While the military undergoes the final six months of its comprehensive Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) plan, the Aberdeen Proving Ground in Maryland has grown significantly to become a greater hub of research and development.

The base has grown by more than 6,500 new workers, with more than $1 billion in new construction projects to accommodate the added workers. More importantly, Aberdeen Proving Ground has benefited from consolidating disparate and geographically separated organizations that supported the base’s research and development for the Army.

“Aberdeen Proving Ground has been, but will be to a greater extent, one of the Army’s major hubs of research and development of new technologies, and the testing and evaluation of those new technologies that lead to fielding new systems to support the warfighter,” said Army Col. Andrew Nelson, deputy garrison commander for transformation.

The biggest new arrival at the base is the Army’s Command, Control, Communications, Computers, Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance operation (Team C4ISR). The team serves the Army’s maneuver control, fire support, air defense, intelligence, combat service support, tactical radios, satellite communications and the Warfighter Information Network. So far, about 60 percent of the C4ISR’s 7,200 employees have moved from Fort Monmouth, N.J., which is closing under BRAC.

The next largest groups moving to Aberdeen are 600 members of the Army Test and Evaluation Command headquarters and Army Evaluation Center, which were both located in Alexandria, Va. BRAC is also consolidating numerous other organizations at Aberdeen, including the Joint Program Executive Office for Chemical and Biological Defense from Falls Church, Va.; Air Force Non-Medical Chemical-Biological Defense Development and Acquisition, from Brooks City Base, Texas; the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research from Forest Glen, Md., the Army Research Institute from Fort Knox, Ky., and the Army Research Laboratory’s Vehicle Technology Directorate from Langley, Va., and Glenn, Ohio.

The BRAC initiative has also brought numerous defense contractors to a new 416-acre complex just outside the gate at Aberdeen Proving Ground. Overall, BRAC is expected to bring 30,000 new jobs to Maryland, including jobs with defense contractors, jobs supporting installations and jobs generated in the communities surrounding the bases. The state is also expected to gain approximately 28,000 households.

The BRAC plan began November, 2005 and involves the closure, consolidation and realignment of more than 800 military bases and relocation of 123,000 military members and civilian employees. BRAC is set to be completed by September 15, 2011.

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Chandler Harris is a freelance business and technology writer located in Silicon Valley. He has written for numerous publications including Entrepreneur, InformationWeek, San Jose Magazine, Government Technology, Public CIO, AllBusiness.com, U.S. Banker, Digital Communities Magazine, Converge Magazine, Surfer's Journal, Adventure Sports Magazine, ClearanceJobs.com, and the San Jose Business Journal. Chandler is also engaged in helping companies further their content marketing needs through content strategy, optimization and creation, as well as blogging and social media platforms. When he's not writing, Chandler enjoys his beach haunt of Santa Cruz where he rides roller coasters with his son, surfs and bikes across mountain ranges.