BALTIMORE -- The Army expanded its partnership with higher education today creating a formal research agreement with Morgan State University.

In a May 10 ceremony at the campus, U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Command Commanding General, Maj. Gen. Nick Justice, signed a Cooperative Research and Development Agreement with Morgan State University President Earl S. Richardson.

The CRADA formalizes a partnership between RDECOM and the university to work on research projects through school laboratories, personnel, facilities, equipment and other resources.

"We have partnerships of this kind with universities throughout the country," Justice said.

The general said this is a big event because of the base realignment and closure process. Thousands of high-tech jobs are coming to the region as Aberdeen Proving Ground transforms into the Army's center for science and technology.

"As we move into that new face of Aberdeen, we're changing the face of Maryland north of Baltimore, and it's going to become a very high-tech corridor with opportunities galore," Justice said.

The Army is particularly impressed with the Morgan State University Computer Science Department, he said.

"We will be partnering with them, we'll be sponsoring projects at the university and we'll also be looking to recruit and hire," he said.

The Research, Development and Engineering Command's communication and electronics center will work closely with the school in the coming years. Communications-Electronics Research, Development, and Engineering Center Director Gary Blohm participated in the signing ceremony, and will oversee the first research project.

Officials signed three documents:

* Educational Partnership Agreement
* Cooperative Research and Development Agreement
* Statement of Work

The partnership reinforces the command's expanding teamwork between Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland and local universities. Army officials said Aberdeen Proving Ground has the potential to become one of the leading science and technology centers in the nation.

"This is a very important moment for the university," Richardson said. "We think that there is a major role that this university can play."

The CRADA provides a legal framework for scientists and engineers from both organizations to work together more effectively, he said.

"Ultimately, that means developing cooperative projects that will result in solutions and support to the warfighter," Richardson said. "I speak on behalf of the entire Morgan State University community when I say we couldn't be more honored to be a part of supporting our United States Army."