By Mr. Dan Lafontaine (RDECOM)September 15, 2011
ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. -- Base realignment and closure, commonly known as BRAC, is officially complete.
About 200 Soldiers, civilians and local officials gathered Sept. 15, the federal deadline for BRAC completion, at the Post Theater to mark the end of the six-year process. The Department of Defense announced BRAC moves in 2005.
CONSTRUCTION AND RENOVATIONS ABOUND
Senior APG commander Maj. Gen. Nick Justice thanked all those who contributed to BRAC.
"This is the biggest BRAC in the Army, and it went on flawlessly," Justice said as he awarded a Meritorious Service Medal to Col. Andrew Nelson, deputy Garrison commander for transformation. Nelson helped guide the installation through the BRAC process.
Nelson recalled the hard work involved in the execution of BRAC.
"For me, arriving at APG in 2008, being trusted with the planning and design phases, getting ready to kick off construction, I was simply amazed at the complexity of the mission ahead," Nelson said. "I remember a phone call that I received from the headquarters of Army Corps of Engineers.
"They said there is a perfect storm brewing at Aberdeen Proving Ground, and I should head there to see if I could help out."
Nelson noted the improvements to the installation since 2005. The Army spent more than $1 billion on construction; added 2.8 million square feet of facilities and 18 buildings; demolished 140 buildings; improved 9 miles of roads; and upgraded electric, water, and information technology infrastructure.
Eleven organizations, primarily from Fort Monmouth, moved to APG as part of BRAC. Three organizations, most notably the U.S. Army Ordnance Center and School, with its 92 years of history at APG, departed the installation.
The Command, Control, Communications, Computers, Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance community held the C4ISR Center of Excellence Dedication Ceremony later in the day.
BRAC IMPACT ON MARYLAND
Asuntha Chiang-Smith, executive director of Maryland's BRAC subcabinet, said BRAC has provided a boost to the state's economy.
"Throughout the state of the Maryland, we are completing BRAC at five installations. We are bringing over 21,000 jobs to the state," Chiang-Smith said.
In Maryland, National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, Fort Detrick, Joint Base Andrews and Fort Meade also completed BRAC.
APG has added about 8,000 Department of the Army civilian positions, and defense contractors have brought thousands more to Harford County in support of the installation's missions.
Justice said he has been impressed by the community's efforts during a successful transition.
"Rarely have we experienced the kind of engagement and involvement at all levels of the state that we have in Maryland," Justice said. "The people in this state have gone out of their way to ease the transition.
"I would like to thank the citizens of Maryland and your civic leaders."
SUPPORTING THE WARFIGHTER
Nelson urged the audience to focus on supporting their ultimate customer -- the Warfighter.
"The transformation at APG is not just about BRAC; it is about the installation's enduring mission to support national defense and our Warfighter," Nelson said. "The APG legacy of world-class support to the Warfighter continues as the transformation ensures APG will be relevant for decades to come."
APG has improved the quality of life for Soldiers and their families, Nelson said. The installation has renovated the health and dental clinics, child-care centers, and fitness and recreation facilities. Picerne Military Housing has completed 210 new homes, 97 historic renovations and 65 major renovations to multi-family units.