BRAC to the future

TU assesses economic, education impacts as thousands of new jobs move to Maryland   

TOWSON, Md. (July 13, 2006)—More than any other state, Maryland stands to benefit from the federal Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) process. And TU is helping state leaders to understand—and plan for—the changes to come.

BRAC, announced by the U.S. Department of Defense in 2005, involves repositioning thousands of overseas troops as well as stateside base closings or adjustments. The department expects to realize about $5 billion in annual savings through BRAC and BRAC-related global defense posture moves.

And while many states are losing military bases and personnel—and experiencing substantial job and revenue losses—Maryland will gain tens of thousands of new new jobs at Aberdeen Proving Ground, Fort George Meade, Bethesda Naval Medical Center and Andrews Air Force Base.

The challenges of preparing for such a windfall prompted the Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development to turn to TU for study and analysis. Dyan Brasington, director of economic and workforce development in TU’s Division of Economic and Community Outreach, says state officials asked the university for help with two of four major BRAC-related tasks.

One involved assessing the number of jobs, types of jobs, wages and tax revenues to be generated by BRAC as well as the state’s ability to accommodate increasing demand for higher education; the other focused on developing a plan to address the federal government’s growing need for workers with security clearances.

Brasington and colleague Daraius Irani, RESI’s director of applied economics, found that BRAC would bring the state more than 45,000 jobs with average wages of nearly $65,000. The average household income of the nearly 28,000 households likely to move to Maryland exceeds $100,000. They reported that these new households, many in Baltimore City and Baltimore, Cecil, Harford and Anne Arundel counties, will generate annual income and property tax revenues approaching $500 million.

Brasington points out that the state’s public universities can play a very useful role in providing pre-screened graduates for base-related jobs. “We expect the demand for these kinds of workers will be enormous,” she says. To alleviate that demand, she says the state could create "a pipeline of highly skilled candidates who already have some measure of security clearance achieved.

“BRAC is going to have a tremendous impact on Maryland,” she adds, “in many other ways beyond the economy.

“Our state is very fortunate, but we have to be ready for these new jobs and the opportunities and demands they will create for our citizenry and for our state and local governments.”


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