Friday, May 30, 2014

Evergreen Elementary Receives Funding at Last

Language released today in the Fiscal Year 2015 Department of Defense Appro- priations Act includes $139 million for the construction, renovation, repair, and expansion of elementary and secondary public schools on military installations, including nearly $40 million for Evergreen Elementary located on Joint Base Lewis-McChord.

Debbie LeBeau, superintendent of Clover Park School District, said We are extremely excited about the prospect of Evergreen Elementary receiving funding at last, and look forward to breaking ground on a new school for these students.

Funding was restored with the help of Rep. Denny Heck after sequestration cuts prevented original project.  Evergreen Elementary is a school recognized in the military community for its attention to students with special needs in education, and many service members request a compassionate assignment at JBLM so their child can attend Evergreen, Congressman Denny Heck, D-Wash., said. JBLM is located in the new 10th Congressional District, represented by Heck.

On April 4, 2014, Heck testified before the Defense Appropriations Subcommittee, requesting the subcommittee fund the remaining schools on the list.  We need to complete what began in 2011, and fix the remaining school buildings originally identified as no longer sustainable. It is unacceptable to allow sequestration cuts to prevent the kids of our men and women in uniform from receiving an excellent education in a safe and updated facility.

In a 2011 analysis by the Department of Defense, 33 public school facilities on military installations across the country were classified as being in “poor condition.” As a result, the Fiscal Year 2011 Defense Appropriations Act began the process of funding the replacement of these public schools. Due to sequestration cuts, the funding only covered 28 of the 33 schools, with Evergreen Elementary as one of the five remaining unfunded projects.

There are about 80,000 students who attend public schools on military installations. Ninety-four percent of these students are the children of service members.

The Clover Park School District will construct the new school in coordination with the State of Washington Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction and the Joint Base Headquarters at JBLM, and will then own, operate, and maintain the newly constructed Evergreen Elementary.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Noteworthies with a Local Link

The Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus and Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Jonathan W. Greenert announced today the following assignment:

Captain Jeffrey S. Ruth, selected for the rank of rear admiral (lower half), will be assigned as commander, Navy Region Northwest, Silverdale, Washington. Ruth is currently serving as commanding officer, USS NIMITZ (CVN 68), Everett, Washington.

Friday, May 23, 2014

Pacific NW Defense Symposium

This full-day program at Joint Base Lewis-McChord is the PNDC's largest event of the year.

They’re excited to feature Gov. Inslee; Major General Ferrell and other senior leaders from local military installations; Honorable Norm Dicks and Slade Gorton and senior staff from our Congressional delegation in DC; a defense expert from the Congressional Research Service; and many others.

If you register this late, you will have to access JBLM through the McChord Visitor Center. 

Please see the attached press release and flier. (Click on Image for a Larger and Complete View)

The event site also contains helpful info:

Veteran Hiring Event (Open to the public)

 Veteran Hiring Event (Open to the public) May 28th 2014 9am - 3pm.
Opportunity to meet over 40+ area businesses and discuss career opportunities.

This event is open to the public. Please bring your resume and dress to impress.

Brandman University & Goodwill Veteran Services Career and Resource Day

Career and Resource Day Thursday June 5th 2014 10am - 3pm.
Opportunity to meet local employers and discuss career opportunities.

Pre-register to reserve your spot for resume writing and mock interviews.
Bulan Sheel (253)573.6789 / 

Pre register here

(Click on image for a larger and complete view)

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Race for a Soldier Event

Interested in Race for a Soldier?  More info here:

(Click on Image for a Large and Complete View)

Monday, May 19, 2014

USFW Honors Local Champ for JBLM Work

The 2013 US.Fish & Wildlife Recovery Champions are U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service staff and their partners whose work advances the recovery of endangered and threatened species of plants and animals.

A recovery champion for the South Puget Sound Prairies for more than a decade, Lisa Bellefond brought together representatives of the DoD, Agriculture and Interior in the Sentinel Landscape Initiative.

Lisa Bennefond

Together, they integrated national security, food security, ecosystem restoration and species recovery.

The initiative has already been credited with an investment of $6 million towards permanently protecting habitat for the streaked-horned lark, Taylor's checkerspot butterfly, golden paintbrush and Mazama pocket gopher.

With Benefond's support, Thurston County received $1.8 million in Habitat Conservation Planning grants during 3 years to develop a countywide plan to benefit 16 species for 50 years on prairies, oak woodlands and grasslands. Through her advocacy, Joint Base Lewis-McChord's Army Compatible Use Buffer program became the first in the nation to adopt the strategy of acquiring and restoring lands off the post, a key step in launching the expansive Sentinel Landscapes.

A leader in collaborating and innovating, Bellefond has engaged diverse partners in protecting prairies and working lands for sustainable economic development.

Friday, May 16, 2014

JBLM Open House This Saturday

JBLM is open to the public for Armed Forces Day, this Saturday,, May 17, 10;00 a.m. - 6:00 p.m. 

#AFD2014    @JBLMMWR

(Click on Image for a Larger & Complete View)

Exhibitor and Sponsorship Opportunities for Boots2Work

Here are exhibitor and sponsorship opportunities for the Boots2Work Military Career Fair set for August 27 at Cheney Stadium, Tacoma.

For more information, call Linda Helenberg or 253.254.7651.

To register as an employer, link here.

(Click on Image for a Larger and Complete View)

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Guard Springs into Action - You Can Too

The Washington National Guard offers activities for kids and parents with its Spring into Action event May 31. 

(Click on Image for a Larger and Complete View)

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Job & Resource Fair in King County

Job & Resource Fair for Veterans, National Guard, Reserve and Family Members:

For more info, contact Rich Garmong or 206-205-3218.

(Click on Image for a Larger and Complete View)

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Tacoma/South Sound Chapter of SCORE Takes Top Honors

The Tacoma/South Sound chapter of SCORE, is the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) 2014 Washington Veteran Small Business Champion a nonprofit whose volunteers provide free mentoring to small businesses and future entrepreneurs.

The SBA Veteran Small Business Champion Award honors those who have fulfilled a commitment to advancing small business opportunities for veterans of the U.S. Armed Forces. 

The skills veterans acquire from service can be directly translated into owning and operating a business, said Nancy Porzio, SBA Seattle district director. Without the help of the Tacoma/South Sound chapter of SCORE, we wouldn’t be able to reach as many transitioning service members through our Boots to Business program.

The SBA Boots to Business initiative is a two-step training program that ensures every transitioning service member has access to the tools and knowledge they need to identify a business opportunity, draft a business plan, connect with local small business resources, and launch their small business.

Tacoma/South Sound SCORE has led seven workshops to more than 360 veterans at Joint Base Lewis-McChord transitioning from a service member to a business owner through the SBA Boots to Business program.

The chapter is scheduled to conduct eight more workshops during the remainder of 2014.

Joint Base Lewis McChord is located in the heart of the Tacoma/South Sound SCORE chapter, said Dave Binz, Tacoma SCORE president. Leading these workshops is very rewarding.

The SBA 2014 Washington Veteran Small Business Champion will be recognized at a local awards ceremony event May 8 in conjunction with National Small Business Week May 12-16.

National Small Business Week is a time to recognize the impact small business has on our country, said SBA Regional Administrator Calvin Goings. It’s a chance to celebrate the dedicated, hard-working small business owners who are making a difference in their communities.

Each year since 1963, the President has issued a proclamation calling for the celebration of National Small Business Week. SBA recognizes outstanding small business owners for their personal successes and contributions to our nation.

SBA Seattle District Office 2013 Washington Veterans Small Business Champion

The U.S. Small Business Administration’s (SBA) 2013 Washington State Veteran Small Business Champion of the Year is Giselle Saguid

Previously the Program Director of the Northwest Washington Women’s Business Center (NWWBC) located in Everett, Wash., she has spent years teaching entrepreneurial classes as part of the Department of Defense’s (DOD) Transition Assistance Program at Naval Air Station Whidbey Island and Naval Air Station Everett. I am honored to be recognized by the U.S. Small Business Administration as the 2013 Washington State Veteran Small Business Champion of the Year, Saguid said.

Saguid, who lives in Marysville, Wash., has worked with the Department of the Navy, surrounding cities, counties, lending partners and other local, state and federal resources to provide the small business services Veterans need. Saguid also supported Veterans’ spouses who focus on transferrable businesses while part of the military. She has volunteered countless hours to help train and educate Veterans on the transition from service member to business owner, said SBA Regional Administrator Calvin Goings.

Besides working with active duty Sailors and other service members, Saguid organized workshops solely focused on Veterans and their needs. In total, she delivered more than 100 entrepreneurial classes and workshops to Veterans in Snohomish, Island, Skagit and Whatcom counties. I tried to give them information that will be beneficial to them in their new lives that is satisfying and helps take care of their families, Saguid said.

From amongst her peers, the SBA Seattle District Office has chosen Saguid as the best champion for Veterans. Giselle Saguid has been devoted to Washington state service members and Veterans for more than six years, said SBA Seattle District Office Director Nancy Porzio. Her dedication and commitment to helping America’s heroes is evident.

Saguid and other Washington state SBA award recipients will be recognized for their achievements at the 2013 SBA Annual Small Business Awards Gala Thursday at the Museum of Flight. 

For more information about Saguid, call (206) 324-4330 Extension 123 or email For more information about SBA or the SBA Annual Small Business Awards Gala, call (206) 553-7310 or email

Friday, May 9, 2014

I-5 - JBLM Area Corridor Improvements - Future Plans

Public invited to WSDOT an open house about I-5 – JBLM Vicinity – Congestion Relief Study

Residents and highway users are invited to learn more and share their thoughts about potential improvements for Interstate 5 through the JBLM vicinity.

Open House Information:

When: 4 to 7 p.m., Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Where: Eagles Pride Fort Lewis Golf Course
I-5 at exit 116, Mounts Road Southwest

Washington State Department of Transportation staff will host an open house to discuss alternatives being explored to improve traffic flow through the area which serves approximately 119,000 vehicles a day. No formal presentation is scheduled, and those interested in attending are welcome to come any time during the three hour open house.

WSDOT has worked closely with representatives of local governments, transit agencies, the Nisqually Indian Tribe, JBLM, Federal Highway Administration, and regional planning organizations to identify the causes of congestion in this area of I-5 and develop potential improvements.

Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Information Accommodation requests for people with disabilities can be made by contacting the WSDOT Diversity/ADA Affairs team or by calling toll-free, 855-362-4ADA (232). Persons who are deaf or hard of hearing may make a request by calling the Washington State Relay at 711.

Why is there so much congestion?

Interstate 5 is a national highway of strategic importance. It moves goods and people between two borders and links major cities. It is a critical corridor for military use. Over the past several years, traffic has increased along the entire I-5 corridor, and nowhere has that increase been more noticeable than in south Pierce County through the Joint Base Lewis-McChord (JBLM) vicinity.

A combination of factors have contributed to the traffic growth through the area. Large businesses have moved in. JBLM and Camp Murray have expanded, and the communities of Lakewood, DuPont and Steilacoom have continued to develop. Each change has added demand on the already-crowded I-5 corridor. Motorists now see traffic congestion on a daily basis, especially during peak commute hours. Because secured military bases are located on both sides of I-5, alternate routes involve using perimeter roads around the bases. Those routes are neither convenient nor able to manage high volumes of traffic.

What is WSDOT doing about it?

In 2013, a joint I-5 corridor planning study involving WSDOT, JBLM and local jurisdictions evaluated the best way to improve transportation through the JBLM vicinity. The task of the planning study was to define improvements that could relieve congestion on I-5 from Center Drive to Gravelly Lake Drive, with a focus on the interchanges at the Steilacoom-DuPont exit (#119), 41st Division Drive/Main Gate exit (#120), Berkeley Street exit (#122) and the Thorne Lane exit (#123).

Specifically, the study addresses options to:
•    relieve congestion on I-5
•    improve system efficiency
•    enhance mobility
•    improve safety and operations
•    increase transit and alternative commute opportunities

This work is being performed in two phases. Phase 1 conducted a Corridor Feasibility Study. You can read the full report and the summary report linked below:

•    I-5 JBLM Vicinity IJR and Environmental Documentation Phase 1 Corridor Plan Feasibility Study
•    I-5 JBLM Vicinity IJR and Environmental Documentation Phase 1 - Summary Report

During Phase 2, WSDOT will conduct a comprehensive multi-modal corridor alternative analysis along with NEPA environmental studies and documentation. In this effort, WSDOT will evaluate alternatives off I-5 that could improve mobility along the corridor. Public involvement will be an important element of Phase 2.

Alternatives advanced from Phase 1 will be further evaluated along with those developed during Phase 2. WSDOT and other stakeholders will evaluate proposed revisions to interchanges and document them in an Interchange Justification Report (IJR). The alternative analysis will be conducted in 2014 along with initiation of the environmental studies and documentation.

In January 2014, WSDOT conducted an origin-destination study. The origin-destination study will better identify the nature of local trips and regional traffic on and near Interstate 5 between Center Drive and Gravelly Lake Drive.

Why are studies needed?

The planning study will result in an IJR, which is a study required by federal law used to justify revisions to highway interchanges. The IJR documents the design of the preferred alternative, the planning process, the evaluation of considered alternatives, and the support and justification for requesting an access revision. With the results from the report, project stakeholders can take action to implement the preferred solutions.

What will the completed study include?

•    National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) environmental documentation for proposed corridor improvements and preliminary engineering for the highest priority improvements.
•    A completed Interchange Justification Report for revisions to the four focus-area interchanges.

What is happening in the mean time?

While the planning study is underway, some construction is already taking place in the corridor, and more construction is scheduled to start soon.  The construction projects will provide short-term improvements to help relieve congestion.  Specifically, crews will:

•    Install ramp meters
•    Widen ramp lanes
•    Add a ramp lane and auxiliary lane
•    Install data collection stations
•    Install Intelligent Transportation System improvements

View a map here of these preliminary project features.

Financial Information

Financial Data for PINs 000513A & 300596S
Funding Source                                Amount ($ in thousands)
2003 Gas Tax (Nickel Funding)                      $0
2005 Gas Tax (TPA)                                        $0
Pre-Existing Funds (PEF)                        $6,502
Total                                                         $6,502

How can I get more information?

Bill Elliott    
Olympic Region Plans Engineer

Claudia Bingham Baker      
WSDOT Communications Manager 

Direct Access to Website Info HERE.

Veteran Networking Event

Veteran Networking Event June 19th 2014. Opportunity to meet area businesses and discuss career opportunities. This event is for the veteran and their spouse.

(Click on Image for a Larger and Complete View)

Army & Air Force Differ with Navy on BRAC

The different branches of the military appear to disagree on the need for a new Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) round in the near future.

These three stories detail the thinking of Army, Air Force and Navy leadership:

•    US Army Leaders Push for Another BRAC Round

•    Admiral: Navy is not pushing for BRAC

•    Air Force Presentation before the Senate Appropriations Committee

Whether new base closures occur or not, it is clear from the Administration’s budget proposals that reductions in contracts and/or personnel are likely.

AMC Awards Spokane/Fairchild Abilene Trophy

The Air Mobility Command report the 2013 Abilene Trophy was awarded to Spokane, Washington, this week by AMC. This award is presented annually to the community in AMC that is most supportive of its local Air Force base.

Fairchild Air Force Base has a continuous global mission that employs more than 5,700 personnel and supports 17,000 retirees; and the Inland Northwest community has proven to be the grassroots supporting Fairchild and Air Mobility Command.

"Team Fairchild celebrates the Abilene award for our All-American community. 2013 was arguably one of the more difficult years for the base since 1994 and the patriotic Spokane community was our closest wingman during every challenge," said Col. Brian Newberry, the 92nd Air Refueling Wing commander. "Their Lilac heart beats strong for our Airmen. We salute the Abilene Chamber of Commerce Military Affairs committee, specifically Ms. Kristina Jones and Mr. Gray Bridwell, for hosting an award that recognizes our red, white and blue communities that make us stronger. Congratulations Spokane and the Greater Spokane Incorporated!"

Spokane has neighbored Fairchild and its military units for more than 93 years. Many of the city's accolades last year gave proof that it is still, more than ever, proudly supporting its American Airmen, Soldiers, Sailors and Marines in the Inland Northwest.

"I truly believe that our community's relationship with the Air Force represents the best in the nation. This award is an incredible honor for our citizens and a testament to their unwavering support of Fairchild and our local military families, whom we honor every year in May with the Lilac Festival and Parade," said Spokane Mayor David Condon. "We pride ourselves on that legacy and will continue to uphold the mission of Fairchild Air Force Base, the individuals who serve here, and their families."

Below are some of the attributes of why the Abilene Trophy was awarded to the city of Spokane:
• The Spokane Liliac Festival Armed Forces Torchlight Parade continues to be the largest U.S. nighttime parade, which attracts more than 150,000 visitors saluting the military.
• Operation Spokane Heroes donated $5,000 in holiday gift cards to military families; in 2013, Treats-for-Troops donations tripled for Soldiers and Airmen overseas.
• Spokane Military Alliance was created to better funnel business support for military.
• The state of Washington employs more than 700 traditional Guardsmen, and a majority in the City of Spokane. Just in 2013, these employers have supported their Airmen who executed 227 deployments with a total of 17,408 days to serve around the world.

"This is truly a community honor and shows how fortunate we are to have Fairchild Air Force Base and its personnel part of our community," said Rich Hadley, President and CEO of Greater Spokane Incorporated.

These milestones will be honored and celebrated with a trophy to the City of Spokane at a later date and will be presented by the Abilene Community.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Recruit Military Veteran Career Fair - Seattle

Where:   Safeco Field
               1250 1st Avenue South
               Seattle, WA 98134
When:    Thursday, June 5, 2014 from 11:00 AM - 3:00 PM
Why:      To change the lives of veterans and their families by connecting them with companies that value their talent and experience.

Please notify the veterans you serve and work with about this event and encourage them to pre-register for FREE here.

The Seattle area events provide many great career options for veterans and their spouses. The 44 companies already attending have hundreds of positions they are recruiting for, and many more companies will be added in the weeks ahead.

Some of the companies are below, and a full listing can be found through the link above.

•    Amtrak
•    USAA
•    Amazon
•    Texas Instruments
•    Military Sealift Command
•    BNSF Railway
•    City of Seattle
•    Lockheed Martin
•    Point Eight Power and more

You may print and post this flyer for anyone who might be interested in attending this event.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Smith Offers 2017 BRAC Amendment

House Armed Services Committee Ranking Member Adam Smith offered an amendment to the FY2015 National Defense Authorization Act designed to allow the Department of Defense to find important savings that can be applied to urgent readiness and training requirements yet distinguish it from the previous round in important ways.

“Given that the last BRAC round transformed more than it closed and has cost more and saved less than original estimates, members of Congress have justifiable reservations about giving the Department of Defense authority to conduct another round. But this should be a congressionally led process. We have a stake in the outcome,” said Ranking Member Smith. “With these concerns in mind, this legislation will create a transparent, deliberative, and independent process. In order to protect military readiness and other important programs, Congress should provide authority for the next BRAC round and should adopt these reforms to strengthen the process and avoid the problems that plagued the previous round.”

A New BRAC Process

In light of current budget conditions, DoD cannot afford another “transformation” BRAC similar to the 2005 round. The next BRAC must be focused on generating savings. To ensure this, the proposal requires the Secretary of Defense to certify to Congress that the primary objective of a new BRAC round would be to eliminate excess infrastructure and reconfigure the remaining infrastructure to maximize efficiency. In addition, any realignments or changes to infrastructure must yield net savings within five years of completing the action, savings that could be applied to other readiness requirements sooner.

To control cost and scope, the proposal would require DoD to submit master plans for each recommendation transmitted to the independent BRAC commission. These master plans would include the costs, scope, and timing of each construction activity. As the commission adjusts recommendations, the master plans would also be adjusted. Once a closure or realignment is approved, the master plan associated with each closure or realignment would be the binding authority for expending funds from the BRAC account. Any proposal to carry out a construction activity not included in the master plan would require a specific authorization from Congress.

The proposal would strengthen the independent commission and improve transparency in the BRAC process. To do this, the commission would be required to certify that it has sufficient staff to review the Secretary of Defense’s recommendations, and additional time to consider public comments, receive testimony, and conduct additional site visits. In addition, the information used by the Secretary of Defense to develop recommendations would be made easily available to the public for review, including the unclassified assessment data on the condition of facilities and infrastructure, the environmental baseline of known contamination and remediation activities, and the standard rules used to calculate annual recurring savings.

“The Department of Defense estimates it has excess infrastructure capacity, and this excess takes money away from training, maintenance, and operations.  In the current budget environment, where important programs are being cut across the board, this is a waste of scare resources,” continued Smith.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

WNG's Oso Landslide Response at Military Forum

Military Affairs Committee

Date & Time: WEDNESDAY, May 14, 7:30 – 9:00 a.m.
Place: La Quinta Inn, 1425 E. 27th St., Tacoma 98421
Price:  $15.00 pre-paid
          $20.00 walk-ins/at the door
Information: Janice Hutchins, (253) 627.2175 X100
RSVP:  DUE 12 noon, May 12 (Monday) ?
REGISTER HERE!  (to be linked)


The Military Affairs Forum works to enhance communication and opportunities between the civilian community and defense installations.

“WNG’s Oso Landslide Response and Domestic Ops”

 BG Turner is the Assistant Adjutant General - Army and Commander of the 6,200 Soldiers of the Washington Army National Guard.  He and his team will brief on the Washington National Guard's role in Domestic Operations and the National Guard response and effort for the Oso landslide.

Brigadier General Wallace Turner
Assistant Adjutant General - Army
Commander of the Washington Army National Guard

COL Gregg Allan
Chief of Staff of the Washington Army National Guard

LTC Curt Simonson
G3 Operations Officer
Washington Army National Guard

CPT Joseph Siemandel
Public Affairs Officer
Washington National Guard

June 18, with Tacoma Yacht Club, Evergreen Fleet Cruise (RSVP Deadline:  June 13, 2014)