Monday, December 14, 2009

Look Who's Coming To Ft. Meade

The Annapolis Capital put out a package of stories (overview here, real estate here and schools impact here) on the coming boom at Fort Meade as the base realignment and closure process -- BRAC -- gets underway in earnest next year. The workforce there is projected to grow by 22,000 jobs.

Here's where the people are coming from:

The Defense Information Systems Agency accounts for the largest share of the BRAC jobs with more than 4,200 jobs now in Northern Virginia bound for Fort Meade. Most of them are information technology and communications specialists.

DISA manages the military's computer networks, telecommunication systems and Internet services, making it the civilian equivalent of AT&T Co., Google and America Online.

"With the addition of DISA and NSA in one place, I believe we become the world epicenter for information security technology," Leib said. [That's Bob Leib, special assistant to the Anne Arundel county executive for BRAC.]

When complete, the campus will include 1.1 million square feet of office space built by Colorado-based Hensel Phelps Construction Co. for $442 million. Construction should be finished by September 2010.

Two other organizations, the Defense Media Activity and the Colocation/Adjudication Services, account for the rest of the BRAC jobs.

The DMA is the military's internal communication service. It has thousands of employees all over the globe but only about 663 of them will be relocated to Fort Meade, its new headquarters. Most will come from offices in Northern Virginia while the rest will come from San Antonio.

It's involved in Web, broadcast and print media. For example, it produces Stars and Stripes, a newspaper for service members. It runs a cable channel for soldiers abroad and it coordinates broadcasts of major events, like NFL playoff games, so soldiers in military installations overseas can watch their favorite team.

DMA's offices broke ground in early April and will take about two years and $80 million to complete. The facility will include studios, editing suites and administrative space.

The DMA doesn't expect its staff to move en masse to homes near Fort Meade; many of them already live in Maryland or Northern Virginia, making for a doable commute, said Col. Mike Galloucis, chief of staff for the organization.

He said he expects most of the workforce to decide to keep their job when it moves.

"I think that the only people in this area who will not work at Fort Meade are those individuals who are coming up on retirement eligibility," Col. Galloucis said.

Even civilians working in San Antonio are open to the idea of moving to Maryland and many have planned scouting trips up here, he said.

Adjudication Services is responsible for processing security clearances for military employees. Its 760 workers are the force behind the background checks, polygraphs and other safeguards that try to filter out applicants with shady backgrounds.

It used to be several different organizations with the same mission, but they were all working for different parts of the Department of Defense. Now they are all under one roof and one flag.

Except for a small contingent of workers in Ohio, most are from Northern Virginia. Because it's so close, the move to Fort Meade isn't that big of a deal, said Patricia Stokes, director of security for the organization. "Most of the community that is moving from here is already local. It's anti-climatic," she said.

Construction of Adjudication Services' 152,000-square-foot building began in March and is on track for a 2010 completion.

No comments: