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Defense Communities 360 Headlines

Defense Officials Signal Intention to Request New BRAC Round

  • January 11, 2015
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Comments last week by two senior DOD officials provided a relatively strong indication the Obama administration once more will ask Congress for permission to conduct another round of base closures when it submits its fiscal 2016 budget request next month. On Friday Rear Adm. John Kirby, the Pentagon press secretary, told reporters that the European infrastructure consolidation announced the previous day didn’t change the department’s view of the pressing need for a new BRAC round. “You know, we’re operating right now with what we think is about a 25 percent excess infrastructure here in the continental United States. And we simply can’t afford that,” said Kirby. “And I suspect you’ll see that — that be part of the discussion moving forward into February,” he said …

New Year Ushers in New Installations, Energy Organization at Pentagon

  • January 11, 2015
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The Defense Department has merged its installations and operational energy organizations to comply with the newly enacted fiscal 2015 defense authorization bill. The newly formed organization, the office of the assistant secretary of defense (ASD) for energy, installations and environment, is being run by John Conger, who had been acting deputy undersecretary of defense (DUSD) for installations and environment. But because the new officeholder needs to be nominated by the president and is subject to Senate confirmation, Conger’s official title now is “performing the duties of the ASD for energy, installations and environment,” DOD spokesman Mark Wright told 360 …

Ft. Lee Plays Key Role for Neighboring Communities, Army Learns at Listening Session

  • January 11, 2015
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Residents and local leaders last week told Army officials about the importance of Fort Lee, Va., to both the surrounding region and the military during a listening session intended to gather public input before deciding how to shrink the service’s end strength by 70,000 soldiers by fiscal 2020. “It is not just a base that sits among us, but it is a part of us,” state Sen. Rosalyn Dance said at the meeting held at the post’s Army Logistics University, reported the Richmond Times-Dispatch. About 100 people attended the session, covering a broad spectrum of the community, including residents, business owners, educators and lawmakers from the neighboring cities of Petersburg, Colonial Heights and Hopewell, and three surrounding counties …

Governors Brace for Next Iteration of Battle over Army National Guard Aircraft

  • January 11, 2015
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After successfully fending off the Army’s plan last year to shift the National Guard’s Apache attack helicopters to the active component, the nation’s governors are expecting another fight over the Guard this year. “We already know that the Pentagon intends to resubmit plans to reduce the size of the Army Guard and to remove the Guard’s Apache helicopters,” Utah Gov. Gary Herbert said last week at a State of the States speech in Washington. “Governors and Congress said no once. And we will say it again. The Guard is the most cost-effective, combat-ready force in our nation’s arsenal,” said Herbert, who serves as co-chairman of the National Governors Association …

Montana Senator Named to Top Democratic Spot on Milcon Spending Panel

  • January 11, 2015
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Montana Sen. Jon Tester (D) will be the ranking member on the Senate Military Construction and Veterans Affairs Appropriations Subcommittee in the new Congress, the committee’s Democrats announced Friday. Tester fills the opening on the milcon panel created by the retirement of Tim Johnson (D-S.D.). Montana has one major installation, Malmstrom Air Force Base. Another panel getting a new ranking member is Homeland Security, notable because its new top Democrat, Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.), gave up the opportunity to serve in that capacity on any of the Armed Services Committee’s panels. She had been chairman of the Armed Services’ readiness panel and remains a member of the full committee …

Pentagon Unveils Consolidation Plan for European Basing

  • January 8, 2015
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The Defense Department will close a major U.S. Air Force base in the United Kingdom and 14 other European facilities as part of an infrastructure consolidation expected to save $500 million annually. Thursday’s announcement by senior defense officials represented the culmination of the European Infrastructure Consolidation process, a two-year effort designed to improve the efficiency of the U.S. presence in Europe by eliminating excess infrastructure. “[The] bottom line for us was that we wanted to preserve our operational capability, while reducing the cost of supporting it,” said John Conger …

BRAC Lurks below Surface of European Infrastructure Initiative

  • January 8, 2015
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The European Infrastructure Consolidation announced Thursday should help DOD make its case to Congress for a new BRAC round, according to the Pentagon’s top installations official. Since the Obama administration first asked permission three years ago to conduct additional base closures, one of the most popular reasons cited by lawmakers for ignoring the request was that the department still needed to streamline its overseas footprint. On Thursday, John Conger, performing the duties of the assistant secretary of defense for energy, installations and environment, acknowledged the effort to pare excess infrastructure partially was intended to respond to lawmakers’ concerns …

Only One New Hampshire Senator at Top of Readiness Panel

  • January 8, 2015
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New Hampshire Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R) will head up the Readiness and Management Support panel of the Senate Armed Services Committee in the 114th Congress, but she no longer will share the subcommittee’s leadership with her fellow New Hampshirite, Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D). In the past Congress, Shaheen had been the subcommittee chair, with Ayotte as the ranking member. But now with Republicans controlling the Senate, Ayotte will take the gavel of the Readiness panel and Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine (D) will serve as the ranking member. Shaheen, however, will remain on the full committee …

DOD FY’16 Budget Topline to Exceed Spending Cap

  • January 8, 2015
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The Pentagon is expected to request a topline spending level of $534 billion for fiscal 2016, which would exceed the Budget Control Act spending cap by almost $35 billion, according to defense officials and congressional aides. If Congress matches DOD’s request but fails to provide the department any relief from the spending cap, automatic cuts under sequestration would be imposed. Defense stakeholders are eagerly awaiting the Obama administration’s FY 2016 budget request — scheduled to be unveiled Feb. 2 — as it follows a two-year period in which lawmakers offered DOD $31.5 billion in extra spending by lifting the budget caps …

State-of-the Art Street Lighting at Brunswick Landing to Generate Hefty Energy Savings

  • January 8, 2015
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New street lighting installed at the former Naval Air Station Brunswick, Maine, features dimming controls that are expected to trim the LRA’s energy and maintenance costs by 80 percent. The project — which upgraded 650 street and area lights with new LED fixtures and radio frequency-enabled control and monitoring systems at Brunswick Landing — was developed and financed by Pemco Holdings LLC. The effort did not require any upfront capital from the Midcoast Regional Redevelopment Authority; it will be paid for from savings generated by the program over a 10-year period …

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