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Posts Tagged ‘defense real estate’

Time to Consider Privatizing Installation Management, Officials Suggest

  • June 30, 2015
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With funding for installation support falling to historically low levels, the military services should consider using a public-private partnership model to construct and manage facilities, several officials suggested last week at the 2015 Defense Communities National Summit. A developer could be responsible for financing the construction of a new installation — and operating it — if DOD wanted to consolidate its facilities and update its remaining infrastructure, said Katherine Hammack, assistant secretary of the Army for installations, energy and environment. Other nations, including the United Kingdom rely more heavily on the private sector for installation support. For instance, U.K.’s Ministry of Defence is redeveloping a garrison in a project slated to result in the design and construction of 110 buildings, including living and working accommodations, and training, recreation, education and welfare facilities …

Construction, Renovation on Hold at Army Housing Projects

  • June 25, 2015
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The Army has suspended construction of new homes, along with renovation of existing units, as part of its Residential Communities Initiative until the service announces what locations will lose 40,000 soldiers. The Army’s announcement outlining how it expects to shrink its active-duty end strength to 450,000, and possibly further, is expected before the end of July. At that point, officials will conduct a fresh assessment of the requirements at its housing privatization projects …

Army Faces Limited Options in Addressing Excess Capacity

  • June 24, 2015
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The Army is paying $480 million a year to maintain more than 160 million square feet of excess infrastructure, and the service has only a limited ability to trim that cost, officials said Tuesday at the 2015 Defense Communities National Summit. The service estimates that 18 percent of its infrastructure is excess. One tack it is taking to address the surplus is asking garrison commanders to identify their unutilized and underutilized space, and to consolidate activities into their most efficient facilities, said Katherine Hammack, assistant secretary for installations, energy and environment. Facilities in the worst condition can then be mothballed or torn down. But this initiative will not produce significant savings, Hammack said …

Increased Collaboration with GSA Would Help Installations Find Space for Federal Agencies

  • June 22, 2015
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The Defense Department and the General Services Administration do not routinely share information about opportunities to move non-DOD federal agencies onto military installations to take advantage of unused and underutilized facilities, according to a new report by the Government Accountability Office. GSA does not routinely contact installations to find out whether space is available when it is trying to support federal agencies with new workspace requirements. Similarly, DOD waits for non-DOD agencies to inquire about opportunities to move onto an installation and does not generally reach out to GSA or agencies that may be looking for space, the congressional watchdog agency found …

Senate Removes Commissary Privatization Program from Defense Bill

  • June 18, 2015
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The Senate on Wednesday stripped from the fiscal 2016 defense authorization bill language directing the Defense Department to privatize up to five commissaries through a two-year pilot program. Lawmakers also passed a second procedural vote to end debate on the annual policy bill, setting up a final vote for passage which likely will take place Thursday. The 84-14 vote also signaled the Democrats’ decision not to filibuster the authorization bill over its reliance on DOD’s overseas contingency operations account to exceed the Budget Control Act spending caps. Instead, Senate Democrats will resume that fight over the defense spending bill. The party is expected to block a vote, which could come today, to debate the spending measure in the Senate …

Pilot to Privatize Commissaries Should Be Postponed, Inhofe Says

  • June 16, 2015
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A proposal to privatize five commissaries under a two-year pilot program should be stripped from the Senate version of the fiscal 2016 defense authorization bill, according to a commentary by Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.) published in Military Times. Congress should complete an evaluation of the feasibility of privatizing military grocery stores before launching a pilot program, writes Inhofe, a senior member of the Armed Services Committee. “Privatizing military commissaries before conducting an assessment of the costs and benefits of such significant reform is irresponsible,” he states. “I want to know the cost and savings as well as the risks and benefits associated with privatization before any action is taken,” Inhofe says …

Senate Appropriators Reject DOD Plan to Trim Commissary Subsidy

  • June 12, 2015
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Senate appropriators on Thursday restored $322 million in funding for military grocery stores while marking up the fiscal 2016 defense spending bill, matching a similar move by their House counterparts. The Obama administration’s budget request recommended the cut — out of a total allocation of $1.4 billion for commissaries — which would have been accommodated by reducing days of operation and operating hours, laying off staff and closing some stores, reported Military Times. Sen. Barbara Mikulski (Md.), the committee’s top Democrat, criticized the proposal as a shortsighted idea from “Pentagon bean splicers” and said those savings should not come at the expense of military families …

Administration Criticizes Senate Bill for Pursuing Privatization of Commissaries

  • June 4, 2015
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The White House this week said it opposes provisions in the Senate’s draft of the fiscal 2016 defense authorization bill that would test the feasibility of privatizing military grocery stores. The bill, S. 1376, calls for the Defense Department to develop a plan to privatize the Defense Commissary Agency, wholly or in part. It also directs the Governmental Accountability Office to assess the potential costs and benefits of privatizing the entire network of commissaries and determining whether any barriers exist to privatizing the commissary system. Following the GAO study, DOD would be required to privatize at least five commissaries under a two-year pilot program to evaluate the feasibility of its privatization plan. The White House, though, is critical of the Senate proposal …

Hunt Acquires Half of British Infrastructure Firm

  • June 4, 2015
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El Paso, Texas-based Hunt Cos., one of the nation’s leading developers of privatized military housing, acquired a 50 percent ownership in London-based Amber Infrastructure Group in a transaction designed to help Hunt take advantage of North America’s growing infrastructure market. Hunt has worked on public-private partnership projects for decades, as well multifamily housing, military housing, community development, commercial and mixed-use development, land development, real asset investment management and property/asset management. Amber has sourced, developed and financed more than 125 social infrastructure, transportation, renewable energy and urban redevelopment projects across the United Kingdom, Europe, Canada and Australia, focusing on P3s …

Battle Lines Drawn over Commissary Funding

  • June 4, 2015
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The fiscal 2016 defense spending bill approved Tuesday by the House Appropriations Committee would restore $322 million DOD had proposed to cut from the Defense Commissary Agency’s budget as an initial step to scaling back the federal subsidy for military grocery stores. The cuts would force U.S. commissaries to be operated more like a business, forcing them to reduce customer discounts, as well as trim staff, store hours and the days stores are open. The Senate Armed Services Committee, however, adopted the department’s proposal to slash funding for commissaries in its draft FY 2016 defense authorization bill, raising the chances that the two chambers will need to find a compromise when they hash out next year’s defense budget …

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