• Defense Alliance Launches Campaign to Elevate Profile of MacDill AFB0

    Advocacy groups for military installations are ramping up efforts to promote their bases, either through specific initiatives intended to increase military value or enhance efficiency, or through campaigns to raise the profile of an installation locally and nationally.

    The Defense Communities National Summit will feature a special track focusing on the range of partnerships and other strategies defense communities are adopting to support their installations in the face of budget cuts in Washington and the prospect of base closures.

  • Last Chance to Save is Next Tuesday / High Level Participation Grows0

    Early registration for the 2014 Defense Communities National Summit will end Tuesday, May 13. This is your last opportunity to save $100 on your event registration. With key OSD and congressional leaders, as well as top leaders from and each of the military services charged with overseeing DoD’s budget and installation policy, and series of featured SUPER SESSIONS exploring the topics and issues critical to your community, this is the one event of the year you cannot afford to miss. Key National Summit participants include…

  • How Can Communities/Regions Still Grow Their Defense Sector?0

    Questions about the defense budget create uncertainty for communities over support for installations as well as for defense markets. With money no longer freely available to acquire new weapons, the Pentagon is facing difficult decisions regarding the nation’s defense industrial base, particularly over the best way to ensure long-term healthy competition. Next month’s Summit will include a special session on the direction DoD’s industrial policy is headed, focusing on strategies for communities trying to sustain a vibrant contractor base. Last month, Elana Broitman, DoD’s deputy assistant secretary for manufacturing and industrial base policy, acknowledged that the department’s spending cuts are thinning the ranks of defense manufacturers and their suppliers …

  • Quiz the Insiders on the Latest Activities on Capitol Hill0

    Congress has been busy this spring and the Summit’s View from the Hill Session will provide attendees an inside look as lead staff from the House and Senate Armed Services committees discuss the latest goings-on. The session, scheduled for the afternoon of Thursday, June 5, will consist of an informal discussion among the staffers, on both the majority and minority sides of the committees, responsible for installation issues. The other featured speaker will be George Schlossberg, a partner at Kutak Rock and ADC’s long-time counsel. Attendees will have an opportunity to ask the speakers questions on an array of issues affecting defense communities …

  • BRAC One Step Closer0

    BRAC is on the minds of most defense communities as they watch the ongoing faceoff between the Pentagon and Congress over when the military will be allowed to trim its footprint to free up much-needed dollars for operations and readiness. For communities eager to prepare for future base closures, next month’s National Summit will feature several key sessions, covering best practices in gearing up for a future round, actions the services are taking in the absence of BRAC and possible changes in how the next round will be conducted.

    This week, Congress took one step which could bring the next BRAC closer. The House Armed Services’ Readiness Subcommittee called for DOD to prepare a comprehensive assessment of the need for additional base closures, according to the portion of the fiscal 2015 defense authorization bill it marked up Thursday.

    That’s not to say the next BRAC will occur right away. At the same time the subcommittee directed an analysis needed to justify a new round, it rejected the Pentagon’s request to hold a BRAC round in 2017. The analysis would compare 20-year force structure plans for each of the services with an inventory of their installations to determine the level of excess infrastructure throughout the department. The evaluation would include:

    a discussion of categories of excess infrastructure and DOD’s targets for reducing such excess capacity;
    an assessment of the value of retaining certain excess infrastructure to support surge or reversibility requirements; and
    an economic analysis of the impact of closing or realigning installations to reduce excess capacity.
    The subcommittee’s mark also calls for the assessment to consider the anticipated need for and availability of installations outside the United States, taking into account restrictions on their use. It also should consider the savings that could be generated by joint basing.

    The analysis would culminate in a certification from the defense secretary regarding the need for the closure or realignment of additional installations. The legislation also would require the secretary to certify that “every recommendation for the closure or realignment of military installations in the additional round of closures and realignments will result in annual net savings for each of the military departments within six years” after the new round begins.

    The department would submit its assessment of excess infrastructure to Congress with the justification documents for its FY 2016 budget request. A review by the Government Accountability Office of the force structure plans, infrastructure inventory, and the need for the closure or realignment of additional installations would be required to be completed 60 days later.

    The draft legislation is available on the committee website.

  • Base Redevelopment Never Gets Old0

    The redevelopment of closed military bases is not a quick process, as communities striving to convert installations shuttered in 2005 as well as those still addressing earlier closures face a series of hurdles. The National Summit is dedicating a special track to base redevelopment, and will feature sessions on best practices for organizing and managing a local redevelopment authority, new ideas for tapping into federal support and an update on DoD’s cleanup plans.

    In the Nebraska Panhandle, the city of Sydney is taking advantage of a new state law to redevelop the former Sioux Army Depot, which closed in the late 1960s. The law, LB66, allows cities to take advantage of tax increment financing for blighted military installations outside of city limits.

    Sidney will become the first city to take advantage of the new statute, reported the Sidney Sun-Telegraph. Last week, the city council began the effort to gain a substandard and blighted designation for the depot.

    “We’ve worked with the legislature for years to get them to understand the special circumstances and the challenges that we have with a major part of our community northwest of town as a former military installation and the substandard and blighted conditions for developers to try to turn that into useful properties,” city manager Gary Person told the planning commission.

    “Most of the infrastructure is 70 years old, the buildings are aging, the infrastructure’s aging,” Person said.

    The depot fell into disrepair following its closure, and its dilapidated infrastructure has deterred new businesses from moving into the area. Another challenge to the depot’s reuse is the likelihood that some of the 19,000-acre site could be contaminated with shrapnel and a possible cyanide pit.

    “This literally could mean multi-million dollars of types of projects coming our way in the future,” Person said of the reuse initiative. “I’m not guaranteeing that they will, but I can tell you that there are projects already in the works that have been watching this process the last couple of years,” he said.