For the past four years, the state of Maryland has been preparing for an influx of service members and their families as the Base Realignment and Closure effort is underway around the region.
As part of the preparation, the state established a Governor’s sub-cabinet to enhance coordination within the state government.
Maryland Lt. Governor Anthony Brown chairs the cabinet, and he joined The Federal Drive with Tom Temin and Amy Morris this morning to talk about the 2010 BRAC Progress Report that was released late last month.
The report notes the two broad responsibilities that the sub cabinet has taken on in order to finish the BRAC project.
Brown explained that the first responsibility is to ensure that the physical infrastructure is in place.
“That’s roads, that’s public transit, in some parts of the state that’s water and sewer treatment plants,” Brown said. “Because BRAC for Maryland isn’t just Bethesda Naval consolidating with Walter Reed, but it’s also growth at Fort Detrick, Aberdeen Proving Ground, at Ft. Mead and Joint Base Andrews. So physical infrastructure is very important function insuring that it’s in place for the arrival of these families and jobs.”
The second broad responsibility for the sub cabinet is the human capital development.
“That’s making sure that our workforce is skilled to compete for these jobs that are coming to Maryland,” Brown said. “So we’re investing in our schools, not only in the classroom, but building more schools particularly in these BRAC growth or BRAC impacted counties. And also what we’re offering in our colleges and universities, insuring that the programs are fit to support the kinds of jobs that are coming with BRAC.”
The 2010 progress report comes following four years of work. Brown says the hard work of the committee has been worth it.
“When we first came in office, there was a lot of anxiety in Maryland about what BRAC meant,” Brown said. “There was concerns in our communities that it would be an influx of jobs and families and it might negatively impact the quality of life in our communities because it was a rapid growth and development period. It was important for us to form the sub cabinet, to do the coordination, the planning. At the end of 2007, we published a BRAC action plan. We’ve had progress reports every year since to ensure that we’re monitoring our progress towards these action items and identifying any areas where we might be lagging or slipping behind. Overall the process instills confidence in the Maryland public that we are ready for BRAC and we’re welcoming it with open arms.”
By the end of this year, most of the work of sub cabinet will be finished. The bulk of the BRAC moves will have concluded but that does not mean that the members will move on.
“The big push will be behind us as the jobs arrive by the end of September,” Brown said “and the members of the sub cabinet that includes the Department of Transportation, Department of Planning, and the Housing and Community Development will continue to have BRAC coordinators within their departments and we will continue to make BRAC a priority because we know that there’s still going to be a follow on work as the defense contracting community comes into Maryland. We will have resources in the departments to coordinate but we no longer see the need for the BRAD sub cabinet.”