Last Year's Accomplishments
July 1, 2019 – June 30, 2020A primary mission of the Army Alliance is to advocate for APG with state and federal elected officials. As one of our core responsibilities, the Alliance efforts have directly resulted in $300 million of federal funding for APG and regional programs supporting APG’s missions. Through interviews with regional and APG leadership, the Alliance identifies critical areas of need that it can impact. Our past efforts have addressed new facilities and test capabilities, maintaining or growing APG missions, and development of programs to provide for the next generation APG workforce. Many initiatives take several years to generate results and so our summary of our legislative efforts for 2019-2020 includes updates to efforts started in prior years.
Federal Legislative Initiatives
Army Facilities Sustainment Restoration and Modernization (FSRM) account received $4,130,840,000, which is over $500M more than the FY19 enacted level and provided funding for badly need demolition at APG. APG received all the funds requested in FY20 and the Army continues to commit to funding APG demolition until all at risk buildings are complete. Additionally, the FY20 National Defense Authorization Act included excellent report language supporting our efforts on Facilities Sustainment Restoration and Modernization as well as Energy Resiliency for Base Operation Support. The Alliance will continue to support these efforts in the future.
For the last two fiscal years, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) budget request has proposed the closure of Chemical Security and Analysis Center (CSAC) at APG. The Alliance lobbying effort was successful in ensuring that CSAC received funding in H.R. 1158, the FY20 Appropriations Bill that funded Homeland Security; this Bill appropriated $314,864,000 for Operations and Support and $422,411,000 for Research and Development for the Science and Technology Directorate, which funds CSAC.
In support of the U.S. Army Combat Capabilities Development Command, Chemical Biological Center’s initiative to become the DoD’s leader in biomanufacturing, the Army Alliance appropriation funding & report language request to support upgrades to existing biomanufacturing capabilities received a very positive response on the Hill and the Alliance is optimistic that we will be successful in obtaining funding in the FY21 Defense Appropriations Bill.
The Army Alliance actively engaged several Congressional committees and the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) to support increased efficiency and effectiveness of hiring the qualified workforce for APG and other military installations in Maryland. Our efforts directly resulted in the Administration’s shift to supporting expanded direct hiring authority (DHA) for DoD. This year we have learned that Congressman Anthony Brown (D-MD) is supporting the Alliance’s efforts to include a provision in the FY21 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) which would ensure continuation of certain DHA programs that are critical to supporting APG’s workforce requirements.
After a pause due to the COVID-19 crisis, the FY21 appropriations and NDAA processes have restarted in the House. Subcommittee markups for the House Appropriations Committee are likely in May and the NDAA is expected to pass the House by July 4. However, there is no momentum for either process in the Senate. We expect the NDAA to be passed and signed into law before the end of the year. Conversely, we have every expectation that the government will be operating under a short-term appropriations bill known as a Continuing Resolution from October 1st through sometime after the November 3rd elections.
State Legislative Update
The Army Alliance started the Annapolis session with modest hopes that the military retirement tax exemption could be increased but was facing an uphill climb with the pending recommendations from the Kirwan Commission for increased public education funding. Nevertheless, the Army Alliance continued to monitor legislation that could impact APG and the defense community such as a controversial measure that proposed application of state sales tax to the provision of services. Any private company in the defense industry that provided services would have been potentially impacted. More than 120 different witnesses testified at the bill hearing opposing the concept and a House of Delegates subcommittee that reviews tax changes rejected the sales tax bill on a unanimous, bipartisan vote in a late-night voting session. The Alliance will continue to monitor this development in coming sessions.
The Maryland General Assembly then abruptly closed the Session early on March 18th with only three days’ notice as a result of the Coronavirus pandemic, thereby impacting our ability to pursue any additional measures.
Despite our modest efforts in Annapolis this year, the Army Alliance will continue to pursue and support efforts to eliminate the taxation of military retirement pay. Maryland is currently at a competitive disadvantage with surrounding states, particularly Pennsylvania which is easy driving distance for APG employees. The result is both a loss of potential highly qualified workforce candidates, as well as the resulting significant loss of property, sales, and post-military wage tax revenue from the entire family. We also anticipate increased interest for the Army Alliance to pursue State legislative initiatives that would support future research and development efforts at APG.