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Posts Tagged ‘mission support/community partnerships’

Finding Consensus on Best Approach to Reforming Commissary Benefit Proves Elusive

  • February 22, 2015
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Neither the Pentagon’s plan for slashing the federal subsidy for military grocery stores nor a congressional commission’s recommendations for gaining efficiencies in the commissary system will prove successful, according to two recent analyses. Last month, the Military Compensation and Retirement Modernization Commission called for consolidating DOD’s three exchange services with the Defense Commissary Agency as a way to maintain the benefits of all base stores. Consolidating those four organizations into a new Defense Resale Activity, though, would cost $466 million and take from six to nine years to carry out, according to a position paper from the Army and Air Force Exchange Service. The upfront costs wouldn’t be recouped through efficiencies for 85 years, AAFES concluded …

No BRAC in Near Future, Thornberry Says

  • February 22, 2015
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Rep. Mac Thornberry (R-Texas) ruled out any chance there would be a new round of base closures in the next couple of years during comments he made last week to the Nortex Regional Planning Commission in north central Texas. The remark built on earlier comments by the new chairman of the House Armed Services Committee revealing a strong reluctance to consider authorizing a BRAC round. In January, Thornberry said the nation needed to better define the future roles and missions of its military before shuttering military bases …

Huntsville Officials Confident as Possible BRAC Approaches

  • February 22, 2015
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While it’s still uncertain when the next round of base closures will be held, leaders in northern Alabama believe they have taken the necessary steps to ensure Redstone Arsenal is well positioned. “We have been pretty aggressive in our efforts to get ready for BRAC so we see it both as a threat and an opportunity and we are trying to make sure that we have considered what opportunities there are and prepared ourselves to get ready,” said Mike Ward, senior vice president for government and public affairs at the Huntsville/Madison County Chamber of Commerce …

Wittman Argues against Administration’s BRAC Request

  • February 20, 2015
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At last week’s hearing of the House Armed Services Committee with defense experts on where savings could be found in the defense budget, Rep. Rob Wittman (R-Va.), chairman of the committee’s readiness panel, focused on the witnesses’ support for a new round of base closures as one avenue for cutting costs. At the outset of the hearing, Bensahel listed a new BRAC round as one of three priorities for reforming DOD spending. “The Army and the Air Force have each estimated that they have around 20 percent excess capacity. It is unconscionable to require these services to continue spending money on facilities that they do not need while the budget caps require them to cut end strength, training, and readiness, which puts American troops at risk …

Ft. Benning Supporters Focus on Local Partnerships at Listening Session

  • February 19, 2015
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More than 500 people showed up to support Fort Benning during its Army listening session Wednesday, with local leaders and lawmakers emphasizing the close relationship and varied partnerships between Columbus, Ga., and the post. Columbus Mayor Teresa Tomlinson highlighted the scenic gateway project on Victory Drive greeting soldiers and visitors to Benning. Tomlinson also cited a joint recycling effort, improvements at the local water treatment plant and a veterans court, reported the Ledger-Enquirer. “You are our neighbor,” she said. “Fort Benning is our community partner and you are our family …

Kirtland’s Air Force Lab Generates Half-Billion Dollar Economic Impact

  • February 19, 2015
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The Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) at Kirtland Air Force Base in Albuquerque contributed $536 million to the New Mexico economy in fiscal 2013, according to a study by the University of New Mexico. AFRL, which manages the directed energy and space vehicle directorates at Kirtland, was responsible for 861 Air Force positions and 1,033 contractor jobs. AFRL spent $315 million in New Mexico in FY 2013 on salaries and benefits, and the purchase of services, construction and other goods. That spending, in turn, generated an additional $221 million in local economic activity, reported the Albuquerque Journal. “We have the momentum and we have to build on it,” said Sen. Tom Udall (D-N.M.), who sits on the Appropriations subcommittees for defense and military construction.

New Security Rules Frustrate Some Taxis Serving Ft. Drum

  • February 18, 2015
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New rules governing access to Fort Drum, N.Y., have generated complaints from some taxi companies, but praise from others. The post’s entry policy now requires cabs to participate in the RapidGate tagging system, which requires businesses to pay $199 to sign up, and an additional $179 annually for each employee requiring access to the installation, reports the Watertown Daily Times. Merritt Makuch, office manager and dispatcher at Big Man’s Cab in Watertown said the added expense — $1,000 per year to cover three taxis and multiple drivers — isn’t worth it even though the company averaged five trips a day to Fort Drum …

Ft. Bragg Airlift Wing Scales Down Activity with End of Reprieve in Sight

  • February 18, 2015
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The reprieve awarded Fort Bragg’s 440th Airlift Wing in the fiscal 2015 defense authorization bill could end in a matter of months, with an Air Force report justifying its proposal last year to relocate the unit’s 12 C-130H Hercules cargo aircraft and inactivate the wing expected shortly. A provision in the annual policy bill sponsored by then-Sen. Kay Hagan (D-N.C.) forced the Air Force to temporarily postpone its planned deactivation of the 440th, an Air Force Reserve unit based at Fort Bragg’s Pope Field. The unit is continuing to fulfill its requirements to support airborne and special operations units at Fort Bragg at the same time it is losing dozens of airmen and officials are developing plans to inactivate the 440th …

Task Force Lima Urges Unified Effort to Promote State’s Facilities

  • February 18, 2015
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The Ohio Federal Military Jobs Commission last week visited Task Force Lima, the support organization for the Joint Systems Manufacturing Center in northwestern Ohio, as part of an initiative to protect and attract military employment in the state.
After visiting each of the state’s military facilities the commission now will start drafting a report to Gov. John Kasich and lawmakers, reported limaohio.com. The task force recommended the report call for a statewide approach to any effort undertaken to protect Ohio’s military installations from a future base closure round. “I think what we’re looking for is the opportunity to … present a united front of Ohio interests,” said Lima Mayor David Berger …

Maryland Governor Proposes Exempting Military Pensions from Income Tax

  • February 18, 2015
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In an effort to make Maryland more welcoming to veterans, new Gov. Larry Hogan (R) wants to fully exempt military pensions from state income tax.
Currently the state exempts only the first $5,000 of military pensions from taxation. About 53,000 retirees in Maryland receive military pensions, which average $28,000 a year, reported the Baltimore Sun. “People who put their lives on the line every day kind of earned a tax break,” Hogan told reporters last week after addressing a crowd of veterans at an American Legion post. The governor acknowledged, however, that getting the General Assembly to approve his legislative proposal would be challenging …

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