PreConference Workshop to Explore Origins of BRAC Likely Focus of Next Round

first_img Dan Cohen AUTHOR Congress so far has successfully ignored the Obama administration’s requests to hold a new BRAC round, but as Pentagon budget cuts mount, pressure continues to build for lawmakers to approve additional base closures. While the exact timing of a new round remains uncertain, most Washington experts consider a BRAC round inevitable.Next month’s National Summit will feature a pre-conference workshop covering the mechanics of the BRAC process along with insight about past rounds from the executive director of the most recent BRAC commission and DOD’s former installations chief.The session will be moderated by George Schlossberg, ADC’s long-time general counsel, a partner at Kutak Rock LLP and BRAC expert. For community members that are new to BRAC — or those that want a refresher — Schlossberg will discuss how the federal government came up with the idea of relying on an independent commission to close military installations and how Congress settled on the BRAC process used most recently in 2005.The panel will walk attendees through the initial steps in a BRAC round — the preparation of a force structure plan, inventory of installations and evaluation criteria. Next, it will delve into the process followed by the Pentagon to develop its list of recommended closures and realignments, including the data calls sent to each installation, and the use of the COBRA model to calculate the costs and benefits of individual closures. The panel also will discuss how the BRAC commission operates, including the scheduling of public hearings, and the voting process for revising the department’s closure recommendations and approving final recommendations.Schlossberg will be joined at the workshop by Charles Battaglia, who served as executive director of the 2005 BRAC Commission, and Dorothy Robyn, who served as deputy undersecretary of defense for installations and environment in the first half of the Obama administration. Battaglia and Robyn will help provide workshop attendees with an insider’s view of the BRAC process from the perspective of DOD and the BRAC commission.In a conversation with View from the Summit, Schlossberg acknowledged the next base closure round likely could include some changes in its mechanics, but emphasized that its core elements — primarily, its reliance on an independent, bipartisan commission to review DOD’s recommendations in a public forum with community input — almost certainly would remain in place.For those looking for a comprehensive introduction to the BRAC process, don’t miss the Summit’s BRAC 101 pre-conference workshop! A great introduction to the workshop is the Journal of Defense Communities article about the legislative history of BRAC.last_img read more

Study shows truck SUV owners want better fuel economy from their vehicles

first_img The best SUVs for off-roading Driving Detroit: Pushing the fuel economy envelope More about 2020 Ram 1500 Tradesman 4×2 Quad Cab 6’4″ Box More From Roadshow News • 2020 Ram 1500 EcoDiesel has tech, torque and towing capability in spades 5 2019 Chevy Malibu review: Swing and a miss Share your voice 22 Photos Now playing: Watch this:center_img 2020 Hyundai Palisade review: Posh enough to make Genesis jealous Trucks SUVs Comments Preview • 2020 Ram 1500 EcoDiesel first drive: More capability for an already solid fullsize truck 2020 BMW M340i review: A dash of M makes everything better 8:39 Tags Enlarge ImageTruck and SUV owners want automakers to step it up with regards to efficiency. Chevrolet The auto industry as a whole has seen impressive gains in fuel economy in the past two decades, especially in the crossover SUV segment. Pickup trucks and larger SUVs, however, still suffer from pretty ho-hum fuel economy figures. It appears owners have started to take notice as a new Consumer Reports study revealed truck and SUV owners are interested in better fuel economy.Compared to the 42% of owners of all other vehicle types, the study revealed 73% of people driving a large SUV and pickup truck are interested in purchasing a vehicle with better fuel economy. The results follow an EPA report that noted large SUVs and pickups have fallen behind other segments with regards to fuel efficiency.Overall, fuel efficiency is still a high priority for American car buyers. Of the numerous categories, the majority of respondents (37%) said fuel economy is the area in most need of improvement for their next vehicle. The answer topped maintenance costs, purchase price and infotainment by at least 11 percentage points. Digging deeper into the fuel efficiency woes truck and SUV owners feel, they were nearly twice as likely to select fuel efficiency as the trait most desired for their next vehicle compared to owners of other vehicle types.Although the sample size was rather small at 1,078 US adults, 88% agreed fuel economy should continue to rise for all vehicle types. Further, 80% said fuel economy should increase to 40 mpg and the figure is a “worthwhile goal.” This is in contrast to current doings at the federal level. The Trump administration is finalizing weakened fuel economy and emissions regulations, though a handful of automakers have revolted and joined a pact with California that features a compromise standard.On the negative side of things, only 34% of Americans felt automakers truly cared about lowering fuel costs for buyers. The rest disagreed or were unsure.last_img read more

Surge Of Animals Puts Harris County Shelter In Critical Situation

first_img Share Harris County Animal Shelter.Dogs are housed at the Harris County Animal Shelter, which is currently severely overcrowded.The Harris County Animal Shelter is currently housing more than double the animals it has capacity for and is asking for help from residents that could adopt or foster. Shelter officials are concerned about the possibility of having to euthanize a significant number of animals.As of Tuesday, the shelter was housing 510 animals, mostly dogs, while its maximum capacity is supposed to be 200, spokesperson Kerry McKeel told News 88.7.“We don’t have the ability to hold animals indefinitely and space is a concern,” said McKeel. “We are putting animals everywhere we can right now.”The shelter is located at 612 Canino Road, 10 miles north of downtown Houston.McKeel noted that “at the beginning of May, spring time, is when we really started to see an uptick in the number of animals coming in.” She said summer is traditionally the busiest intake season at the shelter and added the limited medical staff makes it difficult to properly care for the large numbers of animals coming in. Over the past week, a high number of strays combined with owners surrendering their pets resulted in the critical overcrowding.Harris County officials say the shelter has managed to maintain a 90 percent life-saving rate since January. They have accomplished the high rate through adoptions, fostering, help from animal rescue groups and even by transferring some animals to other states with lower intakes. “Although we are doing all these things, we are still drowning right now in the numbers that are coming in,” McKeel said. She said the option of transferring animals within the Houston area isn’t practical because “in the immediate Houston area we are all facing the same issues, we are all struggling with the number of intakes of animals.”The shelter is looking for foster homes as an alternative, because that frees up space, medical care and supplies. “Even two to three weeks can give us the breathing room that we need to be able to save more lives,” McKeel said. The current shelter has been open since 1986 and McKeel said the facility has become “antiquated.”A new county shelter is scheduled to open by Spring 2020. The new facility will double the current capacity, give dogs and cats more space, and have separate entrances for adoptions, admissions and the medical area.Voters approved the construction in a $24 million bond election in 2015.last_img read more