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Defense Communities 360 Headlines

Officials Hopeful New Year Will Mark New Direction for South Weymouth Reuse

  • January 6, 2015
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With new legislation enacted last year to overhaul the redevelopment of the former Naval Air Station South Weymouth, local officials are guardedly optimistic the reuse project will make significant strides in 2015. The legislation, signed by Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick (D), replaced the long-standing LRA with a new authority and shifted responsibility for public services and property tax revenue to the surrounding communities of Weymouth, Abington and Rockland. It also gave the project’s master developer, Starwood Land Ventures, more flexibility regarding the pace of the project. By the end of 2014, the prospects for a turnaround seemed hopeful as Pulte Homes neared the first major land deal under the new framework governing SouthField …

Navy Projects Slight Uptick in End Strength by 2020

  • January 6, 2015
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The number of Navy personnel will increase by 3,000 sailors over the next five years to 328,000, according to the service’s current plans. The service now is planning the composition of the fleet of sailors it projects it will need in 2025, reports Military.com. “We kind of have a sense of what the fleet looks like, now we can have conversations about what the sailors of 2025 will look like. It is a matter of attracting and keeping the sailors to man that fleet,” said Cmdr. Chris Servello, spokesman for the chief of Navy Personnel …

Senate Postpones Hearing on Carter Nomination

  • January 6, 2015
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The Senate Armed Services Committee is delaying Ashton B. Carter’s confirmation hearing to be the next defense secretary to allow him time to recover from long-planned back surgery, incoming Chairman John McCain (R-Ariz.) said Tuesday. The hearing likely will be pushed back until early February, reported CQ. “We were ready to go immediately, but Ash Carter had to have an operation,” McCain said. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel has said he will stay at the Pentagon until his replacement is confirmed …

Stakeholders Meet to Streamline Air Force’s Utilities Privatization Process

  • January 6, 2015
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Stakeholders from across the Air Force and DOD met at the Air Force Civil Engineer Center (AFCEC) to streamline the process for turning over utility systems to the private sector. Officials from headquarters Air Force, AFCEC’s Installations and Energy directorates, and the Defense Logistics Agency Energy, along with Air Force legal counsel, major command utilities privatization representatives and installation contracting officer representatives, focused on eliminating redundancies from the existing process for privatizing water, wastewater, electric and natural gas utilities …

Waive Income Taxes on Retirees’ Military Benefits, South Carolina Paper Urges

  • January 6, 2015
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As part of an effort to attract retired veterans, South Carolina lawmakers should pass legislation eliminating the state’s income tax on military retirement benefits, according to an editorial in Tuesday’s Aiken Standard. Taxes from retirement benefits currently generate $22 million in revenue annually, but a policy to exempt such benefits from income taxes would boost economic growth if it helps the state attract more retirees, the paper said. “Such tax relief shouldn’t be seen as a mere display of patriotism, it would ultimately be a smart economic tool for the state’s future …

New Players Mean Budget Deal Remains a Long Shot

  • January 5, 2015
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With new lawmakers heading up the House and Senate Budget committees in the 114th Congress, the likelihood that Congress is able to duplicate the late-2013 agreement that lifted the fiscal 2014 and 2015 defense spending caps by a total of $31 billion appears remote. That deal was negotiated by Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) and Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.), but both are moving to new committee assignments this year. At this point, it’s not entirely clear how their replacements, Rep. Tom Price (R-Ga.) and Sen. Mike Enzi (R-Wyo.), plan on addressing sequestration. If Congress does not revise the 2011 Budget Control Act, the topline for defense spending would rise only $1.7 billion to $523 billion in FY 2016 …

Commission to Focus on Modernizing Military Benefits, Not Slashing Them

  • January 5, 2015
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The recommendations of a nine-member commission established by Congress to review military compensation will focus on updating pay and benefits offered by the military so they are more appropriate for 21st Century personnel, rather than trimming them, according to a spokesman for the panel. “It’s fair to say we have identified a number of efficiencies,” Jamie Graybeal, spokesman for the Military Compensation and Retirement Modernization Commission, told the Hill last week. The commission’s chief aim was to preserve the all-volunteer force by improving benefits not valued by service members and eliminating redundancies …

Puerto Rico Selects Master Developer for Roosevelt Roads

  • January 5, 2015
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The Puerto Rican government last month picked Arlington, Va.-based Clark Realty Capital to transform 3,000 acres at the former Naval Station Roosevelt Roads into a $3.2 billion mixed-used development focused on eco-tourism. The 30-year project proposed by Clark calls for hotels, housing, offices, retail stores, restaurants, a light industrial area, a cruise ship port, a marina, a terminal for high-speed ferries, schools, golf courses and other uses. The Roosevelt Roads LRA selected Clark over two other candidates — Uruguay-based Ariel Investment and Puerto Rico-based OHorizons …

One Group Objects to Local Effort to Build Support for Army Installations in Hawaii

  • January 5, 2015
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Local leaders striving to retain the Army’s presence in Hawaii in the face of a restructuring intended to eliminate up to 70,000 troops by fiscal 2020 are being forced to compete with one group that is embracing an Army proposal to shed up to 19,800 soldiers and civilians at Schofield Barracks and Fort Shafter. The Chamber of Commerce Hawaii — in conjunction with the office of Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell — has been asking residents to sign a petition demonstrating support for the Army mission on Oahu as part of its “Keep Hawaii’s Heroes” campaign. The chamber said the loss of the soldiers, civilians and 30,000 family members would represent about 5 percent of Hono­lulu’s population …

New Website Helps Service Members Locate Housing in Host Community

  • January 5, 2015
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The Defense Department has launched a website, HOMES.mil, to help service members and their families, and DOD civilians find rental housing located near military installations. The listings provided by property managers are verified by military housing offices, reports the Navy Installations Command housing program. “HOMES.mil modernizes the way Navy Housing provides information on local rental properties and improves the housing service centers’ customer service to sailors and their families while helping to alleviate some of the burden and stress of PCS [permanent change of station],” said Greg Wright, Navy Housing program director. HOMES.mil offers a database of available rental listings, as well as contact information for service members’ current or prospective housing office. Military personnel also can use the site to list their own rental properties. The site allows property managers to create and update their listings, which can include photos, floorplans and descriptions of amenities.

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