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Posts Tagged ‘mission support/community partnerships’

Leaders Highlight Alaska’s Strategic Advantages at Army Listening Sessions

  • February 26, 2015
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Almost 1,000 residents showed up at listening sessions in Anchorage and Fairbanks this week to tell the Army why Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson and Fort Wainwright should be spared cuts as the service determines how to realign its forces to eliminate up to 70,000 active-duty soldiers by fiscal 2020. At both public meetings, local leaders emphasized the state’s strategic location, vast training space, community support for the military and the quality of local schools. Alaska has more veterans per capita than any other state because it’s a great place to live, said Gov. Bill Walker (I). When considering Alaska’s strategic importance, one needs to look at Alaska from the top down, as on a globe, not a two-dimensional map, Walker said …

State of Readiness Approaches Troublesome Levels, Briefing Reveals

  • February 24, 2015
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The overall readiness of the nation’s military has been severely degraded, with units scheduled for deployment receiving a disproportionate share of available resources, Pentagon officials told the House Armed Services Readiness Subcommittee during a recent closed-door briefing. “While justifiable, this imbalance will eventually yield an unviable and technologically inferior fighting force and challenges our ability to win decisively against growing adversaries,” according to one of the briefing charts from the unclassified presentation obtained by CQ. Relief stemming from the two-year Ryan-Murray budget deal reached in December 2013 has helped restore some of the readiness decline but absent further relief from the Budget Control Act spending caps, readiness levels will continue to erode …

Columbus-Area Lawmakers Push Measure to Support Air Base

  • February 24, 2015
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State lawmakers from Columbus, Miss., are urging their colleagues in the Senate to push across legislation authorizing Mississippi to issue up to $25 million in bonds to fund the extension of a recreational path from the city to Columbus Air Force Base. The measure, which passed the House by a 118-2 vote last week, is an effort by area lawmakers to bolster quality of life for personnel and their families at the base. HB1453 would pay for an existing path — which includes separate tracks for walking, jogging and biking — to be extended by 14 miles. The installation is about 10 miles north of the city …

Wiregrass Region Attends Listening Session to Support ‘Home of Army Aviation’

  • February 24, 2015
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An overflow crowd of more than 1,600 residents turned out Monday to support Fort Rucker for an Army listening session held to gather input as the Army figures out how to shrink its active-duty end strength from 490,000 to 420,000 by fiscal 2020. Many attendees wore shirts with pictures of helicopters and the words “Fort Rucker: the heartbeat of the Wiregrass.” The Army is contemplating cutting a maximum of 2,500 soldiers and civilian employees from the southeastern Alabama post, losses that would affect the surrounding region, including Enterprise, Daleville, Ozark and Dothan. “When you look at the impact of 3,000 direct jobs and 15,000 indirectly throughout the Wiregrass, that is devastating,” Enterprise Mayor Kenneth Boswell …

Amid Air Force Effort to Inactivate Airlift Wing, Others Question the Move

  • February 23, 2015
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The Air Force is moving forward with its plan to inactivate Fort Bragg’s 440th Airlift Wing even before it issues a congressionally mandated report justifying the action. Over the weekend, officials opened a clearinghouse for traditional reservists in the 440th — an Air Force Reserve unit based at Fort Bragg’s Pope Field — to help them find other positions before the unit’s planned inactivation at the end of September, reported the Fayetteville Observer. Lawmakers added the justification report to the fiscal 2015 defense authorization bill as a prerequisite before the Air Force could shut down the 440th, a unit made up of 1,200 airmen …

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 …

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