Lt. Governor Brown Releases 2009 Annual BRAC Report
ANNAPOLIS, Md. (January 5, 2010) – Lt. Governor Anthony G. Brown and the Governor’s Subcabinet on Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC), released the 2009 BRAC Progress Report today. The report highlights steps taken during 2009 to ensure Maryland remains ready for BRAC, which will create as many as 60,000 new jobs in regions across the state. The report also outlines the Subcabinet’s broad course of action for 2010.
“Two years ago, we presented Governor O’Malley with the BRAC Action Plan. Since then, we have been running the plays in that book and Maryland is ready for BRAC,” Lt. Governor Brown said. “Because of our strong partnerships with local government, federal government, the business community and the military, we are confident that BRAC will be successful. BRAC is jobs creation in Maryland and we will continue the necessary efforts to fully realize our BRAC potential.”
“Lt. Governor Brown’s leadership on BRAC has brought us to this point in the process, building on the role Maryland has traditionally played in protecting our national security. BRAC is an opportunity for our State to play an even larger role and an opportunity that will create new jobs,” Governor Martin O’Malley said. “I am confident that Maryland will be ready for BRAC and we look forward to working with the General Assembly, our partners in local government and the private sector to ensure we stay focused on the mission.”
The report released today cites significant progress in building a sustainable workforce to fill the jobs coming to Maryland and developing the infrastructure to serve a larger population and outlines that progress and recommends a course of action to guide the next stages of implementation for 2009. The report highlights a number of programs and activities, as well as legislative actions, to address the needs of incoming federal agencies and military commands, private sector employers, as well as employees and their families.
Lt. Governor Brown led efforts last year to pass several pieces of legislation to meet the BRAC challenges, including:
- A bill, the Interstate Compact on Education Opportunity for Military Children, which enables Maryland to better facilitate the transition for the children of military families who move to Maryland due to military reassignments;
- A bill allowing for the transfer of occupational licenses for stationary engineers, plumbers, gas fitters and HVACR contractors moving to Maryland because of BRAC; and
- An amendment to the BRAC Community Enhancement Act, which passed in 2008, that more closely aligns the implementation of the BRAC Zone program to assist local governments that are funding SmartGrowth-principled infrastructure improvements in areas focused on BRAC growth.
During 2009, the Subcabinet built on previous years’ work to develop a sustainable workforce pipeline to fill many of the jobs coming to Maryland because of BRAC. Specifically, Lt. Governor Brown oversaw the coordinated efforts of several state agencies to implement programs and activities designed to meet the workforce demands articulated by the various installations and defense contractors most affected by BRAC. These programmatic efforts included:
- The convening of the Northeastern Maryland Higher Education Summit to begin a comprehensive discussion of higher education solutions for the region near Aberdeen Proving Ground;
- The awarding of 12 grants to 11 two- and four-year public and independent colleges and universities for BRAC-related programs through the BRAC Higher Education Fund; and
- A study conducted by the Maryland Department of Labor, Licensing and Regularly and the Maryland Higher Education Commission to determine the state’s preparedness and capacity to meet impending BRAC post-secondary education demands.
Throughout the year, the Subcabinet continued efforts to improve outreach activities to the business community and provide business with assistance throughout the BRAC process. These efforts included:
- The Governor’s Office of Minority Affairs (GOMA) launching a comprehensive BRAC Web page that provides information about BRAC small and minority business initiatives and links to other BRAC-related sites;
- A Minority Business Enterprise conference at Bowie State University hosted by Lt. Governor Brown and members of Maryland’s Congressional delegation;
- The establishment of the Federal Facilities Advisory Board to serve as the primary point of contact for relationships with federal facilities headquartered in Maryland; and
- The establishment of the Office of Small Business and creation of the Small Business Task Force at the Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development to better advise BRAC-impacted businesses.
As many as 24,000 new households will move to Maryland by 2015 because of BRAC, posing several infrastructure challenges, including water issues in northeast Maryland and transportation near each of the affected installations. During 2009, several state agencies partnered with local and federal government to keep the state on track for success even during a national economic recession. These coordinated efforts included:
- A follow up on the Northeast Water Summit which resulted in the signing of a memorandum of understanding to develop a regional solution to the water supply challenges facing the region near and around Aberdeen Proving Ground;
- The designation of additional BRAC Zones in the City of Aberdeen and Howard County;
- The programming of $98 million in the Maryland Department of Transportation’s 2010-2015 Draft Consolidated Transportation Program to fund top priorities identified within the State Highway Administration’s programmed intersection improvements; and
- The announcement that the Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development received $4.5 million from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation to help preserve 9,000 units of rental housing in BRAC-impacted counties.
Despite the national economic recession and budget reductions totaling more than $1 billion in the Fiscal Year 2010 budget, the O’Malley-Brown Administration is investing $885 million in capital and operating funds for projects outlined in the 2007 BRAC Action Plan, which guides the state’s efforts to maintain BRAC readiness. Since taking office, the O’Malley-Brown administration has invested more than $2.7 billion in BRAC readiness.
In the New Year, the BRAC Subcabinet will continue to identify resources and actions to ensure a smooth transition for the incoming Department of Defense agencies, contractors and residents while also protecting and improving Maryland’s high quality of life. To build a stronger workforce pipeline, MHEC will launch a BRAC Internship Web site to connect college students with internship opportunities with defense contractors and continue to address higher education needs identified at the Northeastern Maryland Higher Education Summit. The Maryland Department of Transportation will lead efforts to advance SmartGrowth projects in BRAC-impacted communities and engage stakeholders and Maryland’s Congressional leaders to explore all funding options available to support Maryland’s transportation programs.
The BRAC Subcabinet was established by legislation that passed during the 2007 legislative session and is comprised of 10 cabinet secretaries. Lt. Governor Brown chairs the Subcabinet and leads the group’s effort to coordinate Maryland’s preparations for BRAC by working horizontally across state government and vertically through partnerships with local, county, state and federal government.
The full Progress Report can be viewed at http://www.brac.maryland.gov/documents/BRACProgressReport2009.pdf.