January 11, 2008

U.S. ARMY REAFFIRMS COMMITMENT TO APG IN MEETING WITH TEAM MARYLAND

WASHINGTON, D.C. - In a meeting with staff from the Maryland congressional delegation, U.S. Army representatives today reiterated the Army's commitment to the successful implementation of the 2005 Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) recommendation to close Fort Monmouth in Monmouth County, New Jersey, and create a C4ISR Center of Excellence at Aberdeen Proving Ground (APG) in Harford County, Maryland.  Army representatives briefed staff members on the Army's recent report to Congress on their implementation efforts.  This is the Army's second meeting with Team Maryland to express their commitment to APG; Army representatives met with Team Maryland staff in August last year.

Army Materiel Command has developed a step-by-step timeline for moving assets into Maryland and a detailed funding plan to support these moves while ensuring no disruption in support for the warfighter.  Maryland's federal delegation, working closely with state and local officials as Team Maryland, stands ready to provide whatever support the Army requires to ensure that this transition is completed successfully and on-time. 

"The objective of the Army is to further enhance the evolution of its net-centric warfare capabilities by combining these missions at Aberdeen," said Keith E. Eastin, Assistant Secretary of the Army for Installations and Environment.  "The Army is committed to this realignment while ensuring continued seamless support to the warfighter during these challenging times."

"This report tells us what we already know: the Army and the Department of Defense (DoD) have a detailed and comprehensive plan to ensure the successful implementation of the BRAC recommendation that creates a new Joint Center of Excellence at APG," said Senator Mikulski, chair of the Maryland delegation.  "As a member of Team Maryland, I am committed to providing the Army and DoD whatever support and resources are required to provide the warfighter with the tools and equipment they need to fight and win on the battlefields of today - and tomorrow."
 
"I have full confidence in the recommendations of the BRAC Commission and the Army, which have both stated that moving the Communications Electronics Command from Fort Monmouth to Aberdeen Proving Ground will enhance our country's military readiness and ability to effectively counter threats around the globe," said Senator Benjamin L. Cardin.  "The Army reports unequivocally that it can accomplish this move without disrupting support to our troops and I stand ready, along with the full Maryland delegation, to do whatever it takes to make the move a success."

"This report reaffirms what the independent 2005 BRAC Commission already determined - that Maryland's Aberdeen Proving Ground is the best strategic location to house these operations," stated Congressman Steny Hoyer.  "Moving forward, our focus continues to be on making this transition as smooth and efficient as possible in order to serve current residents and accommodate the thousands of new jobs and families we will be welcoming to our State."

"We must move forward and officials in Harford County and surrounding counties need to be reassured that this move is going to happen and we better be prepared for it," said Congressman Wayne T. Gilchrest.  "I appreciate the Army's commitment to the BRAC process and we stand ready to assist in whatever way we can to make that transition as smooth as possible."

"The 2005 BRAC recommendations are intended to make our military operations more efficient and effective," said Congressman Albert Wynn.  "Not only will the 2005 BRAC realignment streamline our military services, and allow them to be better prepared to protect our country's interests, the realignment will save the taxpayer money, and increase jobs and economic opportunity for Marylanders and Maryland businesses.  I applaud the outcome of the 2005 realignment and look forward to continuing the integration of these new workers and jobs into the Maryland community."

"This latest Army briefing reconfirmed that continued vigorous oversight of the BRAC process will ensure the smoothest possible transition of the missions and jobs from Fort Monmouth to Aberdeen Proving Ground," said Congressman Roscoe Bartlett, a senior member of the House Armed Services Committee.
 
"I have never doubted the decision of the BRAC Commission when it comes to achieving the important goals of maximizing military value and creating synergy and efficiency within the Department of Defense.  Today's Army briefing further confirms that the Fort Monmouth move is a good move, both for the State of Maryland and for the brave men and women in the military who are protecting our nation," said Congressman Elijah E. Cummings, a member of the House Armed Services Committee.  "The State continues to do an outstanding job in its preparations for this decision, and we must continue moving forward from this point to ensure that the transition is carried out in a manner that is beneficial to all parties involved."

"The 2005 BRAC recommendations will bring both opportunities and challenges to our state, but will ultimately make both our military and our region stronger," said Congressman Chris Van Hollen.

"Maryland stands at the ready for these new jobs and new residents.  The whole purpose of BRAC is to consolidate functions to enhance efficiency and make sure the war fighter and intelligence workers have the latest in technology to do their jobs.  This finding shows that the move to Aberdeen Proving Ground is in the best interest of the war fighter and intelligence worker as we continue to fight the global war on terror," said Congressman C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger, Chairman of the Technical and Tactical Intelligence Subcommittee.

"This report again confirms the BRAC Commission's sound logic for this move and the Army's commitment to Aberdeen Proving Ground and Maryland," said Congressman John Sarbanes. "We continue to work diligently at the federal, state, and local levels to help the Army complete this transition, with a focus on maintaining the environmental integrity and quality of life of Maryland's communities."

The 2005 BRAC recommendations will bring thousands of new employees to the state.  This includes 10,000 new jobs that will never leave the country, in addition to 85,000 existing jobs on bases and up to 40,000 non-direct jobs.