• Senators Seek to Eliminate Policy Language Limiting Housing Allowance0

    Language in the Senate version of the fiscal 2017 defense authorization bill that would reduce service members’ basic allowance for housing (BAH) payments in many cases, including for dual-service military families and single members living together, should not be included in the compromise version of the legislation, according to a bipartisan group of 18 senators. The Senate language would limit BAH payments to actual expenses for rent and utilities, preventing personnel from pocketing extra payments if they find less expensive housing. The existing system offers military members a flat payment based on their rank and location. But the Senate proposal also would cut the BAH for dual-military couples in half, to prevent each service member from receiving extra housing compensation …

  • Army to Close Community Theaters in Europe

    Army to Close Community Theaters in Europe0

    In the latest move prompted by the strict cap on defense spending, the Army is planning to eliminate its community theater program in Europe starting in fiscal 2017. About nine theaters, including those in Stuttgart, Kaiserslautern and Baumholder in Germany; Vicenza in Italy; and Mons in Belgium are expected to close. The theater program cost $1.96 million last year. In response to budget cuts in FY 2017, Installation Management Command (IMCOM), like the rest of the Army, had “to make some tough — and potentially unpopular — decisions as we work to separate wants from needs,” agency spokesman Scott Malcom told Stars and Stripes. “Our intent is to use our limited funds to provide critical base operating services and sustain the infrastructure that makes the Army ready,” Malcom said. “Is quality of life a child development center or a community theater? Are we in the humanities business or are we in the warfighting business?” he said …

  • OEA Grant to Address Defense Industry Cuts in Midwestern States

    OEA Grant to Address Defense Industry Cuts in Midwestern States0

    An $8 million grant from DOD’s Office of Economic Adjustment awarded last week to the University of Michigan’s Institute for Research on Labor, Employment and the Economy will be used to help dozens of communities and companies across Michigan, Ohio and Indiana address the loss of jobs in the defense industry stemming from cutbacks in DOD spending. “When communities are faced with the type of sudden and severe economic dislocation that can result from a defense plant closure or a mass layoff, it is necessary, but often difficult to create an effective community response,” Lawrence Molnar, an associate director at the institute and the project’s principal investigator, said in a news release. “Our community-based scope of work combines assistance from both the public and private sectors in communities and regions experiencing or anticipating adverse impacts of defense downsizing …

  • Changes to Commissary System Will Be Introduced Methodically, DOD Official Says

    Changes to Commissary System Will Be Introduced Methodically, DOD Official Says0

    While changes are coming to how the department operates military grocery stores, they won’t be implemented in a haphazard manner, according to David Tillotson III, DOD’s assistant deputy chief management officer. Tillotson, who has been charged with identifying ways to reduce the $1.4 billion annual subsidy Congress provides the commissary system, said any changes would be carried out deliberately and with mechanisms in place to ensure they don’t degrade the commissary benefit for military families. “We’ll work on it a piece at a time, and that’s our intention …

  • Last C-130 from Ft. Bragg Airlift Wing Set to Depart

    Last C-130 from Ft. Bragg Airlift Wing Set to Depart0

    The last C-130H from Fort Bragg’s 440th Airlift Wing will leave the post’s Pope Field Wednesday for the Boneyard at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base in Tucson in one of the final steps before the Air Force Reserve unit is formally inactivated. The last significant hurdle to the Air Force’s effort to shutter the unit was crossed in February when the Army’s top civilian and military leaders agreed to the plan in February. In May, the Air Force notified Congress that it would go ahead with its plan to shutter the airlift wing, reported the Fayetteville Observer. North Carolina’s congressional delegation had fought to postpone the unit’s elimination since the Air Force first proposed it as a cost-cutting measure in early 2014 …

  • Base Closures Needed to Generate True Savings, Army Officials Say

    Base Closures Needed to Generate True Savings, Army Officials Say0

    Senior Army officials on Thursday made the case that shedding some of the service’s inventory of unneeded facilities by closing installations and consolidating the Army’s activities is the only way to produce significant savings and improve installation support. “If we try to spread declining resources across all 155 installations the Army owns and operates, you are going to get mediocre services everywhere,” Andy Napoli, assistant for BRAC in the office of the assistant secretary for installations, energy and environment, told representatives from veterans service organizations, military service organizations and other nonprofits at a Pentagon summit. “If you can concentrate the resources at a smaller number of installations, you can get better service …