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[April 19, 2014]
Commander: Fort Meade has to compete for resources ; Cyber Command to add 1,000 more jobs [Maryland Gazette (MD)]
(Maryland Gazette (MD) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) Fort George G. Meade must market itself to the Army to get roads fixed and expand cybersecurity assets, the garrison commander at the west county post said.
Col. Brian Foley told about 100 business, education and community leaders Thursday that the U.S. Cyber Command will add 1,000 jobs over the next two years.
So even though the Pentagon is shifting some of its "cyber eggs" to Fort Gordon's "basket" in Georgia, Foley said he will make sure the Army doesn't forget its "inherent responsibility" to provide resources for the continuing growth at Fort Meade.
"If you have used the Internet to gain information ... you have benefits of a cyber domain that is being defended 24 hours a day, seven days a week by the people that live and work right here," Foley said during the annual State of Fort Meade address.
Thursday's event at Club Meade was sponsored by the Fort Meade Alliance, a group of businesses and other organizations that work with the military at the post.
Kip Kunsman, director of Anne Arundel Community College's CyberCenter, said the amount of growth driven by the Cyber Command, National Security Agency and related agencies is "encouraging." "It's great to be a partner with the many agencies on the post," Kunsman said. "We would love to do more." Most of the more than 49,000 people at Fort Meade work for Department of Defense agencies. Only 13,000 are active duty service members, 3,800 of them in the Army.
There are 14 major construction projects underway at the base, Foley said, including a series of projects for Cyber Command headquarters and the NSA. The massive NSA data center has just begun to "go vertical," he said.
As garrison commander, Foley oversees the military campus and the staff that runs it. A team from the Department of Defense will arrive in June to assess the installation's needs.
"So it's not just us saying, 'Hey, we think the roads on Fort Meade stink,'" Foley said. "There will be external validation of that from higher headquarters." Foley said the state of Maryland has grasped the strategic importance of Fort Meade and the need to improve surrounding roads. Maryland Transportation Secretary James Smith has seen first-hand the traffic problems around the post.
"We need to partner ... in an era of constrained fiscal resources," he said. "Fort Meade is anything but a federal island in the middle of the state. Fort Meade is an integral part of the state of Maryland's economy and community." Work on two primary intersections on Route 175, Mapes Road and Reece Road is set to begin this summer.
Congress must approve any military construction funding to widen or modernize roads on base; Foley said there is "wonderful momentum in the state to get external transportation around the installation fixed." To reduce traffic for now, Foley said he plans to open a bike and pedestrian access gate at the southeast corner of the installation near Route 32.
"The complexity, the strategic importance of what goes on here simply cannot be overstated," Foley said.
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