Washington — The nation’s defense infrastructure has not been adequately maintained for the past several years as the Pentagon diverts funds for installation support to higher priority readiness needs, but the military will be able to cope even if the stringent budget caps forcing officials to skimp on facility needs continue through the end of the decade, the department’s top installations official said this week at the 2015 Defense Communities National Summit.“We’ve done this before and survived it,” said John Conger, acting assistant secretary of defense for energy, installations and environment, referring to a similar situation in the 1990s.“It takes years for buildings to crumble,” Conger said. DOD’s investment in facilities that occurred before the department was forced to tighten its belt two years ago provided a base that should sustain it while its buildings are allowed to deteriorate.Of course, budgets for military construction and facility sustainment, restoration and modernization would continue to remain constrained as long as the budget caps stay in place, he said. Both of those accounts are being funded at reduced levels. DOD only requested $5 billion for milcon in fiscal 2016; several years ago, the account received $14 billion.As recently as five years ago, the department would request funding to fulfill 90 percent of the department’s estimated facility sustainment needs. The current year’s budget only allocates 70 percent of its facility sustainment requirements, said Conger.“We’re just spreading it thin,” he said.Beyond facilities, another of the panelists on the Summit’s “Defense Communities at a Crossroads” session predicted a dramatic change to the size of the Air Force over the next several years under the Budget Control Act. The service could shrink by 30 to 40 percent, according to Mackenzie Eaglen, a resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute.Lawmakers almost certainly will find common ground on a budget deal to relax the caps on defense spending for FY 2016, Eaglen added. The primary question is the exact amount of relief Congress offers the Pentagon. The number likely will be larger than the 2013 Ryan-Murray deal which provided DOD an extra $22 billion for FY 2014, she said.“They’re going to get to some number eventually,” Eaglen said. Dan Cohen AUTHOR
WILMINGTON, MA — Below are 5 things to do in Wilmington on Thursday, September 5, 2019:#1) Wilmington Recreation Commission MeetingThe Wilmington Recreation Commission meets at 5pm in Town Hall’s Room 9. Read the agenda HERE.#2) Cub Scout Pack 136 Registration NightCub Scout Pack 136 is holding a Registration Night from 6pm to 8pm at the Friendship Lodge (Masonic Hall). Contact Troop Leader Frank West at firstname.lastname@example.org for additional information.#3) Lego Building At Wilmington Memorial LibraryThe Wilmington Memorial Library (175 Middlesex Avenue) is holding a Lego Building session from 3:45pm to 4:45pm. For kids in kindergarten and up. No registration required.#4) Board Game Club For Teens At Wilmington Memorial LibraryThe Wilmington Memorial Library (175 Middlesex Avenue) is holding a Teen Board Game Club Meeting from 6:30pm to 8:30pm. Looking to learn, play, or create fun board games? Bring your favorite game or latest prototype and we’ll play together. Students and their adults welcome, registration encouraged! Register HERE.#5) WCTV Sports Meet-UpInterested in being a part of the WCTV Wildcat Sports Team? Come to the WCTV Sports Meet-Up at 6pm at WCTV’s Studios (10 Waltham Street). WCTV is looking for play-by-play and camera operators for most sports this fall. This meet-up is a good way to meet WCTV staff and hear about opportunities to get involved at the station in a volunteer sports capacity. No prior experience needed. No time commitment. Work solo or as part of a crew. Can’t make it to the meet-up? Contact Marty McCue at email@example.com to schedule a one-on-one visit.Like Wilmington Apple on Facebook. Follow Wilmington Apple on Twitter. Follow Wilmington Apple on Instagram. Subscribe to Wilmington Apple’s daily email newsletter HERE. Got a comment, question, photo, press release, or news tip? Email firstname.lastname@example.org.Share this:TwitterFacebookLike this:Like Loading… Related5 Things To Do In Wilmington On Monday, September 9, 2019In “5 Things To Do Today”5 Things To Do In Wilmington On Wednesday, September 4, 2019In “5 Things To Do Today”5 Things To Do In Wilmington On Tuesday, September 3, 2019In “5 Things To Do Today”
Share Claire Harbage/NPRNewly sworn-in U.S. citizens rise from their seats during a 2018 naturalization ceremony in Alexandria, Va.The Supreme Court has agreed to decide whether the Trump administration can add a citizenship question to the 2020 census. The decision grants the administration’s request for an immediate review of a lower court’s ruling that stopped plans for the question. A hearing is expected to be held in April.The question asks, “Is this person a citizen of the United States?“The Trump administration is locked in a legal battle with dozens of states, cities and other groups that do not want the question to appear on forms for the constitutionally mandated head count of every person living in the U.S.The Census Bureau has not asked all households about U.S. citizenship status in close to 70 years, although a sample of households have encountered a citizenship question on a smaller Census Bureau survey now known as the American Community Survey. For the 1950 head count, census workers asked where members of all households were born. If people were born outside the U.S., census workers asked whether they were naturalized citizens of the U.S.Citing Census Bureau research, the groups suing argue that asking about citizenship status will depress census participation among households with noncitizens. That could lead to an undercount of immigrants and communities of color, which would have major implications for the way political power and federal funding are shared over the next decade.Pressure is mounting to resolve all of these disputes by June so that the printing of paper questionnaires for the census can proceed as scheduled.Population counts from the census determine how many congressional seats and Electoral College votes each state receives. They also guide the distribution of an estimated $880 billion a year in federal tax dollars to states and local communities for Medicare, schools and other public services.The Supreme Court’s decision comes a month after U.S. District Judge Jesse Furman of New York ordered the administration to stop its plans to include the controversial question. Furman’s decision for the two lead lawsuits based in Manhattan was the first major trial court ruling out of seven lawsuits over the Trump administration’s decision to add the question to the census.The administration maintains that the Justice Department wants responses to the question to better enforce part of the Voting Rights Act.In his 277-page opinion, however, Furman concluded that was not the “real reason” Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, who oversees the Census Bureau, approved including the question on the census. The judge found Ross’ decision to be “arbitrary and capricious,” in part because adding the question is less effective and more expensive than an alternative method the Census Bureau recommended to Ross — compiling existing government records on citizenship.Furman also said that Ross made a “veritable smorgasbord of classic, clear-cut” violations of administrative law, including providing misleading statements about the citizenship question.Ross has said that the Justice Department “initiated” the request for the question. But court filings show that after discussing the question with Steve Bannon, the former White House chief strategist, and former Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, Ross pressured his staff at the Commerce Department to get a formal request for the question from the Justice Department.Spokespeople for the Justice Department, which is representing the administration in these lawsuits, did not immediately respond to NPR’s inquiry about the Supreme Court’s decision.“Adding a citizenship question to the census would cause incalculable damage to our democracy,” said Dale Ho, one of the lead plaintiffs’ attorneys at the ACLU, in a statement. “The evidence presented at trial exposed this was the Trump administration’s plan from the get-go.”“The District Court recognized these facts in ruling in favor of our challenge and we look forward to seeing the Trump Administration in court once again,” said New York State Attorney General Letitia James, whose office represented some of the lead plaintiffs in district court under her predecessor.In an unusual move, the Trump administration’s attorneys appealed Furman’s ruling to the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals before asking the Supreme Court to bypass the 2nd Circuit and take on reviewing the decision earlier.Besides the two lead lawsuits in New York, district judges are hearing citizenship question cases in California, Maryland and Washington, D.C.Internal documents released as part of the lawsuits reveal that the Trump administration had prepared to defend adding a citizenship question in the country’s highest court.“Since this issue will go to the Supreme Court we need to be diligent in preparing the administrative record,” Commerce Department official Earl Comstock wrote in a 2017 email to Ross.“We should be very careful, about everything, whether or not it is likely to end up in the SC,” Ross replied.Copyright 2019 NPR. 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