By Maryland Senator Roy Dyson
Senator Joan Carter Conway, the chair of the Senate Education, Health and Environmental Affairs Committee of which I am vice-chair, announced this week the creation of a Base Realignment and Closure Subcommittee. I am very pleased to have been tapped to chair this very important committee.
We must be ever vigilant when it comes to the BRAC process. We are very fortunate in Southern Maryland to have the Patuxent River Naval Air Station and many other installations. This facility contributes nearly $3 billion to the local and state economy as well as thousands of jobs.
However, while we did very well in the last BRAC realignment, the process never goes away. At any time, the Pentagon can uproot any operation large or small at any military installations and move it. We have competition from all across the country.
The EHEA BRAC subcommittee shows that the State Senate is very concerned about our military installations in our state. It shows that we are united in protection of our bases.
I am also pleased to be a co-sponsor of Senate Bill 110 which was introduced by Governor OMalley. This piece of legislation will establish the Base Realignment and Closure Subcabinet which will be led by Lt. Governor Anthony Brown, a decorated war veteran.
It is imperative that we as a state as well as our local and federal elected officials and the Navy Alliance work as hard as possible to keep every element of Pax right where they are. The governor recognizes this as well.
In addition to the leadership of Lt. Governor Brown, the BRAC subcabinet will be made up of the Secretary of Budget and Management; the Secretary of Business and Economic Development; the Secretary of the Environment; the Secretary of Higher Education; the Secretary of Housing and Community Development; the Secretary of Labor Licensing and Regulation; the Secretary of Planning and the Secretary of Transportation.
The fact that more than half of the cabinet is being included on this subcabinet shows how far reaching BRAC is to our military bases throughout the state.
The subcabinets responsibilities include:
1) Coordinating and overseeing the implementation of all State action to support the missions of military installations in the state affected by the BRAC recommendations.
2) Coordinate and oversee the development of BRAC-related initiatives in the areas of workforce readiness grades K-12 and higher education, business development, community infrastructure and growth, environmental stewardship, workforce housing and transportation.
3) Provide a forum for discussion of interdepartmental issues and coordination relating to activities that support military installations in the state.
4) Collaborate with and review the recommendations of the Maryland Military Installation Council.
5) Work with local jurisdictions affected by the BRAC recommendations to achieve the requisite levels of planning, coordination and cooperation among the state and local governments.
6) Work with Marylands Congressional Delegation to attain federal funds to support the missions of military installations in the state.
7) Make policy and budget recommendations to the governor and General Assembly to strengthen the state.
8) Perform other duties assigned by the governor.
Senate Bill 110 also says that the chair may establish subcommittees to carry out the work of the subcabinet.