Last Year's Accomplishments
July 1, 2020 – June 30, 2021The Army Alliance continued its proactive federal legislative season on behalf of APG with continued focus on reduction of contaminated facilities and improvements to the Army’s Combat Capabilities Development Command (CCDC) Chemical Biological Center (CBC) bio-manufacturing facility and capabilities, along with new efforts to support two key community projects. Our efforts in Annapolis focused on supporting the Governor’s continued effort to decrease the amount of tax due on military retirement payments, as well as supporting the Maryland Defense Research Coalition (MDRC)’s initiative to change state legislation to permit the development and demonstration of new technologies for chemical destruction at APG. And while COVID brought its challenges, the need to meet virtually actually permitted increased engagement and discussion with a broader representation of the APG leadership regarding their challenges prior to the Army Alliance’s development and selection of our FY21-22 initiatives. Virtual meetings also permitted more focused time with congressional staffers to brief and strategize our requests. We hope that a hybrid meeting model will make it easier and more effective to schedule meetings and engage with all parties in the future.
There were some issues that were identified by numerous APG and community leadership that the Army Alliance will be tracking and determining how to engage in the future but did not make the initiatives list for this year. These issues include the Future of Work and its potential impact; increased collaboration across APG to support Joint Convergence, a program that cuts across many APG missions and capabilities and has resulted in a new Joint Systems Integration Lab (JSIL); effective hiring authorizations that permit hiring the best available candidates efficiently to continue to support critical mission requirements; and continued support to the Army’s modernization and RDT&E requirements. Increased Army budget pressures have already negatively impacted several APG support contractors and maintenance missions. Such budget concerns are expected to continue into next fiscal year and will be watched closely.
With support from its federal advocacy partner, The Livingston Group, based in Washington, D.C., the Alliance has submitted two specific funding requests for authorization and appropriation in support of APG. They are both continuation of efforts from last year.
We continue to advocate to ensure that APG receives the needed annual funding to continue demolition of the contaminated facilities at APG South, Edgewood Area. We appreciate the Army’s existing support as demolition of 12 buildings is already completed. It is imperative that these buildings are demo’d sooner than later before any contamination that could negatively impact surrounding missions and adversely affect the safety of APG personnel occurs. In addition to our programmatic request, we also requested specific report language to help ensure that this issue has the visibility it needs to continue.
We asked for increased funding above the President’s Budget for RDT&E, Army for the purpose of establishing a pilot-scale biochemical production and purification facility for the Army’s Combat Capability Development Command, Chemical Biological Center. Expansion of this facility would support tri-service defense labs seeking to develop advanced materials for incorporation into energetics, armor, optics, sensors, and other ultra-designed materials. The requested funding would provide for a fully functional pilot-scale synthetic biology fermentation plant, akin to micro-breweries that ‘mimic’ the industrial scale fermentation process by carrying out the industrial process on a smaller scale. This capability would be unique in the United States and could also support additional educational initiatives, as well as support collaboration with industry.
We are excited about the opportunity to champion and lead legislative support for two community projects. The House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee (T&I) announced in April that Member directed funding requests would be permitted in the Fiscal Year 22 Surface Transportation Reauthorization bill. With support from Harford County, The Livingston Group on behalf of the Army Alliance submitted a T&I request for funding to extend Woodley Rd. to MD 715 and improve access to the Perryman Peninsula. We thank Rep. Dutch Ruppersberger’s office for his support of this project and submitting it as one of his T&I Member directed requests.
We are working with Congressman Ruppersberger on a Community Project Funding (CPF) request for the Discovery Center at Water’s Edge. This was done through the RDT&E, Army account, as RDT&E is the only account in the defense appropriations bill that CPF submissions will be permitted. These CPF are a new Congressional directed funding opportunity – similar to earmarks – and we quickly collaborated with community partners to gather the required information and support. Due to its newness, we are already planning that we may continue to work this request again next year. As the Discovery Center is a key component of our regional STEM educational support strategy, the Army Alliance looks forward to working with the Discovery Center to make this project a success.
As previously mentioned, the Army Alliance worked with the Maryland Defense Research Coalition (MDRC) and our Annapolis advocacy partner, Bryson Popham, on legislation that would address certain state regulations that inhibit the Army at APG to develop and demonstrate critical new technologies for chemical destruction. While we were not successful this year, we learned some key lessons that we will implement throughout the rest of 2021 in preparation for Annapolis 2022. We believe that additional education of key legislators about this technology and the efforts of the U.S. Army DEVCOM Chemical Biological Center will be critical for our success next year. We are also looking for an opportunity to invite the Maryland Assembly Joint Committee on Cybersecurity, Information Technology, & Biotechnology to APG to increase the understanding of the Maryland legislators to the importance of the APG missions to our National Security. We are privileged that longtime friend of the Alliance, Senator J.B. Jennings is a member of this Committee.
We continued to support efforts to lower the tax burden to military retirees. Taxation of military retirement pay is a job recruitment and economic development issue as new DoD retirees, most of whom still have at least a decade of continued employment before actual retirement, determine where they will reside after leaving service. These individuals come with critically needed security clearances and unique skill sets that make them prime candidates for critical positions at APG and other Maryland installations. As a result, their contributions to the Maryland economy and tax payments outside of their military retirement significantly outweigh this legislation’s potential fiscal impact. Several bills were introduced on this issue including from the Governor’s Administration – all of which did not pass. We will continue to advocate for this matter in the coming years supporting a phased approach.