Monday, March 19, 2007

Defense Department buys Harford County farmland to protect Army test area and Deer Creek

The Washington Post reports today that the Defense Department is

"...spending $1.4 million to protect 163.5 acres of farmland in northeastern Maryland from new-home construction, preserving a scenic habitat so that tanks and Humvees can keep roaring around the Army's off-road test course nearby."

According to the story:

"By using the farmland as a buffer zone, the Army will not have to worry about urban encroachment disrupting training and testing that has gone on at the Army's Churchville Test Area, a part of the Aberdeen Proving Ground, for 65 years.

The Army will celebrate the creation of the buffer zone at a ceremony Wednesday with its partners -- the Harford County government, the Harford Land Trust and the Hopkins family, which has raised crops, cattle and horses on its farm since 1955."

The story says the plan has environmental benefits as well:

"Army officials were concerned that if residential development took place, training would be restricted to a smaller area inside the Churchville site. Tad Davis, deputy assistant secretary of the Army for environment, safety and occupational health, said that could "cause us not to be able to do the testing that we need to do as close to the combat conditions as we would like to shake out those vehicles and weapons systems."

The conservation easement will protect Deer Creek, which separates the farm from the testing grounds and is part of a watershed that provides drinking water for nearby northeastern Maryland communities that are growing in population."

Friday, March 09, 2007

Looks like BRAC could bring good jobs for college graduates willing to move

The BRAC supplement that came in today's Aegis newspaper included a story that indicated BRAC could bring a lot of jobs for young people just out of college. In the story, Harford County's BRAC manager Karen Emery was quoted as saying:

"They're looking for college graduates with 3.0 or higher GPAs, where they would work in New Jersey for the first year or so until the mission moves to Maryland."

Aberdeen Proving Ground is expected to get 8,200 new positions as a result of BRAC. The majority of those jobs will be at the U.S. Army's Communications-Electronics Life Cycle Management Command in Fort Monmouth, N.J. Jobs at this command are expected to be available between 2009 and 2010. Officials say it's possible that a majority of those people currently holding those jobs will decide not to move to Maryland (60 percent are eligible to retire), leaving openings for electronics engineers, management and program analysts, inventory managers, security specialists, computer engineers and logistics managers.

The story says that workers who are willing to work at the location in Fort Monmouth for awhile could possibly get their salary raised to the $80,000 level by the time they move the unit down to APG. The story says the contact person for these jobs is Kristine Ryskamp at Fort Monmouth 732-532-8963 or Kristine.Ryskamp@us.army.mil.