December 21, 2007

TEAM MARYLAND FIGHTS TO RESTORE BRAC FUNDING IN MARYLAND

"We urge you to fully fund the important military initiatives underway in our state."

 

WASHINGTON, D.C. - Maryland Congressional Delegation Chair Senator Barbara A. Mikulski (D-Md.) was joined today by her "Team Maryland" colleagues Senator Benjamin L. Cardin (D), House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer (D), Representatives Wayne T. Gilchrest (R), Albert Wynn (D), Roscoe Bartlett (R), Elijah E. Cummings (D), Chris Van Hollen (D), C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger (D) and John Sarbanes (D) in sending a letter to Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates, urging him to fund the military construction projects in Maryland that are required under the 2005 Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) process.

In response to the President's veto threat, Congress cut $1 billion from the BRAC Military Construction account. The executive branch will now re-evaluate BRAC funding for individual initiatives across the nation with the almost $7.3 billion allotted.

The text of the letter is below:

Dear Mr. Secretary:

We are writing to urge you to fully fund the military construction projects in Maryland that are required under the 2005 Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) process. The 2005 BRAC round will bring significant military assets and thousands of new Defense Department employees into the State of Maryland. BRAC military construction funding is critical to ensuring that the necessary infrastructure is in place to prevent a disruption in the military missions of incoming organizations, many of whom are providing direct support to our troops on the battlefield.

In response to the President's threat to veto the Omnibus Appropriations Act of 2008, Congress was forced to cut funding for the 2005 BRAC Military Construction account by nearly $1 billion. We understand that you will re-visit the Department's priorities for the remaining BRAC 2005 funds, and we urge you to fully fund the important military initiatives underway in our state.

Under BRAC 2005, Maryland will become home to the National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, the Joint C4ISR Center of Excellence at Aberdeen Proving Ground, the Joint Energetics Center of Excellence at Naval Surface Warfare Center Indian Head, the consolidated Defense Information Services Agency (DISA) at Fort Meade, and the Headquarters and Readiness Center for the Air National Guard at Andrews Air Force Base. Funding for each of these projects was included in the President's budget request for fiscal year 2008. Unless the funds are made available to these mission-critical projects this year, it will be very difficult to complete implementation of the BRAC recommendations by 2011, as required by law.

We in Maryland are very proud of the military installations across our State. We urge you to fully fund these necessary military construction projects in order to provide the incoming military organizations with the facilities they require to meet their mission in defense of our nation.