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Local defense lobbying group solicits consulting proposals for BRAC fight

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While talk of a new BRAC round heats up in Washington, D.C., the Cumberland York Area Local Defense Group is hiring a consultant to prepare a study in defense of local military bases.

The defense group formed a year ago, composed of local officials, to counter any possible base realignment and closure program activity targeting York and Cumberland counties.

The group seeks a consultant to conduct a SWOT analysis, a comprehensive joint land use study, and a "strategic positioning plan" to support its lobbying efforts. SWOT stands for "strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats."

The defense group is lobbying for three bases: the War College/Carlisle Barracks, Naval Support Activity in Hampden Township and Defense Logistics Agency Distribution Susquehanna in New Cumberland.

"The purpose of this plan is to preserve, expand, and provide the opportunity for additional workloads, roles, functions and missions of our military efforts in the Capital Region," the Cumberland Area Economic Development Corp. said in a news release.

The strategic positioning plan will address the following areas: retention of military bases, enhancement of military bases, expansion of military bases, and development or enhancement of military and community partnerships, added CAEDC, which formed the group.

According to the request for proposals, CAEDC is budgeting $100,000 for the study, with the consultant fee to be negotiated. A consultant will be selected in May, with a final report to be produced by February 2016.

Pentagon officials are pushing for a fresh BRAC round of installation closures, promising congressional leaders that it would save money this time.

According to the Military Times, officials estimate that the U.S. military infrastructure is at least 25 percent bigger than it needs to be, given the force's shrinking personnel levels. Trimming infrastructure by just 5 percent, they say, could save about $2 billion annually.

Outgoing Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel proposed another round of BRACs for 2015. However, Congress has been reluctant to authorize it.

Carlisle Barracks was on an initial 2005 list before being removed.

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