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Defense Communities 360 Headlines

Congressional Tide Has Turned on BRAC, Smith Says

  • July 10, 2015
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Congressional opposition to approving a new round of base closures is loosening, even as this year’s Congress has resisted the Obama administration’s request for a BRAC in 2017, the top Democrat on the House Armed Services Committee said Thursday. “The hostility, the notion that this was completely unacceptable, which existed about a year ago is not there anymore amongst my fellow members is the way I would put it,” Rep. Adam Smith (Wash.), the most prominent advocate in Congress for a BRAC round, told reporters. Smith dismissed all of the standard arguments, saying they had run their course …

Communities Dodge Worst Case Scenarios as Army Spreads out Force Reductions

  • July 10, 2015
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All but a few Army installations will be able to avoid dramatic force reductions after the service on Thursday announced its latest round of restructuring needed to shrink its active-duty end strength from 490,000 to 450,000 soldiers in response to stringent spending caps imposed since fiscal 2013. The supplemental programmatic environmental assessment the Army released in June 2014 listed 30 installations that potentially could lose an aggregate of between 2,500 and 16,000 military and civilian personnel by the end of this second round of personnel cuts, but the bulk of communities avoided the worst case outcomes. Only three installations would lose more than 2,500 military personnel, and only six would lose more than 1,000 soldiers …

Warning about Further Cuts in Force Structure Also Applies to Civilians

  • July 10, 2015
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Since last year, the Army has warned that this latest round of force reductions shrinking the service’s active-duty end strength to 450,000 by the end of fiscal 2018 would not be the last if the discretionary spending caps first imposed in fiscal 2013 remain in place next year. At that point, officials would begin planning to cut up to 30,000 additional troops to shrink the force to 420,000 soldiers by the end of FY 2019. Similarly, the reduction of 17,000 civilians the Army announced this week would be extended to an additional 6,000 civilian workers by 2019 if the budget caps remain in place next year …

Army’s Plan to Carry out Force Restructuring Changed since January

  • July 10, 2015
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The Army was able to preserve two of the four brigade combat teams (BCTs) it once planned to eliminate to reach an end strength of 450,000 by making a series of cutbacks in other elements, officials said Thursday. Those changes included headquarters reductions, the Aviation Restructure Initiative, operational force design changes, and reductions to enabler and generating forces. With those cuts, the number of Army BCTs will decline from a wartime high of 45 to 30 by the end of FY 2017. And even with the two BCTs that are slated to be eliminated as a result of Thursday’s announcement, the Army still is preserving some of the units’ combat power — and a degree of reversibility — by converting them to maneuver battalion task forces. As a result, each unit will drop in strength from about 4,000 soldiers to about 1,050 soldiers …

Rock Island Arsenal Fabricates White House Fence Spikes

  • July 10, 2015
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Spikes now being installed on the White House fence to enhance security were manufactured at Rock Island Arsenal’s Joint Manufacturing and Technology Center. The “removable anti-climb feature consisting of sharp metal points” was designed by the U.S. Secret Service. Rock Island Arsenal, located on the Mississippi River between Iowa and Illinois, is the Army’s only full-scale metal manufacturer. Personnel from the Joint Manufacturing and Technology Center began helping to install the spikes last week. The work should be finished next month. The security enhancements are intended only as a temporary measure; the Secret Service and the National Park Service are developing a long-term design solution. The modifications are a response to an incident last year in which a man carrying a knife scaled the White House fence, ran across the North Lawn and entered the residence before being tackled by a Secret Service officer. To see the fencing being installed, watch a video from the Washington Post.

Army Leaders Hope to Stop Cuts at 40,000 Troops

  • July 9, 2015
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As Army officials began notifying congressional delegations Wednesday about their plans to reduce the force’s active-duty end strength from 490,000 soldiers to 450,000 by the end of fiscal 2017, word began leaking out as to what installations would be affected. A partial tally in the Fayetteville Observer listed nine installations slated to lose from 75 troops to 3,400 as the Army copes with tight fiscal constraints. The largest cuts, of greater than 3,300 personnel, would hit Fort Benning, Ga., and Fort Hood, Texas, according to the account. Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska, would suffer a loss of about 2,600 soldiers. Fort Bliss, Texas, and Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash., each would lose about 1,200 troops, according to local reports …

Georgia Senator Pledges to Fight Army Cuts

  • July 9, 2015
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Sen. Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.) vowed to fight the Army’s planned restructuring after learning from Army Secretary John McHugh on Wednesday that two Georgia posts would lose a total of 4,350 soldiers. “I am demanding answers from the Department of Defense on how they are justifying these troop cuts in Georgia,” Isakson said of the Army’s plans to eliminate, on a net basis, 950 soldiers from Fort Stewart and 3,400 troops from Fort Benning. “I have talked in great detail with Secretary McHugh today and will continue to fight to see to it that we preserve every soldier in Georgia that we can …

JBLM to Lose Medical Headquarters

  • July 9, 2015
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The Army’s Western Regional Medical Command will be moving to Hawaii, costing Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash., about 60 jobs and a command position for a two-star general, officials confirmed this week. The move comes as the Army is consolidating its five regional medical commands into four headquarters. The medical command will relocate to Honolulu, home of the Army’s Pacific headquarters, reported the News Tribune. A deputy commander for the medical command, a position most likely assigned to a brigadier general, will remain at JBLM and focus on patient care throughout the Pacific …

Talks to Reach Compromise over Defense Bill Remain on Track

  • July 9, 2015
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Negotiations to hash out a compromise version of the fiscal 2016 defense authorization bill are progressing this week as members of the House and Senate Armed Services subcommittees meet to work out differences in each of their sections. “All the different panels are meeting today and tomorrow and then Friday we intend to wrap it up and be prepared to submit our final decisions,” Mike Rogers (R-Ala.), who chairs the House Armed Services Strategic Forces Subcommittee, told CQ Roll Call. Talks at the subcommittee level are not expected to address several high-profile issues which will be left for the chairmen and ranking members of the two Armed Services committees. Those include provisions dealing with Guantanamo detainees, acquisition reform, and compensation and benefits for military personnel …

Planning Agency to Craft Diversification Plan following loss of Aviation Brigade at Ft. Campbell

  • July 9, 2015
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The Pennyrile Area Development District will receive a $393,348 community adjustment assistance grant from the Office of Economic Adjustment to mitigate the loss of the 159th Combat Aviation Brigade at Fort Campbell, Kentucky Rep. Ed Whitfield (R) announced last week. The planning district for western Kentucky will use the funds to put together an economic diversification and growth plan for a six-county region in Kentucky and Tennessee. The plan will examine earlier and proposed reductions; assess the impacts of those reductions; identify and analyze the capacity of the region in several key areas; and define strategies for local, regional and state leadership needed to mitigate impacts and spur growth in the area …

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