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Defense Communities 360 Headlines

Infrastructure Upgrades to Save Letterkenny $4M Annually

  • February 16, 2015
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Letterkenny Army Depot, Pa., is expected to cut its energy use more than 25 percent, reduce water consumption nearly 50 percent, and generate about $4.1 million in annual energy and operational savings as the result of a $43.6 million infrastructure modernization project. The upgrades are part of a 20-year energy savings performance contract with Honeywell to make extensive improvements at Letterkenny without an upfront capital investment by the Army. The work is backed by a financial firm and Honeywell guarantees the upgrades can generate the projected savings necessary to repay the loan …

Pentagon Gets Carter after Senate Confirmation

  • February 13, 2015
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Ashton Carter is expected to assume the official duties of the defense secretary and take the oath of office in the next several days, the Pentagon reported following the Senate’s 93-5 confirmation vote Thursday. Carter, 60, will become the 25th Pentagon chief after earlier stints in the Obama administration as deputy secretary and acquisition chief. The pain-free confirmation process enjoyed by Carter was a tribute to his popularity on both sides of the aisle. Prior to the vote, John McCain, chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, praised the candidate on the Senate floor. “He is one of America’s most experienced defense professionals, respected by Republicans and Democrats alike …

The Insanity Defense (Department) Will Remain Hard Pressed to Win Congress’ Approval for BRAC

  • February 12, 2015
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The Pentagon shouldn’t be surprised that Congress rejected its requests the past three years to realign and close additional bases and likely will ignore its request again this year. Until defense officials revise the BRAC law to address lawmakers’ concerns about the 2005 round’s ballooning implementation cost and less-than-promised annual savings, there is no reason to believe Congress will suddenly embrace a new round of base closures, Lucian Niemeyer, a former staff member of the Senate Armed Service Committee, says in a commentary published in Real Clear Defense. “Each year, Congress has asked the Pentagon to suggest improvements to the BRAC law and, each year, there have been none. It would be insane for Congress to say ‘yes’ to the same process and expect a different result …

Concord Residents Learn about Competing Proposals for Naval Weapons Station

  • February 12, 2015
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The three firms competing to become the master developer for the former Concord Naval Weapons Station in northern California this week presented their visions for converting the base to a new community with housing, shopping, offices and parks. Concord Mayor Tim Grayson stressed the need to integrate the new development with existing neighborhoods, reported the San Jose Mercury News. The Concord Reuse Project Area Plan, which the city adopted in 2012, calls for building up to 12,272 housing units and 6.1 million square feet of commercial space on about 2,300 acres near the North Concord/Martinez BART station, with about 70 percent of the site preserved as parkland or open space …

Army Holds Ribbon-Cutting for Solar Array at Ft. Huachuca

  • February 12, 2015
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Officials from the Army and Tucson Electric Power on Wednesday dedicated a 17.2-megawatt solar array at Fort Huachuca that ranks as one of DOD’s largest and is expected to supply one-quarter of the southeastern Arizona post’s electricity requirements. The 68-acre project — a joint effort among the Army Office of Energy Initiatives, Fort Huachuca, General Services Administration, Tucson Electric Power and developer E.ON Climate and Renewables — was developed through a GSA area-wide public utility contract. Under the agreement, TEP funded the project and will own and operate it; E.ON managed design and construction …

Environmental Issues May Delay Ft. McPherson Sale

  • February 12, 2015
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The sale of 330 acres at the former Fort McPherson to filmmaker Tyler Perry for a movie studio is likely to be delayed due to minor environmental issues covering about 36 acres at the property located on the southwest edge of Atlanta. Until the issues raised by the Army regarding four parcels on the 488-acre site have been resolved, the closing — which had been set tentatively for the end of February — will need to be postponed, reported the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. At a community briefing on Wednesday, Brian Hooker, executive director of the McPherson Implementing Local Redevelopment Authority, assured residents the issues are minor, primarily involving documentation, and do not signal that additional cleanup will be required …

Wittman Places High Bar for New BRAC Round

  • February 11, 2015
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The Defense Department needs to make a stronger case to convince Rep. Rob Wittman (R-Va.) that the House Armed Services’ Readiness Subcommittee should approve its request to hold a new round of base closures. Wittman, who chairs the readiness panel, wants answers from DOD on two different questions before he would consider authorizing another BRAC, reported the Daily Press. One is finding out where the department is spending too much money. He does not believe that spending cuts should be applied equally across the services. The other answer Wittman is looking for is an analysis of the potential savings from a new round over the next five years …

DOD Budget Has Room for Cuts, Experts Say

  • February 11, 2015
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At a hearing of the House Armed Services Committee on Wednesday, defense experts pointed to a number of places the Pentagon could slash spending to meet the Budget Control Act caps starting in fiscal 2016. For starters, DOD should consider the recent recommendations of the Military Compensation and Retirement Modernization Commission, which include offering contributions to 401(k)-style accounts for service members who leave before reaching the 20-year service milestone, reported Military Times. “They’ve got a sound approach there — it certainly could use some tweaks and improvements from Congress,” said Todd Harrison, a senior fellow with the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessment …

Pennsylvania Installations Share Concerns over Possible Downsizing

  • February 11, 2015
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The leaders of three installations in south central Pennsylvania met with local officials Wednesday to highlight the important role the facilities play in the region’s economy as well as in national security. Two of the installations — the Defense Logistics Agency’s Distribution Center Susquehanna and Naval Support Activity Mechanicsburg — each employ more than 4,000 workers, most of whom are civilians. The Army War College and the Army Heritage and Education Center in Carlisle have 1,700 staff members. The War College hosts more than 400 students annually. But beyond demonstrating the installations are critical to the local economy, it’s important to show they are run efficiently and serve unique functions within the military …

DOD Energy Consumption Hits Record Low

  • February 11, 2015
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Energy use by the Defense Department, including both installation and operational energy, in fiscal 2013 fell to the lowest level recorded since at least FY 1975, according to a new report from the Energy Information Administration. DOD’s overall share of federal energy usage dropped from 87 percent in 1975 to 78 percent in 2013. Installation energy — which includes the energy required to operate installations, including energy required by non-combat vehicles — accounts for 30 percent of the department’s consumption. The agency attributed the decline to a handful of policy initiatives, along with the drawdown of military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan …

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