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Defense Communities 360 Headlines

Turnaround Company Poised to Take over South Weymouth Redevelopment

  • May 10, 2015
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Two years after Starwood Land Ventures gained control of the redevelopment of the former South Weymouth Naval Air Station from the project’s initial master developer, a new firm is promising to revitalize the long-stalled effort. After signing a purchase and sale agreement, Raleigh, N.C.-based LStar Management is scheduled to complete its purchase of Starwood’s stake in SouthField, located outside of Boston, on Wednesday. The transaction would represent the latest chapter in a reuse effort that has made only limited headway since the air station closed in 1997. Progress on commercial development at the base has languished, although home construction began in 2011 …

Lawmakers Look to Halt Next Round of Army Downsizing

  • May 10, 2015
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With the Army on course to shrink its active-duty end strength by up to 70,000 soldiers in the coming years, lawmakers representing Army communities are eager to offer amendments to the fiscal 2016 defense authorization bill when it goes to the House floor this week that would suspend the planned drawdown. The House Armed Services Committee already denied one attempt to maintain the Army’s end strength at current levels when it marked up the legislation last month. An amendment sponsored by Republican Reps. John Fleming (La.) and Elise Stefanik (N.Y.) called for maintaining troop strength at 490,000, the service’s current target for the end of fiscal 2015. The provision would have prohibited further cuts until six months after officials submitted a strategic and operational analysis of the impact of future reductions, and assessed how the cuts would harm overall readiness …

Air Force Installation Support Agency One Step Closer to Reaching Operational Capability

  • May 10, 2015
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The Air Force’s newly created agency responsible for consolidating installation management functions across the service is on track to reach initial operating capability this summer, following its formal activation last week during a ceremony at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland. Maj. Gen. Theresa Carter, who was appointed the first commander of the Air Force Installation and Mission Support Center at the May 5 event, told an audience of more than 500 people that the agency is still in the early stages of building the organization. “Over the course of the next year and a half, we’ll stand up the organization, hire the permanent staff and establish the necessary processes and procedures to deliver resources and support to commanders …

Northern Command Raises Security Level at U.S. Installations

  • May 10, 2015
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U.S. Northern Command has elevated the force protection level for all DOD facilities in the continental United States, due to a general environment of heightened threats rather than to a specific threat, a Pentagon spokesman said Friday. Northcom raised the force protection level at DOD facilities from Alpha to Bravo, indicating an increased or more predictable threat of terrorist activity, said Army Col. Steve Warren. For installations, the elevated force protection level means more comprehensive checking of those entering facilities, heightened awareness of personnel at the facilities, and in some circumstances, more security personnel on duty at the facilities …

Armed Services Panel Applauds Utilities Privatization, School Renovation Initiatives

  • May 10, 2015
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The House Armed Services Committee praised two initiatives that are resulting in upgraded facilities across DOD installations — utilities privatization and the construction and renovation of schools operated by local districts — in its report accompanying the fiscal 2016 defense authorization bill. The department’s utilities privatization initiative has been able “to achieve greater efficiencies and reduce operating costs while recapitalizing aging utilities infrastructure with modern, reliable systems,” the committee stated. “In addition, the committee notes that utilities privatization can also enhance support to military missions,” according to the report …

Senate Panel Unlikely to Adopt DOD’s BRAC Request, McCain Says

  • May 7, 2015
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The Senate’s version of the fiscal 2016 defense authorization bill probably won’t endorse the Obama administration’s request to hold a BRAC round in 2017, Armed Services Chairman John McCain (R-Ariz.) said Thursday. “I think they made bad mistakes in the last couple of rounds, and so I am a bit skeptical,” McCain told reporters in explaining his opposition to approving additional base closures, reported CQ Roll Call. McCain had not weighed in on the BRAC question since taking the helm of the Armed Services Committee at the beginning of the year, but in March the chairman and ranking member, Jack Reed (D-R.I.), called for DOD to carry out management reforms “that could reduce or consolidate military headquarters, commands and infrastructure …

Ft. Knox Demonstrates Ability to Turn off Grid

  • May 7, 2015
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Fort Knox celebrated its energy independence Wednesday, the culmination of a long-term effort to protect the Kentucky post from interruptions in the commercial grid’s power supply by harvesting the natural gas beneath its surface. The installation’s energy security initiative was prompted by a devastating ice storm in 2009 that cut off power to Fort Knox and much of the state for almost a week. Since then, the post has installed hundreds of 500-foot-deep wells and almost 600 miles of underground piping to heat and cool 6 million square feet of building space with geothermal energy. To further leverage the methane gas underneath it, Fort Knox built six new energy substations that include gas generators to allow it to continue 100 percent of its operations if power from its utility provider is interrupted …

Committee Wants Update on DOD’s Plan for Mitigating Impact of Climate Change at Installations

  • May 7, 2015
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The House Armed Services Committee directs the Pentagon to brief it on the steps it is taking to mitigate the potential impacts of climate change, under an amendment to the fiscal 2016 defense authorization bill added during last week’s committee markup. According to the amendment, offered by Rep. Scott Peters (D-Calif.), the briefing should address: How are changing conditions affecting operations and military readiness at U.S. installations? How are best practices being disseminated and implemented across U.S. installations …

Veterans Still Face Hurdles when Entering the Civilian Workforce

  • May 7, 2015
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Service members entering the civilian world continue to face challenges obtaining licenses and certifications for skills they used during their service. Combat medics, for example, typically will not qualify for basic health care jobs despite being highly trained. At a two-day American Legion conference last week, leaders from business and government looked for ways to smooth the transition for personnel seeking to enter the civilian workforce. Labor Secretary Tom Perez said the government has overhauled DOD’s job readiness program for service members leaving the military over the past two years, but said “unnecessary licensing barriers” still exist …

Twentynine Palms Honored for Sustainability Program

  • May 7, 2015
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Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center Twentynine Palms, located in the High Desert region of the Mojave Desert in Southern California, last month was named one of nine winners of the 2015 Secretary of Defense Environmental Awards for exceeding the department’s goals in energy reduction and water conservation and aggressively applying renewable energy solutions with an innovative and collaborative sustainability program. “Their efforts strengthen the department’s position as an environmental leader by integrating cost-effective environmental management with our national defense mission, thereby saving critical resources and helping to keep our country safe through sustained mission readiness,” Frank Kendall, undersecretary of defense for acquisition, technology and logistics, said in a statement announcing the winners …

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