lone gunman killed a soldier guarding that country’s National War Memorial, said garrison commander Col. Mike Graese. Previously, visitors needed only to show their driver’s licenses to get onto the post …

Changes at the Top of Senate Milcon Spending Panel

  • November 6, 2014
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With Republicans in control of the Senate when the 114th Congress opens in January, the chamber’s Appropriations Committee will get new leadership. At the top, Thad Cochran (R-Miss.) likely will replace Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.) as chairman of the full committee. Cochrane will use his seniority on the committee to leapfrog the current ranking member, Richard Shelby (R-Ala.), reports CQ. Cochran, who chaired the full committee in the 109th Congress, also is expected to retain the gavel for the Defense Appropriations Subcommittee …

Middle Georgia Receives OEA Grant for Economic Diversification

  • November 6, 2014
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The Middle Georgia Regional Commission has received a $650,117 grant from DOD’s Office of Economic Adjustment to support the growth and diversification of the region’s economy, the commission announced last week. The grant, which will be matched with $116,946 of local funds, will support Middle Georgia’s 11 counties and 21 cities. The grant will be made up of two components — the creation of an innovative regional leadership program and the development of several regional asset maps …

Businesses Begin to Show Interest in Federal City Project

  • November 6, 2014
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Two businesses are considering leasing space at the Federal City project in New Orleans, and negotiations are underway with a third, officials said this week during a meeting of the Federal City Joint Development Committee. The real estate management firm trying to attract businesses to Federal City, the redevelopment of the former Naval Support Activity New Orleans, has sent lease proposals to two potential tenants, reported the Times-Picayune. “So we expect a lot of movement here in the next few weeks,” said Christian Brierre, a consultant for the Algiers Development District, which owns the property. The businesses would occupy the ground floor of the parking garage built next to the Marine Corps support facility that anchors the project. Only three of the 15 retail spaces on the garage’s ground floor are occupied. The Algiers Development District is looking for businesses that could serve the personnel at the headquarters for Marine Forces Reserve and Marine Forces North.

Congressional Staff Continue to Work toward Omnibus Spending Bill

  • November 5, 2014
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House and Senate Appropriations staffers continue to lay the groundwork for a fiscal 2015 omnibus spending bill to wrap up appropriations though next Oct. 1. But while Republican leaders in the House and Senate favor an omnibus to clear the decks for a GOP-led Congress next January, it’s still not clear whether House Republicans will go along with that approach. With Republicans increasing their House majority and gaining control of the Senate in Tuesday’s elections, conservatives likely will push for a second continuing resolution so they can rewrite bills in the new Congress to reflect GOP priorities …

Democratic Losses Will Revamp Armed Services Panel in Senate

  • November 5, 2014
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Two Democratic members of the Senate Armed Services Committee lost their re-election bids on Tuesday, but with the Republican Party gaining a majority of the chamber, the panel’s most significant change will be at the top. John McCain (R-Ariz.) is widely expected to take the committee gavel in the 114th Congress and with current chairman Carl Levin (D-Mich.) retiring, Jack Reed (D-R.I.) is in line to become the ranking member. Reed may opt to take the top Democratic spot on the Banking Committee instead …

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