Monday, December 19, 2011

JBLM Gets More Transportation Dollars

The top Washington state grant application for Tiger III funding captured $15 million for improvements along the I-5 corridor at JBLM.

The original application was for $32 million, but some $5.7 million of that was already achieved when the City of Lakewood captured a grant for improvements at the Berkeley St. Interchange, leaving some $26 million actively sought for.

The reduction will mean some specific work selection must be chosen by the Washington State Department of Transportation, but all improvements will be welcome on this corridor which serves some 15,000 trucks and some 152,000 vehicles accessing JBLM daily.  A longer range fix is currently estimated to cost $1 billion.

Congressman Adam Smith (WA-09), Col. Tommy Brittain, Washington State Transportation Secretary Paula Hammond made the following statements after U.S. Department of Transportation announced a $15 million TIGER III grant to fund the I-5 Joint Base Lewis-McChord Area Congestion Management:

“Helping secure funds for projects that improve transportation throughout our region is one of my top priorities,” said Congressman Adam Smith.  “These grants will help alleviate traffic for military personnel and communities around the JBLM corridor and save commuters time and money. They will also improve freight traffic, benefiting our local economy while adding hundreds of jobs to our region. These are significant wins for our district and I thank Congressman Dicks, along with Senators Cantwell and Murray for their longstanding support.”

"We're grateful for the efforts of everyone involved to address the growing traffic congestion that has affect JBLM and our neighboring communities,” said Col. Tommy Brittain.  “We have worked very closely with local communities, regional and state agencies, and federal and state legislators, to develop strategies that mitigate the congestion brought about by growth in Pierce and Thurston Counties, as well as our growth here at JBLM. This grant is yet another indicator of the positive, cooperative relationship we enjoy with our neighbors, and we look forward to continuing to work together to find solutions to regional challenges."

"A true partnership is bringing about transportation improvements in the JBLM corridor," said Washington State Transportation Secretary Paula Hammond. "Our state delegation in D.C. helped win these federal dollars, and we have partners at the base and in Pierce County and local cities. With this grant money, we can make transportation investments in this critical corridor that will have an immediate impact on reducing some of the congestion."

Pointe Du Hoc and Ranger Memorial

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Clean Tech Working with the Military

On December 7, the Washington Clean Tech Alliance (WCTA) Lunch featured an excellent sold out panel discussion with leaders from the military, cleantech business, and economic development organizations.

They discussed how cleantech companies could engage the Department of Defense for business expansion. Cleantech startups and established players learned about the opportunities in one of the world's largest energy markets: America's armed services. You can see the presentations made by the panelists by clicking below:
  • Sean Murphy, Executive Director, Pacific Northwest Defense Coalition. See Sean's presentation here.
  • John Plaza, President/CEO/Founder, Imperium Renewables. See John's presentation here.
  • Paul T. Steucke, Jr., CIV USA IMCOM. See Paul's presentation here.
  • Tim Vinopal, Chief Engineer, Environment, Health and Safety, Boeing: See Tim's presentation here
WCTA Board member Tim Stearns of the Washington State Department of Commerce moderated the event.  Andrews Wells at Nyhus Communications organized this event. 

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Military Spouses Get Licensing Approval

The State Legislature did a great favor for the active-duty families in our state with the passage of SB5969, the military-spouse licensing bill.

Under terms of the bill, the state will allow military spouses a temporary professional license here, honoring the license originally issued in another state.  The temporary license will allow sufficient time for the spouse to complete any unique requirements necessary in Washington State.

Our Chamber testified in both the state Senate and House, both of which had significant bill sponsors.  Our thanks to Sen. Derek Kilmer and Representative Tami Green (companion HB2167) and all the co-sponsors in both houses. 

The Chamber had approved this goal for its 2012 Legislative Agenda, but this prompt action by our legislature gives us our first success early.  The Chamber’s membership had supported (83.7%) this goal in a survey completed last month.

The bill is now forwarded to Governor Chris Gregoire for signing. 

Our thanks also go to Mark San Souci, Regional Liaison Northwest, Defense State Liaison Office and the Chamber's State Lobbyist Michael Transue. 

Thursday, December 8, 2011

New Online Tools for Veteran Job-Seekers

Congressman Adam Smith shared this info with us:

This week, the Department of Veterans Affairs announced veterans now have on-demand access and can download official data about their military training and experience, which can be used to help them find jobs and continue their careers.  Their service data can be uploaded to job search and networking sites to help identify employment opportunities. 

“Veterans can offer unique and desirable skills to the civilian workforce.  Translating those skills into meaningful information for employers and giving veterans access to official data about their military service is vital to helping returning servicemen and women find gainful employment,” said Congressman Adam Smith.

Veterans can use the VA’s online My HealtheVet portal ( to see official information about their military service, including deployment data, in-uniform experience, and Military Occupational Specialty (MOS) codes which define the type of work performed and skills learned during their tour of duty.  Veterans can electronically download that information to their personal computers by using an enhanced version of the Blue Button.  This new capability is the latest addition to a growing suite of job-hunting tools.

Veterans enrolled in VA health care can access their military service information through My HealtheVet.  Veterans who have not yet signed up for My HealtheVet access can register for a My HealtheVet account at any VA medical center by completing a one-time identity-verification process to help assure their data privacy.

If you have questions or comments, please contact Roel van der Lugt, Director of Military Affairs, Business and Defense Programs, at: 253-593-6602 or via email at:

Boeing Wins C-17 Award

ARLINGTON, Va., Dec. 8, 2011 -- Boeing [NYSE: BA] and the U.S. Air Force Globemaster division at Warner Robins Air Logistics Center, Ga., received the Best Logistics Strategy award at the annual Defense Logistics Awards ceremony in Arlington on Nov. 30.

Boeing has partnered with the Air Force for C-17 sustainment since the delivery of the first aircraft in 1993, transitioning to a system-level performance-based logistics contract in 1998, now called the C-17 Globemaster III Integrated Sustainment Program (GISP).

“The strength of Boeing’s partnership with its Air Force customer provides the best sustainment solution possible,” said Gus Urzua, Boeing C-17 GISP vice president and program manager. “Our long-term partnership and the flexibility of performance-based logistics contracting are key to developing the innovative solutions necessary to address the complex challenges of sustaining a fleet of this magnitude.”

The program has evolved to adapt to the Air Force’s operational needs, providing the customer with the best sustainment solution: a single-source provider that guarantees best-value support, mission-ready aircraft and 24/7 customer service.

Today, GISP is headquartered in a combined program office at Robins Air Force Base, Ga., supporting 237 C-17s worldwide – 212 with the U.S. Air Force, including active duty, Guard and Reserve units, and 25 with international customers, including the United Kingdom Royal Air Force, Royal Australian Air Force, Royal Canadian Air Force, Qatar Emiri Air Force, United Arab Emirates Air Force and Air Defence, and the 12-member Strategic Airlift Capability initiative of NATO and Partnership for Peace nations.

The GISP “virtual fleet” arrangement ensures mission readiness by providing all C-17 customers, with varied fleet sizes, the benefit of access to an extensive support network for worldwide parts availability and economies of scale when purchasing materials.

“The C-17 Virtual Fleet has been a game-changing concept of operations for the aircraft’s support,” said Trevor Burke, team leader, NATO Strategic Airlift Capability. “The C-17 Virtual Fleet is all about extreme affordability -- like none before.”

The Air Force delegates a significant degree of control of C-17 support to Boeing in return for guaranteed performance. This support is delivered worldwide, with the Air Force administering Foreign Military Sales and Boeing providing various levels of contractor support across the globe in support of U.S. and international customers.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Clean Tech Working with the Military

This month, the WCTA Lunch will feature an excellent panel discussion featuring leaders from the military, cleantech business, and economic development organizations discussing how cleantech companies can engage the Department of Defense for business expansion. Cleantech startups and established players can learn more about the opportunities in one of the world's largest energy markets: America's armed services. Expert panelist presentations will be followed by a chance to ask questions. Confirmed participants are:
  • Moderator: WCTA Board Member Tim Stearns, Senior Energy Policy Specialist, Washington State Department of Commerce
  • Sean Murphy, Executive Director, Pacific Northwest Defense Coalition
  • John Plaza, President/CEO/Founder, Imperium Renewables
  • Paul T. Steucke, Jr., CIV USA IMCOM
  • Tim Vinopal, Chief Engineer, Environment, Health and Safety, Boeing
  • When: December 7, 2011, 11:00 am-2:00 pm
  • Where: Arbor Group/UBS Financial, 925 Fourth Avenue, 18th Floor Conference Room, Seattle
  • Cost: (Before December 4) $20 for WCTA members/$30 for non-members. December 4 and after: Add $5.
  • Register here.  
WCTA Platinum Members:  Boeing Company, McKinstry
 WCTA Gold Members:  APCO Worldwide, Cascadia Capital, enterpriseSeattle, Greater Spokane, Mithun, Nyhus Communications, Pacific Northwest National Laboratories, Prometheus Energy Group, Puget Sound Energy, Seattle Steam Company, Snohomish County PUD, Thomas James International, Washington State Department of Commerce, Washington State University

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Thanks! Troops

A message worth repeating from First Lady Michelle Obama:

Every Thanksgiving, Barack sits down to call some of our troops and thank them for their service.

When he tells me about these conversations, it always reminds me of how blessed we are to live in a country where men and women will stand up to protect our freedoms and preserve our way of life. And whenever I've had the chance to meet with these heroes and their families, I've always walked away inspired by their courage and in awe of their strength.

I can't think of any better way to spend Thanksgiving than letting our servicemembers know how grateful we are for everything that they do. So this year, we're making it easy to do just that.

We've partnered with the USO to create a program called Thanks From Everywhere. To get involved, simply visit and write a quick note that troops and veterans all over the world will be able to see.

Add your message to Thanks From Everywhere.
Send a message of thanks and watch the video

Your note will be added to a map with messages from people all over the country, showing our troops and their families just how much we appreciate their service and sacrifice.

If we all do our part, we'll help to build a wave of support to honor our veterans and their families -- and ensure they get the recognition they deserve this holiday season.

At a time when we are sitting down to share the blessings we've received this past year, please take a moment to be a part of this effort to thank America's heroes and their families.

Send a message to Thanks From Everywhere today:

Monday, November 21, 2011

Cong. Smith Comments on Supercommittee Failure

Cong. Adam Smith Statement on Supercommittee
WASHINGTONCongressman Adam Smith (WA-09), Ranking Member of the House Armed Services Committee, made the following statement today after the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction announced the Committee did not reach an agreement:
“It is deeply concerning that after months of discussions the Supercommittee has failed to reach a deal to reduce the federal deficit. Once again, we’ve missed the chance to implement a comprehensive plan that balances revenue and spending reform and puts us on the path toward fixing our long-term fiscal and economic problems.

"There is a firm understanding of the challenges our nation faces. However, there is a lack of will to confront them. The math is simple: the federal government spends far more money that it brings in. The solution to this problem lies in reducing spending while raising new revenues – a fact many of my colleagues have now acknowledged. But simply acknowledging it is not enough.
"Now, due to the divide in Washington and through sequestration, we face significant cuts to a wide range of important programs that have supported our middle class, built our economy and created opportunities for future generations. In addition, the Department of Defense now faces deep, indiscriminate cuts that would not be based on sound policy or strategic review and could undermine national security. This is no way to defend our nation, and this is no way to run our government.
"While today's announcement is very concerning, it is not the end of the road. The now pending cuts will not be implemented until Fiscal Year 2013, but that still does not give us much time. Even the specter of sequestration will be extremely disruptive and could lead to cut backs in defense spending well before January 2013.
"Congress must act now. No committee can address these issues on its own. It is my hope that Democrats and Republicans will recognize the severity of the problems we face and act now with urgency to solve them."

SecDef Comments on Supercommittee Failure

Statement by Secretary of Defense Leon E. Panetta on Supercommittee Negotiations

The failure of the Congressional Supercommittee to reach an agreement on deficit reduction is a setback for the country's efforts to achieve fiscal responsibility while protecting our national security. If Congress fails to act over the next year, the Department of Defense will face devastating, automatic, across-the-board cuts that will tear a seam in the nation's defense.

Despite the danger posed by sequestration, I join the President in his call for Congress to avoid an easy way out of this crisis. Congress cannot simply turn off the sequester mechanism, but instead must pass deficit reduction at least equal to the $1.2 trillion it was charged to pass under the Budget Control Act.

In my four decades involved with public service, I have never been more concerned about the ability of Congress to forge common-sense solutions to the nation's pressing problems. Since becoming Secretary of Defense, I have made it clear that the Department has a responsibility to help the country get its fiscal house in order -- and we are doing that. I have been leading a strategy-driven effort to achieve the more than $450 billion in cuts over 10 years required by the Budget Control Act. We will move ahead with that plan.

But as Secretary of Defense, my primary responsibility is to protect the security of the nation. The half-trillion in additional cuts demanded by sequester would lead to a hollow force incapable of sustaining the missions it is assigned. If implemented, sequester would also jeopardize our ability to provide our troops and their families with the benefits and the support they have been promised. Our troops deserve better, and our nation demands better.

Friday, November 11, 2011


I went into a public-'ouse to get a pint o' beer,
The publican 'e up an' sez, "We serve no red-coats here."
The girls be'ind the bar they laughed an' giggled fit to die,
I outs into the street again an' to myself sez I:
O it's Tommy this, an' Tommy that, an' "Tommy, go away";
But it's "Thank you, Mister Atkins", when the band begins to play,
The band begins to play, my boys, the band begins to play,
O it's "Thank you, Mister Atkins", when the band begins to play.

I went into a theatre as sober as could be,
They gave a drunk civilian room, but 'adn't none for me;
They sent me to the gallery or round the music-'alls,
But when it comes to fightin', Lord! they'll shove me in the stalls!
For it's Tommy this, an' Tommy that, an' "Tommy, wait outside";
But it's "Special train for Atkins" when the trooper's on the tide,
The troopship's on the tide, my boys, the troopship's on the tide,
O it's "Special train for Atkins" when the trooper's on the tide.

Yes, makin' mock o' uniforms that guard you while you sleep
Is cheaper than them uniforms, an' they're starvation cheap;
An' hustlin' drunken soldiers when they're goin' large a bit
Is five times better business than paradin' in full kit.
Then it's Tommy this, an' Tommy that, an' "Tommy, 'ow's yer soul?"
But it's "Thin red line of 'eroes" when the drums begin to roll,
The drums begin to roll, my boys, the drums begin to roll,
O it's "Thin red line of 'eroes" when the drums begin to roll.

We aren't no thin red 'eroes, nor we aren't no blackguards too,
But single men in barricks, most remarkable like you;
An' if sometimes our conduck isn't all your fancy paints,
Why, single men in barricks don't grow into plaster saints;
While it's Tommy this, an' Tommy that, an' "Tommy, fall be'ind",
But it's "Please to walk in front, sir", when there's trouble in the wind,
There's trouble in the wind, my boys, there's trouble in the wind,
O it's "Please to walk in front, sir", when there's trouble in the wind.

You talk o' better food for us, an' schools, an' fires, an' all:
We'll wait for extry rations if you treat us rational.
Don't mess about the cook-room slops, but prove it to our face
The Widow's Uniform is not the soldier-man's disgrace.
For it's Tommy this, an' Tommy that, an' "Chuck him out, the brute!"
But it's "Saviour of 'is country" when the guns begin to shoot;
An' it's Tommy this, an' Tommy that, an' anything you please;
An' Tommy ain't a bloomin' fool -- you bet that Tommy sees!

Guest blogger:  Rudyard Kipling

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Military Citizen of 2011 a DuPont Resident

Sergeant First Class Luis Jimenez received today 

SFC Jimenez and Mrs. Jimenez

Chamber's 33rd annual John H. Anderson Military Citizen of the Year Award, sponsored by TriWest Healthcare Alliance. SFC Jimenez is currently the NCOIC of the 593rd Sustainment Brigade’s Supply and Services Section, JBLM.

SFC Jimenez has consistently been active in the communities where he has been stationed, including Taegu, Korea and Fort Campbell, Ky.  Since being transferred to Fort Lewis in 2006, SFC Jimenez continued his full commitment to volunteering his free time.

Motivated by having two children in the Steilacoom School District, SFC Jimenez became involved, first by attending every school district board meeting, and then running for the school board.  SFC Jimenez was a 2011 candidate for the Steilacoom Historical School District School Board.

SFC Jimenez is a DuPont, Wash. resident and is well known to the city government, having attended every DuPont city council meeting to keep abreast of the city’s issues and activities. Impressed by SFC Jimenez’s commitment, the mayor appointed him to the Parks and Recreation Committee. In this capacity, he has devoted over 100 hours of his time to DuPont just in the past year for their Fourth of July picnic, Safety Week, Salmon Bakes and Easter Hunt. SFC Jimenez has also volunteered with the city of DuPont citizen’s police academy.

In addition to his other volunteering efforts, SFC Jimenez, a member of the Lions Club, Kiwanis Club and Knights of Columbus, networked his services through his membership and assisted in raising $20,000 above the amount forecasted in the budget for the DuPont Parks and Recreation Department. Thanks to SFC Jimenez’s encouragement, the organizations solicited goods and services from local businesses to be auctioned off, helping fund the DuPont Youth Basketball Program in 2011.  The extra funds meant 238 children from DuPont were able participate in the program (as compared to the city’s expectation of only funding 75 children).  Due to SFC Jimenez’s hard work and dedication, the city did not experience any resourcing issues with helping more children from the community.

“There is no question that SFC Jimenez devotes countless hours and boundless energy to improving and serving his community,” said George Cargill, award sponsor TriWest Healthcare Alliance’s representative and Business & Trade Development Vice-Chair of the Tacoma-Pierce County Chamber.
About John H. Anderson:
The Chamber created the John H. Anderson Military Citizen of the Year Award to honor an outstanding military citizen to commemorate the civic contributions by our resident military personnel. John H. Anderson served as Tacoma’s mayor in the early to mid 1950s. He is also a past Chair of the Tacoma-Pierce County Chamber Board of Directors, as well as a successful local businessman.


Tuesday, November 1, 2011

I-5 Grants, Part II

Today, U.S. Senators Patty Murray (D-WA) and Maria Cantwell (D-WA), and Representatives Norm Dicks (D-WA-06) and Adam Smith (D-WA-09) applauded the announcement by the Department of Defense that the City of Lakewood will be awarded a $5.7M grant for a transportation project to improve access to medical facilities at Madigan Healthcare System.

"I’m proud to fight to make sure that our men and women in uniform and their families can access the medical facilities they need in a timely and efficient manner,” said Senator Murray. “That’s why I worked to help secure these funds, and I’m so glad that Joint Base Lewis-McChord will be able to start this long overdue project.”

“Madigan Army Medical Center is one of the busiest hospitals in the Pacific Northwest, providing critical care to our brave men and women in uniform in a six-state region,” said Senator Cantwell. “The successful operation of this state-of-the-art medical facility depends on modernized and efficient transportation infrastructure that alleviates congestion around Joint Base Lewis McChord. I was proud to support this investment, which will improve vital medical access to this technologically advanced facility for our military community. The men and women who serve our country deserve access to the quality health care they have earned.”

“These tangible improvements are expected to significantly reduce the delays that Madigan patients and JBLM employees experience entering and leaving the base, particularly at peak hours,” said Representative Dicks, who serves as the ranking Democratic Member of the House Appropriations Committee and its Defense Subcommittee.

“Working to reduce congestion around Joint Base Lewis-McChord is a priority to my District,” said Representative Smith, who serves as the ranking Democratic Member of the House Armed Services Committee. “This investment is a step in the right direction that will have a positive impact on our local community, though much more needs to be done and I will continue to make this a top priority. I congratulate the City of Lakewood for putting together a quality proposal and for their work with partners in the region to secure this funding.”

I-5 Improvements Grants Approved

The Department of Defense announced today the City of Lakewood will receive $5.7 million from a special fund designed to increase access to military medical facilities – Madigan Healthcare System.

You may learn more at Wednesday's RAMP meeting

DoD plans to distribute $299.6 million to eight transportation projects to improve access to medical facilities affected by the 2005 Defense Base Closure and Realignment (BRAC) process.  Congress included $300 million for these transportation improvements in the Department of Defense and Full-Year Continuing Appropriations Act of 2011.

The eight projects will improve transportation access to medical facilities at Joint Base Lewis McChord, Wash., Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, Bethesda, Md.Fort Belvoir, Va., and Joint Base San Antonio, Texas.  A list of the selected projects may be found at:

The projects were selected through a competitive process that considered proposals from states and communities around installations whose medical facilities were affected by the most recent BRAC round.  Congress directed the department to give priority to those locations where BRAC actions created transportation challenges that might impede access to medical care.  The selection panel included health care and transportation experts from the Departments of Defense and Transportation.

Funds will be distributed by Department of Defense’s Office of Economic Adjustment once the applicants provide complete applications, including comprehensive plans and environmental information pertaining to the selected projects:

·                     Installation: Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, MD
o                               Applicant: Montgomery County, Maryland
·                                            Project Title: Maryland 355 Multimodal Crossing
Funding Request: $40 million
o                               Applicant: State of Maryland
·                                            Project Title: Maryland 185 & Jones Bridge Road/Kensington Parkway
Funding Request: $18.3 million
·                                            Project Title: Maryland 355 & West Cedar Lane/Cedar Lane
Funding Request: $19 million
·                                            Project Title: Maryland 355 & Jones Bridge Road/Center Drive
Funding Request: $4.3 million
·                                            Project Title: Maryland 187 & West Cedar/Oakmont Avenue
Funding Request: $7.3 million

·                     Installation: Fort Belvoir, VA
o                               Applicants: Fairfax County, Virginia / Commonwealth of Virginia
·                                            Project Title: RT 1 Widening from Telegraph Road to Mount Vernon Memorial Highway
Funding Request: $180 million

·                     Installation: Joint Base San Antonio, TX
o                               Applicant: City of San Antonio, Texas
·                                            Project Title: I 35-LOOP 410 Connector
Funding Request: $25 million

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Military Affairs Committee


33rd John Anderson Military Citizen of the Year
Sponsored by TriWest HealthCare Alliance

The Tacoma-Pierce County Chamber’s Military Affairs Committee will present the 33rd annual John Anderson Military Citizen of the Year.

The Anderson Military Citizen of the Year award is presented to an exemplary recipient who has demonstrated the contributions that active-duty persons make to our community. 

Rotary's Keynote Speaker:  Col. Dallas Homas, CO, MAMC

Col. Dallas Homas
Commander, MAMC

Colonel Dallas W. Homas, M.D., assumed command of Madigan Healthcare System on
March 10, 2011. His previous assignment was the Chief of Clinical Operations, Western Regional Medical Command, Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Washington.

With a military beneficiary population encompassing a six-state region, Madigan Army Medical Center continues to be one of the busiest hospitals in the Pacific Northwest.  Occupying more than 120 acres of land, this four-building structure is located at Fort Lewis in Tacoma, WA.

There are approximately 160,000 Soldiers, family members and military retirees residing in Madigan's 40-mile catchment area. Madigan's phenomenal health care mission is executed by nearly 4,000 staff members, which include hundreds of civilian and military doctors, nurses, residents, interns and fellows. Madigan also boasts a robust internal American Red Cross program.  There are approximately 200 volunteers who donate thousands of hours of free service monthly.

As one of the Army’s most state-of-the-art and technically advanced medical centers, Madigan is one of only three designated Level 2 trauma centers throughout the U.S. Medical Command (MEDCOM). Recently, Madigan’s Andersen Simulation Center, which helps train thousands of doctors, nurses and medics each year, received a three-year accreditation from the American College of Surgeons, becoming the only Defense Department medical educational institution to attain that status. Madigan’s simulation center is one of only 21 surgical simulation centers in the U.S. to achieve a level one status, the highest for a center of surgical education excellence.

Date:  Thursday, November 10
Time:  11:30 a.m.- 1:30 p.m.
Event: Rotary Club of Tacoma No. 8
Place:  Landmark Conference Center
              47 St. Helens Ave., Tacoma 98402
Price:  $15 with RSVP
              No prepayment, collect at the door only
Register:  Online
Information:  Gary Brackett or 253-627-2175

About John H. Anderson
John H. Anderson served as Tacoma’s mayor in the early to mid 1950s. He was also a past Chair of the Tacoma-Pierce County Chamber Board of Directors, as well as a successful local businessman.   

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Possible Grants for JBLM on I-5

AGENDA  -  November 2, 2011

8:00     Welcome & Self-Introductions                                  
            Tom Pierson, Co-Chair                                                

8:10     Department of Defense, Office of Economic Adjustment: I-5/JBLM Grant
            Jeff Gonzalez, City of Lakewood

8:30     TIGER III Discretionary Federal Grant: I-5/JBLM
            Ron Landon & Kevin Dayton, WSDOT

8:50     Round Robin

9:00     Closing Remarks & Adjourn
            Pat McCarthy, Co-Chair

LOCATION:  Fabulich Center, Rm. 104, 
3600 Port of Tacoma Rd., Tacoma 98421

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

IJC Commander to Brief Live From Afghanistan

Army Lt. Gen. Curtis Scaparrotti, commander, International Security Assistance Force Joint Command and deputy commander, U.S. Forces -- Afghanistan, will brief the media live from Afghanistan at 10:30 a.m. EDT, Oct. 27, in the Pentagon Briefing Room (2E973) to provide an update on current operations.

Journalists without a Pentagon building pass will be picked up at the River Entrance only.  Plan to arrive no later than 45 minutes prior to the event; have proof of affiliation and two forms of photo identification.  Please call 703-697-5131 for escort into the building.

On the Web:

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Special Forum Explores Economy and Defense

The Special Forum with former Congressman and Vice-Admiral (ret.) Joe Sestak drew a full-house, cosmopolitan mix of business and civic leaders.

Sestak focused on both the economy and the defense community as he explored the nation’s issues in this roundtable discussion.  He observed, that a majority (estimated at 70%) of people who lost their jobs in this recession were small business (less than 20 employees) employees. Sestak said the stimulus was too small, missed the target and lacked accountability.  That target should have been the “star player” in the economy, small business, he said.

Other noteworthy comments by Sestak are:
  • The Federal Reserve has given a star performance.
  • Europe needs to go “all in” and may not.
  • This is the first recession that the housing market has not lead the recovery.
  • People can’t move to jobs because of they are underwater on their mortgages.
  • He is pessimistic about the Super Committee achieving a debt deal.
  • The military has been charged with meeting two major actions, and may become no longer able to meet that standard.
  • The military doesn’t always tell Congress the most-likely costs.

Sestak’s recommendations for a recovery program:
  • Guarantee community banks loans, the source of small business lending, at 98%.
  • Raise the interest rate cap so higher risks will be taken by lenders.
  • Increase 504(c) loans.
  • Increase micro-loans.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

On-Base Schools Lined Up for Money

As parents and school children know, the on-base elementary schools are heavily overcrowded and functionally obsolete.

That was proven in a recent DoD study which ranked Joint Base Lewis-McChord elementary schools in bands 1-2-4 and 6.  More information on the rankings and their placement on the scale is available here.

Debbie LeBeau, Superintendent, Clover Park School District, which operates but does not own the schools on JBLM, briefed attendees at this month’s Military Affairs Forum just after returning from Washington, D.C. where she conferenced with the Office of Economic Adjustment, a DoD agenda administering a $250 million fund for fixing the problem.

Clover Park S.D. expects to receive funds for replacing Hillside elemen- tary with a new 650 student facility and consolidating Carter Lake and Heartwood elementarys into one new 500 student school, because of their very high priority rankings in the study. The grant is a reimbursable program, but LeBeau consider Clover Park S.D. to have the financial flexibility to take advantage of the opportunity. 

If money continues to be available this year (unlikely), or if Congress continues to fund the program (hopefully), the next project for JBLM schools would be to consolidate Greenwood and Clarkmoor into one new 650 student school.

Hopes for Improved I-5 Access to Madigan

Hopes are high for improving access to Madigan Health- care Systems thanks to a recent grant opportunity that addresses improving access to medical facilities impacted by BRAC.

Attendees at this month's Military Affairs Forum heard a recap of a grant application designed to make significant improvements to those seeking service at Madigan, said Dan Penrose, Project Manager, SSMCP. 

Joint Base Lewis-McChord (JBLM), home of Madigan Health- care Systems and the Western Regional Medical Command, has been impacted by BRAC and several other Army initiatives, resulting in a doubling of personnel stationed there.  Now, there are 152,000 daily trips into-out of JBLM.  Over $1 billion is needed to accommodate today’s I-5 traffic (including its service for workforce commutation and commercial mobility).

Appli- cations from four defense commun- ities exceeded the $300 million fund cap.  Fairfax County, VA submitted the largest request, asking for $185 million; Montgomery County and Maryland asked for about $90 million, San Antonio, TX asked for $125 million and City of Lakewood [representing the South Sound Military and Community Partnership (SSMCP)] asked for less than $6 million.

The local application centers on the Berkeley Street/Union Ave./Freedom Bridge interchange on I-5.  Its particulars:
  • a third lane to Madigan
  • a second left turn land to I-5 South
  • better signals on the ramps and Union Ave.
  • a second receiving land for the Freedom Bridge overpass
  • improved land configurations for Berkeley and Union
  • added pedestrian safety improvements
The results – an astonishing 95% improvements in vehicle flow measured against the mid-day peak.  What’s now delays of more than 10 minutes per vehicle will drop to 35 seconds per vehicle after the improvements are made.

The decision is due November 7.  All here are hoping Lakewood’s proposal is “budget dust” that will be swept into local coffers.