The Cumberland York Area Local Defense Group (CYALDG) Friday released results of its Strategic Positioning Plan for Midstate military facilities.
CYALDG contracted with Michael Baker International, in partnership with Dering Consulting Group, in 2015 to conduct a Strategic Positioning Plan for the area’s military installations, including the U.S. Army Garrison Carlisle Barracks (Carlisle Barracks), Naval Support Activity Mechanicsburg (NSA Mechanicsburg), and Defense Logistics Agency Distribution Susquehanna (DLA Susquehanna).
Michael Baker and Dering representatives conducted interviews, stakeholder meetings and surveys over the past year to develop the final plan. CYALDG officials said the purpose of the planning effort is to strengthen ties between the community and the installations to better support their functions and missions.
According to the study, the area’s installations contribute $1 billion in annual local economic impact and employ nearly 11,000 people who live on the installations or in area communities. The U.S. Army War College hosts 400 students every year and the U.S. Army Heritage & Education Center drew about 185,000 visitors last year, bringing in about $24 million for local hotels and restaurants.
This area’s location and accessibility is the most significant benefit to the Department of Defense for keeping these installations where they are located, CYALDG officials said in a news release.
The Cumberland York area is along the I-81 corridor between Hagerstown, Maryland, and Harrisburg, Pennsylvania — largely within the Cumberland Valley. The area is within close proximity to major cities on the eastern seaboard. I-81 intersects regionally with routes 70, 76 and 78, making the area an attractive location for warehousing and distribution facilities. The area is also known for small-town charm, access to big-city amenities and Pennsylvania’s rural landscapes.
Over 100 Department of Defense facilities, 14 Naval installations/facilities and four major ports can be accessed by overnight truck or train from the DLA Susquehanna and NSA Mechanicsburg locations. Carlisle Barracks is a 3-hour drive from senior leadership in Washington, D.C.
According to CYALDG officials, the Strategic Positioning Plan identified the need to build and sustain partnerships to ensure the longevity of our installations. The opportunity areas are broken up into the following sections:
Community Cooperation — strategies focused around: coordinating and promoting services that support military families and the civilian workforce; ensuring a coordinated voice supporting our installations; developing relationships between local elected officials and military leadership; and planning for the long-term with local officials, school districts, land-use studies and other key partners
Workforce Development & Education — strategies focused around: continuing to develop a civilian workforce that supports military needs; and supporting high-quality education in the region
Infrastructure, Utilities & Services — strategies focused around: working toward reducing roadway congestion and developing traffic solutions; supporting multimodal travel and shipping needs; working with NSA Mechanicsburg to determine whether local communities or others can support their efforts to focus on energy-related projects like renewable energy, solar panels, etc.; and continuing to coordinate security and disaster management between Carlisle Barracks and the surrounding community
CYALDG said it will establish subcommittees to focus on each of the opportunity areas to lead specific action items.
The Pennsylvania Military Community Enhancement Commission approached Cumberland Area Economic Development Corp. in 2014 to establish a CYALDG to coordinate, advocate, develop and implement recommendations to enhance the military value of the installations in the area.