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Defense Communities 360 Headlines

FAA Taps England Air Park for Military Airport Program

  • July 30, 2015
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The Federal Aviation Administration selected Alexandria International Airport, located at the former England Air Force Base in central Louisiana, to participate in the Military Airport Program (MAP), providing the airport funds for a major apron rehabilitation project. Alexandria was the only former military airport or joint use airport added to MAP this year, the second straight year FAA has picked only one participant. A total of 15 airports can participate in the program at one time. The England Economic & Industrial Development District, which is responsible for turning the former air base into England Air Park, is expected to receive about $9 million because of this designation …

Overseas Bases Remain a Good Value, O’Hanlon Responds

  • July 30, 2015
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To the extent that DOD’s overseas bases provide deterrence and, in some regions, a quick-response capability in the event of a foreign crisis, the nation’s overseas bases are a bargain, says Michael O’Hanlon, co-director of the Brookings Institution’s Center for 21st Century Security and Intelligence. O’Hanlon’s blog post came in response to an op-ed from American University Professor David Vine earlier this week claiming the Defense Department maintains a vast array of overseas bases that waste money and harm the nation’s interests. Only a small fraction of DOD’s 600 military bases located abroad are major operational bases. For instance, the Air Force has only 16 overseas bases with major runways and associated infrastructure, O’Hanlon notes. And the cost of maintaining the nation’s overseas bases is an order of magnitude less expensive than the $85 billion figure cited by Vine …

Officials Mark 50th Anniversary of Army Community Service

  • July 29, 2015
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At a celebration of the 50th anniversary of Army Community Service last week, Lt. Gen. David Halverson, assistant chief of staff for installation management and commander of Installation Management Command, recounted the initiative’s founder. Lt. Col. Emma Baird changed the Army philosophy about what families mean to the Army and its readiness, he said. Halverson called the year 1965 “a turning point for us,” reported the Army News Service. The need for the program started to become apparent by 1960 when Army family members outnumbered uniformed members for the first time as marriage rates among soldiers soared. After the creation of the All-Volunteer Force in 1973, the Army again reassessed its family programs after recognizing the strong link between a quality force and family support …

Prospect of Federal Shutdown Reaches 40 Percent, Expert Says

  • July 29, 2015
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With Republicans leaders resisting President Obama’s latest call for budget talks to resolve the impasse over fiscal 2016 spending, federal budget expert Stan Collender says the chances of a government shutdown have now risen to 40 percent. Of course, the most likely outcome still is a continuing resolution that remains in force until a budget deal can be reached, Collender, an executive vice president at Qorvis/MSLGROUP and a former staffer on the House and Senate Budget committees, said in a blog post. Last month, House Speaker John Boehner had said he was willing to sit down with the White House to negotiate a budget deal, but so far the president had never asked him do so. But after House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy last week said he didn’t see “a place currently where they c(ould) come to a conclusion …

Massachusetts Steps up Base Promotion Efforts

  • July 29, 2015
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Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker (R) is traveling to Washington, D.C., this week to meet with senior members of the Senate Armed Services Committee and the Pentagon’s top installations official to promote the state’s military facilities. Baker is meeting with two Senate Armed Services members from New England — Jack Reed (D-R.I.), the committee’s ranking member, and Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.), who chairs the committee’s panel responsible for BRAC policy. At DOD, the governor will meet with John Conger, acting assistant secretary of defense for energy, installations and environment. Meeting with senators from other New England states will help officials develop a regional strategy to protect the installations, MassDevelopment President and CEO Marty Jones, who will join the governor, told MassLive.com. Many base employees cross state lines to get to work, and the New England installations play different roles and do not compete with one another …

Spaceport Designation at Ellington Airport Expected to Lift Houston’s Fortunes

  • July 29, 2015
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The recent selection of Ellington Airport as the nation’s 10th commercial spaceport is expected to greatly bolster Houston’s economy as a new industry grows around the former Air Force facility. The FAA granted the Houston Airport System a launch license for Ellington on June 30. The spaceport designation “is a signal to all of the aerospace businesses that Houston means business and that we are welcoming them, any and all, to come and explore the opportunities that Houston can provide for aerospace companies,” said Dan Seal, executive director of special initiatives at Bay Area Houston Economic Partnership …

Air Force Turns on First Well Treating Fuel Spill outside of Kirtland AFB

  • July 29, 2015
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Albuquerque officials are hopeful that the Air Force’s latest effort to address an underground fuel leak at Kirtland Air Force Base that could be as large as 24 million gallons will protect the city’s drinking water supply. In June, workers turned on the first of a series of wells that will pump the fuel and contaminated water out of the ground. The Air Force plans to build two more wells this fall and, depending on how the cleanup progresses, workers could construct up to five wells next year, reported Air Force Times. “There was a period of time during which we were very concerned about the apparent lack of progress and lack of clarity with respect to cleanup plans,” said David Morris, a spokesman for the Albuquerque Bernalillo County Water Utility Authority. “So we’ve been very encouraged by recent developments, which seem to point to a renewed commitment on the part of the Air Force to address this problem …

Encouraging Signs Revealed in Veteran Employment Survey

  • July 29, 2015
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Transitioning service members and veterans are showing greater confidence in their abilities, a feeling that is shared by employers, according to the results of the latest Veterans Talent Index, a survey sponsored by Monster and Military.com. “Generally, the process of changing attitudes and building confidence in a population tends to be slow,” said Greg Smith, president of Military.com. “However, in four short years, both employers and veterans have done so with great results. Veteran unemployment is down and confidence in their ability to achieve success in the civilian sector is up, thanks to the tireless efforts of many,” Smith said. Employers are hiring veterans because they are the best qualified candidates and because of their prior work experience, not because they served in the military …

New House Appropriations Chair Could Result in New Defense Cardinal

  • July 28, 2015
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A decision by Harold Rogers (R-Ky.) not to seek a fourth term atop the House Appropriations Committee when the next Congress starts in 2017 could create an opening for chairman of the committee’s defense spending panel. During an interview last week, Rogers said he didn’t expect to ask his party’s leadership for a waiver to allow him to retain the committee gavel for a fourth consecutive term. The three leading contenders to chair the full committee are Rodney Frelinghuysen (R-N.J.) — who now heads the defense spending panel — Kay Granger (R-Texas) and Robert Aderholt (R-Ala.). All three are positioned to make a strong case for replacing Rogers. None, however, has publicly stated they are interested in pursuing the chairmanship …

Army Commission Continues National Tour

  • July 28, 2015
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The National Commission on the Future of the Army has maintained a brisk pace as it visits posts across the country to assess the right balance between the active Army, the National Guard and the Army Reserve. Last week, Chairman Carter Ham and Commissioner Jack Stultz visited Fort Campbell, Ky., to meet with Maj. Gen. Jeffrey Holmes, deputy adjutant general of the Tennessee National Guard, and Col. Darrell Darnbush, commander of the 278th Armor Brigade Combat Team. “We were particularly interested in the partnerships the National Guard has built with its active duty neighbors and the overall ability to conduct multi-component training,” Ham said, reported Clarksville Online. “The importance of ensuring readiness of the Total Army Force in a fiscally constrained environment is critical to sustaining the relationships (among active and reserve components) formed through 14 years of combat …

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