Fort George G. Meade, a 5,500-acre Army installation located in Anne Arundel County, Maryland, has become the country's epicenter of cyber security and information assurance operations serving the Department of Defense and Department of Homeland Security. Virtually equidistant to both the Baltimore and Washington metropolitan areas, Fort Meade is located in the heart of the nation's fourth largest marketplace and currently contributes more than $18 billion a year to Maryland's economy. The Fort Meade region includes eight counties and two cities in Maryland, respectively: Anne Arundel, Howard, Prince George’s, Baltimore, Carroll, Montgomery, Queen Anne's, and Talbot Counties and the cities of Laurel and Baltimore. The Fort Meade Regional Growth Management Committee, representing these jurisdictions and five defense organizations, has been working to identify and resolve issues associated with mission growth.
Since 2005, Fort Meade has gained 5,700 Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) positions and is now home to more than 56,800 personnel and 95 Department of Defense activities including the Defense Information Systems Agency, Defense Media Activity, and Defense Adjudication Agencies. Nine additional Department of Defense commands have moved to Fort Meade, including the establishment of Cyber Command in 2010.
Two-thirds of the Fort Meade intelligence mission is accomplished by defense contractors with 26 new defense contractors establishing a presence and another 51 expanding in and around the installation. The National Security Agency (NSA) also is expanding its operational complex with an additional 6,500 positions to meet the evolving needs of the intelligence community.
BRAC and the cyber industry have created many new jobs in the region and significant growth is projected to continue in the next 10 years. While this growth can be positive for economic health, it also presents significant transportation and workforce issues. The Fort Meade Regional Growth Management Committee - Transportation, composed of representatives from the installation, federal defense agencies, and state and local agencies, has developed short- and long-term transportation strategies. Several intersection improvement projects are moving forward while others must wait for sufficient funding. While an effective Transportation Demand Management program is already reducing the number of single occupancy vehicles traveling to the installation, traffic congestion remains a challenge.
Fort Meade's defense intelligence mission is creating an increased demand for a highly-trained workforce grounded in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM). With this challenge in mind, the Fort Meade Regional Growth Management Committee has assisted in creating a Regional STEM Advisory Board to support the urgent need to attract students to these technical professions. The Committee also has established the BRAC Business Initiative (BBI) to support the Fort Meade mission by providing a venue for the continued development, growth, and quality of the Fort Meade region’s contractor base and small business community.
To view the community's 2009 Mission Growth Profile, click here.