Fort George G. Meade Garrison Commander Col. Brian Foley discussed the ongoing growth at Fort Meade, and the transportation challenges created by that growth, during a March 15 briefing before the Anne Arundel County Council.
“Growth continues on Fort Meade as anyone who has been there recently can see based on the number of large construction cranes,” Col. Foley said. “There is $2.3 billion worth of military construction going on at Fort Meade, with another $2.1 billion planned for appropriation over the next three to four years.”
The critical cybersecurity and intelligence missions conducted at the Fort are driving the growth. FGGM is home to seven of the top nine Department of Defense cyber operational headquarters, including U.S. Cyber Command, the National Security Agency and the Defense Information Systems Agency. When construction is complete in five to seven years, there will be 17,000 people working on NSA’s new cyber campus, located on what used to be FGGM golf course.
More than 53,000 people work at Fort Meade today. Col. Foley said the Garrison expects growth of more than 1,200 additional service members and civilians during the next five years. In addition, 3,000 to 6,000 NSA employees who are currently working in leased space around the region are expected to move onto post when East Campus construction is completed.
As growth continues, transportation and workforce mobility remain a top priority. Over the last three years, Col. Foley said the Army has provided every dollar of restoration and maintenance funding that the Garrison requested. In addition, the Garrison secured $35 million in military construction funds to begin widening the gates and the roads on Fort Meade to support the planned growth. Over the next five years, the Reece and Mapes Roads gates will be rebuilt and both roads will be widened from one lane in each direction to two. Col. Foley said that the Garrison will continue to advocate for the additional $35 million needed to complete these projects in fiscal year 2017 and beyond.
In addition to roads and infrastructure, Col. Foley stressed the importance of improved transit options in the region, highlighting the planned Maryland Transit Administration’s BaltimoreLink system. The plan would connect the Odenton and Savage MARC Train stations with Fort Meade and National Business Park, including a transfer point outside the Visitor Control Center at Fort Meade and a potential MTA bus route inside the installation.
“That will be huge for us and we want to continue the advocacy and partnership to try to obtain an actual bus route that goes on to the installation and does the loop around,” Col. Foley said.