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CAEDC begins plans to thwart 2017 BRAC

CARLISLE—The next round of realignments and consolidations of U.S. military bases is not until 2017, but local officials have already begun work to help ensure military facilities in Cumberland County do not wind up on the chopping block.

“I don’t think it’s a secret that the military wants to consolidate all of their war colleges into one,” Jonathan Bowser, CEO of the Cumberland Area Economic Development Corporation, said during a Wednesday Cumberland County commissioners finance meeting. “Right now each one of the branches has their own, and there’s a strong push to put that one war college either in Kansas or down in D.C.”

The U.S. Army War College and Carlisle Barracks combine to have a $165 million annual economic impact through payroll and contracts, according to a presentation given by Bowser.

He said helping to keep those locations intact was a top priority.

“One of the things we want to focus on early in our efforts is to position Cumberland County to be the location … if that ever does happen to consolidate all of the war colleges into one,” Bowser said.

CAEDC, through the Cumberland York Area Local Defense Group, has begun an outreach program with the focus areas of retention, enhancement and expansion of military bases, as well as building community and military partnerships.

“It’s just all about awareness and getting the message out and making sure we’re staying active in the community,” Bowser said.

The group will undertake community outreach efforts during the next two years like a military appreciation night at the Harrisburg Senators on June 13 and sponsoring the eighth annual Membership Dinner at the U.S. Army Heritage and Education Center on Nov. 7.

An analysis of the county and its military installations will also be conducted. The analysis will look at the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats for the county and is meant to highlight the desirability of Cumberland County for the military.

The full report will be made available to the public in spring 2016.

Cumberland County is host to Naval Support Activity in Hampden Township, the U.S. Army War College and Carlisle Barracks in Carlisle, and Susquehanna Defense Logistics Agency in New Cumberland.

This article was posted on Cumberlink.com on May, 20, 2015.

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