The Cumberland York Area Local Defense Group began its work last week by stressing the economic importance of Carlisle Barracks.
The group was formed to counter any possible Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) program activity. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel proposed another round of BRACs for 2015. However, Congress has been reluctant to authorize it. The last round of BRACs occurred in 2005 and Carlisle Barracks was on an initial list before being removed.
Maj. Gen. Tony Cucolo gave a presentation to the group regarding the economic impact, military value and future of the U.S. Army War College and Carlisle Barracks, Cumberland Area Economic Development Corp. said in a news release. Statistics from his presentation included:
"The value that the USAWC and Carlisle Barracks add to the military is significant, including strategic leadership for the military, a direct impact on jobs, and services that it provides to over 103,000 military retirees and their family members," said Jonathan Bowser, CEO of CAEDC. "I think Maj. Gen. Cucolo said it best that the 'Carlisle Barracks is the most strategic 500 acres in the nation and they have done a great job for the military in educating and developing current and future generations of strategic leaders, thinkers, and advisers for the United States and globally.' That is powerful and irreplaceable."
Through the Cumberland County Industrial Development Authority and CAEDC, the local defense group received a $45,000 grant to lobby for these three military installations and defense-related stakeholders: the War College/Carlisle Barracks, Naval Support Activity in Hampden Township and Defense Logistics Agency Distribution Susquehanna in New Cumberland.
The Pennsylvania Military Community Protection Commission reached out to CAEDC in February to establish the local group, which is made up of federal, state, county, and local elected officials, in addition to community and business leaders.
Public meetings are planned, beginning this fall, the release said.
"The close proximity to Washington D.C. is also very important. Experiences that students, faculty, staff, and visitors have at Carlisle Barracks is one of the major reasons why Cumberland Valley was ranked #4 in top areas for veterans by livability.com," Bowser said.