Projected jobs created by BRAC have fallen short

Maryland celebrated the realignment of military bases that was supposed to bring an estimated 60,000 jobs to the state, but almost a decade later, Harford County has seen less than half of the anticipated 18,000 spin off jobs among defense contractors expected there.
James Richardson is the county's economic development director.
"There was an election in 2008 and that changed the Department of Defense.  It added a lot of uncertainty in the Defense Department and we see this downsizing and right-sizing of the Department of Defense continuing today," said Richardson.
Richardson says some of the work associated with grants and contracts also has actually been performed elsewhere around the country.
Still, he says the combined 16,000 jobs on and off post have made a difference.
"The bottom line is BRAC was a positive impact to Maryland, the region and Harford County," he said. "Our gross disposable income went up 16.2 percent in Harford County from 2006 to 2013 as opposed to the state, which also went up nicely, but it was only 12.2 percent."
Better paying jobs have also seen the county's income tax revenues jump by almost $30 million, a 20 percent increase, over that same period.
Richardson says the next challenge will come from a shrinking military as the Army plans to reduce its force from more than 700,000 to 500,000 as the wars come to an end. 
"They have included both Fort Meade and Aberdeen Proving Ground in that discussion of reducing the number of employees at both posts, and therefore, on August 4, we're going to have a town hall meeting or call to action meeting to address some of the issues that were raised in an environmental assessment about these cuts to Aberdeen Proving Ground."
As part of the Army's right-sizing, there could even be another base realignment in the coming years, but because of the huge investment in Maryland's bases, few believe they would shift those operations elsewhere.
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