With the formation of the Military Asset and Security Strategy Task Force, Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick has spearheaded one of the nation’s most comprehensive efforts to support a state’s military installations and their host communities, advancing initiatives in workforce training, transportation, environment and energy, and housing.
Through a robust partnership with the military, the state’s congressional delegation and all levels of state government, the task force has worked to strengthen the commonwealth’s six bases by enhancing their missions and facilities, and exploring opportunities to bring in new missions.
A key component of the effort is $177 million the state is financing for infrastructure projects at military installations. The projects would improve installations’ military value and expand economic growth in the commonwealth’s defense communities. Patrick, who co-chairs the task force, signed the bond bill into law in March.
For establishing a nationwide model for how government officials at all levels can support military installations and their surrounding communities, ADC is awarding Patrick its Community or State Leadership Award.
The task force has recorded numerous achievements since Patrick created it in February 2012. The panel elicited support from local, state and federal agencies to resurface the runway and provide other upgrades at Barnes Air National Guard Base. State funding allowed the town of Natick to plan road construction outside of the Natick Soldier Systems Center, a project that also boosted local economic development. State investment allowed a cybersecurity and IT center at Hanscom Air Force Base to expand its work with the state, industry and academia.
The task force also calls on leaders of industry, academia, nonprofit groups and quasi-public agencies to fulfill its mission. In an effort that illustrates the breadth of resources the state can employ, the task force has been conducting comprehensive energy assessments at each installation to identify and develop energy solutions that lower base operating costs and enhance energy security.
The task force also helped launched a workforce development program to help state workers meet DoD’s requirements for cybersecurity missions. A pilot program with the University of Massachusetts-Lowell is enabling employees at Hanscom AFB to upgrade their skills in cloud computing and network security.
Award winners will be recognized at a special ceremony on Capitol Hill next month during the Defense Communities National Summit.