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Walter Reed Army Medical Center

Background

The Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, Bethesda (WRNMMC-Bethesda), formerly the National Naval Medical Center, is the premier Department of Defense (DoD) medical center offering intensive and complex specialty and sub-specialty medical services for the most seriously injured personnel from all military services. WRNMMC-Bethesda is located on the 243-acre Naval Support Activity Bethesda campus with the National Institutes of Health (NIH) located across the street.

Pursuant to the 2005 Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) Commission report, all tertiary medical services from the Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, DC have relocated to the new WRNMMC in Bethesda. This relocation of patients and personnel has resulted in 2,500 additional staff (a 33 percent increase) to the Bethesda campus and a doubling of visitors to one million per year.

Community Response

The area of Bethesda impacted by BRAC is a densely populated and highly-urbanized community inside the Capital Beltway with established residential neighborhoods and a thriving commercial district. The relocation of patients and personnel has increased traffic on already congested roadways.

Montgomery County and the State of Maryland have worked closely with community members to identify and prioritize necessary transportation improvements to assist DoD in meeting its mission of exemplary medical care while maintaining the quality of life for Maryland residents. Four key intersections along MD 355 adjacent to the Medical Center, an underground passageway, and deep elevators to connect the Medical Center metro station to the campus (known as the MD355 multi-modal crossing project) are the top priorities.

Created in 2007 by County Executive Order, the BRAC Implementation Committee -comprising local, state, and federal agency representatives, elected officials, installation liaisons, and community representatives- has identified short, intermediate, and long-term mitigation measures to assist with transportation issues resulting from BRAC growth. These measures include increased access to the Medical Center Metro rail and bus systems, additional turn lanes, traffic signalization, widening installation roads, bicycle and pedestrian improvements, and development of a Transportation Management Plan.

The County, State, and Federal governments have contributed millions of dollars toward intersection and bicycle/pedestrian improvements, several of which are completed or are currently under construction. Montgomery County and the State of Maryland have programmed approximately $50 million for bicycle, pedestrian, and intersection improvements, and congressionally directed funding has added $9.4 million for intersection improvements. Additionally, the DoD has committed over $28 million in Defense Access Road funds for the MD355 multi-modal crossing project.

In addition to transportation issues, temporary housing for families visiting patients or for recovering wounded warriors receiving long-term outpatient care at the hospital may be a future challenge. While BRAC expansion includes the construction of additional enlisted quarters and several new Fisher Houses (homes to accommodate family lodging near military hospitals), it is unclear if additional off-campus facilities will be necessary and what role the county might play in this regard. The county continues to monitor on-campus construction and housing needs and is considering ways to assist DoD in identifying convenient and affordable housing for DoD personnel and patient families.

To view the community’s 2009 Mission Growth Profile, click here.

In the News

  • With or without BRAC, DoD’s footprint is shrinking

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  • Looming Army cuts fill Texas leaders with dread

    April 4, 2015 – San Antonio Express-News, By Sig Christenson Automatic federal spending cuts over the last three years have hurt several Texas cities with large military installations — part of the budget sequester that will reduce the size of the Army by 80,000...

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  • IMCOM leaders set sights on 2025

    April 2, 2015 – Hawai’i Army Weekly (Army News Service) SAN ANTONIO — U.S. Army Installation Management Command top leaders held a conference, here, for garrison commanders and command sergeants major to set a collective course for IMCOM 2025 and Beyond.

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  • Budgets Signal Sequester Cuts Here to Stay

    March 30, 2015 – Defense News, By John T. Bennett WASHINGTON — What to do about sequestration is one issue House and Senate negotiators can skip as they craft a compromise 2016 federal budget blueprint. That’s because spending resolutions approved last week by the House and Senate both leave the...

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