One hundred years of continuous service to our military and our national security, “and we’re just getting started,” said one of Fort Meade’s new leaders.
“A majority of the projects underway here are focused on Fort Meade’s future operational status as a major platform for information, intelligence and cyberoperations — that fifth dimension of warfare,” said Lt. Col. Jay Birmingham, who serves as the new deputy garrison commander for transformation. “We are engaged in a comprehensive examination and synchronized plan to ensure that Fort Meade prepares for a significant role in the effective conduct of actions important to our national security.”
There are several projects that visibly show the ongoing transformation of Fort Meade. They include the construction work on the east campus, the work at the installation access points to increase throughput for vehicle traffic and upgrade security operations, and the work on the internal road infrastructure for ease of access to workplace buildings.
The plan is to ensure an integrated approach to these separate but related projects, said Birmingham.
“My job is to assist the garrison commander in all matters of managing and leading Fort Meade through this significant growth and modernization effort,” said Birmingham, who assumed his current position three months ago. “We have a road map, an integrated transformation plan that we diligently review with master planners from the garrison staff, the Army Corps of Engineers and our tenant organizations.
“During our in-process reviews, the next such summit is slated for … November,” he said. “We investigate infrastructure needs for space, buildings and roadways, and engage our environmental and energy subject-matter experts to maintain the sustainability of the plan.”
There are other aspects of transformation that are not as readily visible, but are just as important to ensuring Fort Meade is ready for the next 100 years of service to the nation. They include coordinating the availability of alternate transportation means, coordinating information flow regarding state of Maryland roadway improvement efforts that can impact access to the installation, and judicious use of excess space for current and projected operational requirements.
“We have projects and plans that take us out five years and beyond, so we will review and update our plan to make sure we’re focused and aligned,” Birmingham said. “One of the invisible parts of the plan [is the ongoing negotiations for the] enhanced use lease.
“In an effort to be efficient with our taxpayers’ monies, the Army, through the Corps of Engineers, is negotiating a final EUL agreement with The Trammell Crow Company. The agreement would separate the designated area from Fort Meade. In return for the land, Trammell Crow will compensate the Army for fair market value of the land,” said Birmingham.
The intent, he said, is to “establish a long-term lease for commercial development for services that could address some of the living needs of Fort Meade residents and workers. We will do that as part of our comprehensive plan for Fort Meade.”
Birmingham is one of two transformation leaders assigned to garrison operations. The other is at Fort Gordon, Ga.; both are centers for cybersecurity.
There is “acknowledgment of the current and maturing technology leading into the mission significance of the fifth domain of human conflict — cyberwarfare operations,” he said.
“Fort Meade is on the front line of that domain of conflict.”
Birmingham said that working with Fort Meade’s partners, both inside and outside the gates, is key.
“As we move forward in transforming Fort Meade, everyone’s input matters,” he said. “No one should underestimate what they have to offer; the little things matter. In seeking the best shared solutions, we’re committed to engaging our community partners, inside and outside the boundaries of the installation, in this ‘re-tooling’ of Fort Meade.”
Birmingham borrowed a quote from William Shakespeare to help keep his efforts focused — yet open — to others’ thoughts concerning his work: “We know what we are, but know not what we may be.”