Officials: BRAC progress at tipping point
Research, Development and Engineering Command and Aberdeen Proving Ground Commanding General Maj. Gen. Nick Justice tells the Chesapeake Science & Security Corridor Consortium his vision of the future Sept. 9 at an Aberdeen, Md. meeting.

ABERDEEN, Md. -- A group of military and local officials met Sept. 9 at the Higher Education & Conference Center to discuss the regional transformation set in motion by the closure of Fort Monmouth, N.J. and the movement of organizations to and from Aberdeen Proving Ground, Md.

Base Realignment and Closure 2005 is well on its way to becoming reality here, as major units move to and from the proving ground.

Research, Development and Engineering Command and Aberdeen Proving Ground Commanding General Maj. Gen. Nick Justice told the group his vision of the future during remarks to the group.

"We are already at the tipping point," Justice said. "There is a tremendous synergy going on and the opportunities are exciting."

The Chesapeake Science & Security Corridor Consortium is a collaborative effort between Harford, Baltimore and Cecil Counties and Baltimore City, Md.; Chester, York and Lancaster Counties in Pa.; New Castle County, Del.; and two metropolitan planning councils in Baltimore and Wilmington, Del.

Justice explained how the rebirth of APG in an ongoing process.

"This is far bigger than BRAC," he said. "We have well over a billion dollars in construction on the base that is not BRAC related."

The Army opened the proving ground December 14, 1917, and the first gun was fired on January 2, 1918.

Justice told the group the how Aberdeen Proving Ground has a history of being a technology leader.

"Technology has created tremendous change in the military," he said. "About 75 years ago researchers at Aberdeen Proving Ground were working on a vehicle to replace the horse to carry people and equipment across rough terrain."

The work completed at APG resulted in the U.S. Army's Truck Utility, 1/4 ton, 4x4.

"You may know it as a Jeep," he said. "So, all of you whose families own an SUV, you have APG to thank for that."

During the lunar exploration program, APG testing facilities were used by NASA to develop the Lunar Rover.

"Imagine the advances that are coming in the next 50 years," he said. "We need to ask what is in the realm of the possible and how are we going to shape that."

Following the general's presentation, the group discussed numbers, dates and plans of organizations that are moving, or have moved.

"About 2,700 people have moved to APG already due to BRAC," said Carol Stewart from the APG Garrison Transformation Office."

Stewart said transformation is on target to be completed by 2011; however, the community can expect hiring to continue for some time.

"Recruit. Recruit. Recruit," said Army Test and Evaluation Command BRAC Team Lead John Kearney.

Kearney said his organization is fully engaged in the move to Aberdeen Proving Ground, and taking lessons learned from organizations which have already moved.

"This is a process that may take five years to settle," Justice said. "We want to know what we can do as a community to help make this a smooth transition."

The CSSC works to coordinate communication, information and planning strategies for successful BRAC implementation. According to the organization's Web site, CSSC priority areas include: transportation, infrastructure and land use planning, workforce development, education and relocation.

The Office of Economic Adjustment funds the consortium through a grant. The OEA is the U.S. Department of Defense source for assisting communities impacted by Defense program changes, including base closures or realignments, base expansions, and contract or program cancellations.

Page last updated Fri September 9th, 2011 at 15:50