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Congressman C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger

Representing the 2nd District of Maryland

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Testimony to the 2005 BRAC Commission

Jul 8, 2005
Speech

Thank you. Good morning Mr. Chairman and Members of the Commission. It is truly an honor to appear before you today, literally in my backyard and representing my constituents in the Maryland 2nd Congressional district.

Our nation and the President have charged you with a critical mission this BRAC round and we certainly recognize the monumental challenge that has been placed in your care. In the words of General Douglas MacArthur in 1931, "We must hold our minds alert and receptive to the application ofCongressman Ruppersberger, Senator Mikulski and Governor Ehrlich at the BRAC Commission Hearings unglimpsed methods and weapons. The next war will be won in the future, not in the past. We must go on, or we will go under." Maryland stands ready to support the Commission and the military in preparing for our future war fighter capabilities.

I proudly represent three critical assets that will be greatly impacted by this BRAC Commission's recommendations: The Maryland Air National Guard C-130J wing assigned to Martin State Airport, Ft. Meade, and Aberdeen Proving Ground.

Major General Tuxill will be speaking specifically about the C-130J wing and I would just like to take a moment to give my full support to his comments. I would like to add my concern about moving this asset given its role in the National Capital Region protection. Should the wing move, the next closest asset with the legal authority to respond in civil matters would be in Ohio, 210 miles away. The unique state to state agreements that exist in the NCR today must be taken into consideration when you make your recommendations.

Regarding Ft. Meade, my role on the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence and as the first Congressman to directly represent NSA in the House of Representatives, I see every day what our troops on the ground go through and what our intelligence officers face. I believe we need to unify our capabilities to make sure all elements can effectively communicate in real time, sharing research and technology, and testing equipment and capabilities as quickly as possible to get them in the field.

In order to win the war on terrorism and protect our homeland, our military and intelligence officers must come first in all that we do. Ft. Meade is picking up capabilities that are essential to the war fighter. Sound intelligence is the key to any defense system and I am pleased to see that the adjudication of military clearance services will be brought to Ft. Meade. This BRAC Commission recommendation is a critical step in reforming our current clearance process ensuring that we get the people we need in the field as quickly as possible to protect our nation.

Finally, I would like to talk about Aberdeen Proving Ground. APG has always been and remains the premier research, test, development, and evaluation center in the United States. New missions will provide the best equipment for our war fighters while adding a more comprehensive chemical - biological - research facility. In a unique partnership, APG and Ft. Dedrick will work together to identify and defend against foreign biological and chemical threats. This is critical to our front line troops abroad and our first responders here at home.

APG already supports an array of joint missions and capabilities, and this is one of the reasons it rates so high in military value. The establishment of a Life Cycle Management Command for C4ISR fits perfectly with what already happens at APG.

APG is already home to the Research, Development, Engineering Command headquarters, which is responsible for the Army Research Laboratory and the Communications Electronics RDE Center. The Developmental Testing Command is located at APG, and its headquarters, the Army Test and Evaluation Command, is recommended for relocation to APG. This offers us a high payoff opportunity to further the transformation of DoD by aligning the infrastructure to provide seamless, joint RDT&E capabilities in communications / electronics for the Department of Defense. The alignment is completed when the acquisition and sustainment activities are brought together under the LCMC, as proposed.

The Future Combat System (FCS) is a next generation fighting system and depends heavily on net-centric C4ISR. The Lead System Integrator, Boeing, the Army's PM, and the entire FCS community have committed the technical base to APG with the investment of $20M to build an East Coast Network Centric Systems Node there. The node will enable any combination of the FCS systems to be networked operationally while simultaneously being stressed electronically and mechanically. Co-location of C4ISR functions at APG creates a package capability of land systems automotive performance integrated with its supporting C4ISR tools. This is the kind of transformation objective Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld is trying to achieve in this round of BRAC.

I want to be clear. I am not simply advocating a position because it benefits my state or district. BRAC always involves gains and losses, but the goal here is to do what is best for the nation. As General MacArthur said, as leaders we must make decisions that will prepare our nation to win the wars of the future. That means we need to be more resourceful in our military industrial decision making and I believe this DoD recommendation is the right decision. Combining the component mission that will be new to APG with the systems mission already in place will be more cost effective and more efficient.

As you will hear throughout our presentation, Maryland stands at the ready not just with testimony but with a proven track record. Make no mistake. We are ready to assist the military and their new mission. We stand ready to support our troops regardless of the threat.

Thank you.

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