LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR MURRAY TOURS THE MASSACHUSETTS MILITARY RESERVATION; CONVENES MEETING OF NEW TASK FORCE TO UNIFY SUPPORT FOR MILITARY JOBS AND INVESTMENTS
BUZZARDS BAY – Monday, April 9, 2012 – Lieutenant Governor Timothy Murray today toured the Massachusetts Military Reservation (MMR) as part of his tour of military bases across the Commonwealth to build grassroots support to protect the missions, jobs and economic investments associated with the bases. Lieutenant Governor Murray was joined on the tour by local, state and federal officials as well as leadership from the Massachusetts National Guard, Otis Air National Guard, Camp Edwards, United States Coast Guard and the 6th Space Warning Squadron PavePAWS.
Following the tour, Lieutenant Governor Murray chaired a meeting of the Military Asset and Security Strategy Task Force, which included a roundtable discussion at Camp Edwards.
“Through proactive planning, Massachusetts has and will continue to position the state to protect our military bases,” said Lieutenant Governor Murray. “By touring the bases, including the Massachusetts Military Reservation, the Task Force is able to gather more information on each base to help promote the work of the missions and operations that protect our Commonwealth and national security. Our Administration will work tirelessly with our congressional delegation and partners across the state to keep the Massachusetts Military Reservation and all of Massachusetts' military bases open and their missions intact.”
Today’s visit is the fourth of at least six visits to the state’s military bases. In addition to the MMR, Lieutenant Governor Murray has toured Barnes Air National Guard Base in Westfield, Hanscom Air Force Base, and Westover Air Reserve Base in Chicopee and plans to also tour Natick Soldier Systems Center in Natick in April and Fort Devens in May.
“Being on the ground at our bases will help the Governor, Lieutenant Governor and our congressional delegation make the case for why Massachusetts can and must continue to lead in our national defense strategy and industry," said U.S. Senator John Kerry. “We've got a good story to tell and we're going to tell it, because technologies and equipment conceptualized, researched, developed and manufactured at facilities across Massachusetts help the military execute its mission at the highest levels.”
“For over a century, the Massachusetts Military Reservation has played a defining role in the defense of our Commonwealth," said U.S. Senator Scott Brown. “Today, it continues that tradition of excellence by meeting our nation’s most challenging security needs. It’s an irreplaceable installation whose joint mission represents a model for the future of inter-service cooperation and integration. But even more importantly, the Soldiers, Airmen and Coast Guardsmen assigned there make major sacrifices in both overseas operations and the security of our homeland on a daily basis. I will continue to work to ensure the MMR has the tools necessary to do what it’s done for over a century: deliver and project an enormous defense capability.”
“The Massachusetts Military Reservation and the people who work there are not only important to our community and local economy, but also to our homeland security," said U.S. Congressman Bill Keating. “The jobs that I have been fighting to save at Otis are a critical component of our national defense, and I am encouraged that Lieutenant Governor Murray is touring the Reservation on Monday. The Patrick-Murray Administration have been great partners in promoting the importance of this facility and in working to preserve these jobs.”
On February 27, 2012, Lieutenant Governor Murray signed an executive order establishing the Commonwealth’s Military Asset and Security Strategy Task Force. The Task Force, which is chaired by Lieutenant Governor Murray, engages state agencies to work directly with stakeholders to develop and implement actions that will support military bases across the Commonwealth. Today’s visit to MMR is just one example of the work the Task Force is leading.
The executive order builds on the work Lieutenant Governor Murray has led over the last year, including a series of strategy meetings with Administration cabinet secretaries and private sector groups such as the Massachusetts Defense Technology Initiative to gather current data and perspectives about each military base so Massachusetts can better position, promote and protect assets for each base. The Task Force will work towards completing a comprehensive strategic plan in the coming months.
“It is important that we expand the mission and operations of our military bases to keep them open and to help create jobs,” said Senate President Therese Murray. “Our bases are essential to the state’s regional economies and to our military families. In 2006, we invested in homeland security and other high-tech training at the Massachusetts Military Reservation on the Cape. And with the Administration’s new Task Force, we will help improve military programs and facilities across the Commonwealth.”
In addition to engaging local and regional support to help promote and protect the state’s military bases, the Task Force will develop, coordinate and implement actions in the areas of workforce training, infrastructure improvements, environmental and utility savings, housing and transportation to support the missions at military bases across the Commonwealth. Additionally, the Task Force will identify steps the state can take to remedy problem areas before preliminary recommendations from the federal government are adopted and missions are implemented. Lieutenant Governor Murray and members of the Task Force will advise the Governor, as well as other executive and legislative officials, regarding the ongoing efforts by the U.S. Department of Defense to close, realign, restructure, streamline, or in any way impact military bases in Massachusetts.
“Our military bases are part of the fabric of the Commonwealth and we’re looking for new ways to maintain and enhance these facilities with investments in areas such as energy efficiency or clean energy, which create local jobs and upgrade existing infrastructure,” said Secretary of Energy and Environmental Affairs Richard K. Sullivan Jr.
In January, the U.S. Department of Defense announced a plan to reduce federal defense spending by approximately $500 billion over the next decade as a result of federal deficit reduction negotiations. The Department of Defense explained that cuts would be achieved in part by reducing total force numbers and relying on technological advances to build a more streamlined military. The Pentagon also requested that Congress authorize a Base Realignment and Closure Commission (BRAC) to recommend the closure or consolidation of select military bases across the country.
“I commend Lieutenant Governor Murray for taking the initiative to bring together business, education, government and the community to support the important relationship that Massachusetts has with the defense industry – particularly here near the Massachusetts Military Reservation,” said Jack Wilson, chairman of the Defense Technology Initiative. “Massachusetts is home to a large number of jobs that directly and indirectly relate to the defense industry and forging this partnership on the community level is critical to this region, the Commonwealth, and the nation’s economic and military security.”
“The Cape Cod Chamber welcomes the Lieutenant Governor’s leadership on the issue of retaining a vigorous defense industry in Massachusetts and on Cape Cod,” said Wendy Northcross, CEO of the Cape Cod Chamber of Commerce. “We look forward to working with the Lieutenant Governor on a plan for the future of the Mass Military Reservation.”
“The Massachusetts Military Reservation is the largest and most diverse military installation in the commonwealth; supporting not only critical military and homeland defense missions but also home to many non-military federal and public entities," said Colonel Anthony E. Schiavi, 102nd Intelligence Wing commander. “With the support of the local community and by exposing Lieutenant Governor Murray's Military Asset and Security Strategy task force to the MMR's yet untapped potential for growth, we can ensure the security of this vital installation for our national defense, support to the commonwealth and the economic security of the local community.”
“I thank Lieutenant Governor Murray for his leadership and vision to find new and innovative ways to strengthen the bond between our military organizations and our communities across the commonwealth," said Colonel Richard Crivello, Commander, HQs, ARNG Training Site. “Since 1935, Camp Edwards has played a significant role in the defense of the United States of America. In times of war and in times of peace, the men and women of the Massachusetts Army National Guard have successfully trained at Camp Edwards for missions to protect the citizens of the commonwealth here at home and overseas. Today, more than ever, the importance of Camp Edwards cannot be underestimated. Since September 11, 2001, we have fostered the training of Soldiers, Sailors, Marines, Airmen and Coast Guardsmen for deployment overseas to Kosovo, Iraq, Afghanistan and many other locations around the world. We must recognize the importance of training responsibly to protect the natural resources and the drinking water supply of the entire Upper Cape Region. I look forward to working with the Task Force to promote military readiness and increase the economic vitality of the commonwealth of Massachusetts.”
During today’s visit, Lieutenant Governor Murray also highlighted recent initiatives in support of the state’s veterans and defense industry. The Patrick-Murray Administration’s Fiscal Year 2013 budget proposal includes $11.25 million in increased funding for vital veterans' services, including workforce training. The defense industry and its workforce is also a major part of Massachusetts’ economy with thousands of employees working at the state's military bases and more than $14 billion in defense contracts awarded to Massachusetts firms in 2010.
Since 2007, Lieutenant Governor Murray has led the Governor’s Advisory Council on Veterans’ Services and today’s tour builds on the Administration’s commitment to the Massachusetts veterans’ community, our regional economies and the state’s defense industry. To learn more about the Patrick-Murray Administration’s commitment to Massachusetts veterans, visit: www.mass.gov/veterans. To learn about the work of the Military Asset and Security Strategy Task Force visit: http://www.mass.gov/governor/administration/ltgov/lgcommittee/military/.