March 18, 2014

Funding for Hanscom Air Force Base and Barnes Air National Guard Base will support economic growth for municipalities, aid national security efforts

BOSTON – Tuesday, March 18, 2014 – Governor Deval Patrick last week signed H. 3736, “An Act Encouraging the Improvement, Expansion and Development of Military Installations in the Commonwealth,” which authorizes funding for infrastructure projects in partnership with Massachusetts military installations and the Massachusetts National Guard. These projects are designed to expand public and private sector growth for the cities and towns surrounding each installation and enhance both the military installation’s value in support of national and domestic security goals

“Our military bases offer incredible assets, help fuel our economy and are an important contributor to our country’s national security,” said Governor Patrick, Co-Chair of the Military Asset and Security Strategy Task Force. “This authorization will send a clear message to the Pentagon that we are serious about promoting and protecting our defense communities and our one of a kind intellectual resources.”

The six military installations in Massachusetts include Barnes Air National Guard Base in Westfield; Fort Devens; Hanscom Air Force Base; Joint Base Cape Cod; Natick Soldier Systems Center; and Westover Air Reserve Base in Chicopee. These installations account for a total economic impact of $14.2 billion and more than 46,500 Massachusetts jobs. Additionally, these bases are hubs for partnerships with the Commonwealth’s defense sector. Massachusetts’ defense and homeland security federal contracts collectively generate more than 130,000 jobs in the Commonwealth. In 2011, Massachusetts received $13.9 billion in Department of Defense or Department of Homeland Security contracts, an 83 percent increase to the Commonwealth since 2003.

The bill immediately authorizes a total investment of $12 million outlined in the Fiscal Year (FY) 2014 Capital Investment Plan, and gives the Commonwealth options to fund up to $165 million more in future years to expand missions, create and retain jobs, and generate economic activity on or around Massachusetts military installations.

The $12 million for FY 2014 supports three projects enhancing the military mission and industry growth at Hanscom Air Force Base and Barnes Air National Guard Base, and allows for the expansion of veterans’ services in central Massachusetts:

“Hanscom Air Force base is committed to supporting our joint warfighters in the most innovative, effective, and efficient ways possible. We see our ongoing partnership and collaboration with the Commonwealth and with other regional assets as helping us do just that,” said Colonel Lester A. Weilacher, Commander of the 66th Air Base Group at Hanscom Air Force Base. “Our expectation is that the bond bill will further enable these partnerships and collaborative efforts.”

“The state’s military installations play a critical role in the overall health of the economy, contributing billions of dollars and thousands of jobs,” said Senate President Therese Murray. “It is important that we continue to work to protect the future of our bases and this legislation makes a strong commitment to supporting the advancement and sustainability of the military bases in the Commonwealth.”

“This legislation ensures that we have sustainable plans to improve military bases, an effort which should engender economic growth and give military personnel they opportunities they so rightly deserve,” said House Speaker Robert A. DeLeo. “I’m proud that Massachusetts leads the nation in supporting our military institutions and personnel. I thank the Patrick Administration, Senate President Murray, the Massachusetts Congressional Delegation and all who work to make this goal a reality.”

“I want to applaud the efforts of everyone who offered their guidance and assistance in this project, including Governor Patrick, members of the Military Asset and Security Strategy Task Force, and my colleagues in the House and Senate. Over the next five years this bond bill will enhance state and national security, bolster Massachusetts’ economy, protect local jobs, and strengthen the Commonwealth’s commitment to our Military Forces, service members and veterans,” said Representative Harold Naughton. “The men and women of the Armed Forces dedicate their lives to serve and protect Massachusetts and the nation. I am honored to have had the opportunity to help in providing them with the tools and support necessary to fulfill their service. Solidifying Massachusetts contribution to the national defense is yet another way we honor the sacrifice of our veterans, both those who have returned and those who will never return but in the hearts of those they loved.”

Any future investments will be made within the Patrick Administration’s debt affordability policy, which has allowed for an unprecedented level of capital investment in the Commonwealth while maintaining the highest bond rating in the state’s history.

The bill designates the Military Asset and Security Strategy Task Force to continue the long term effort to study potential projects that benefit the military and the Commonwealth. The Task Force coordinates the efforts of government, industry, and academia and seeks to address education, workforce training, infrastructure improvements, environmental/utility matters, veterans’ services, and housing and transportation issues related to the missions and people at Massachusetts’ military installations. The Task Force is co-chaired by Governor Patrick, Congresswoman Niki Tsongas and former Senator William “Mo” Cowan.

“This bond bill will enable the Commonwealth to invest in projects that would benefit both the military’s mission at Massachusetts’ six bases and the Commonwealth’s public sector, while also supporting the $14 billion economic impact the defense industry has in Massachusetts,” said Congresswoman Niki Tsongas “This investment sends a loud and clear message to the Pentagon that Massachusetts is an enthusiastic and willing partner to help them address our nation’s most pressing challenges. As the sole member of the Commonwealth’s congressional delegation to sit on the Armed Service Committee, and co-chair of the Massachusetts Military Asset and Security Strategy Task Force, I have made it a priority to highlight the extraordinary work being done at these installations and thank the Governor and our partners at the Statehouse for their support.”

“The important defense work that goes on at military installations across the Commonwealth is critical to our national security and to our state’s economy,” said Senator Elizabeth Warren. “I commend Governor Patrick’s Administration and the state legislature for making these significant investments, and I am committed to working with the Administration and the Military Asset and Security Strategy Task Force to support our military bases and ensure they have the resources they need.”

"The funding ensured by this bill will help maintain the long-term mission of Massachusetts’ military bases and fuel our economy by creating new jobs and investing in much needed infrastructure projects, which will benefit the communities surrounding bases across the state,” said U.S. Senator Edward J. Markey. “I applaud Governor Patrick for his leadership ensuring support for the vital missions performed by military units stationed within the Commonwealth.”

"I applaud the passage of the bond bill," said Congressman Bill Keating. "This bill will not only strengthen the Guard presence in Massachusetts, but will assist communities neighboring bases with such things like waste water management and new renewable energy initiatives. The National Guard in Massachusetts has been a leader in the development of these strategies while protecting our citizens from natural and manmade disasters alike."

The Task Force is currently conducting comprehensive energy assessments at the Commonwealth’s military bases in order to identify and develop energy solutions that lower base operating costs and enhance energy security. These efforts include studying complementary use ideas to create jobs and reduce base operating costs at Westover Air Reserve Base in Chicopee, funding a Town of Natick road infrastructure project to benefit the Natick Soldier Systems Center and private development, finalizing an ongoing land exchange to enable an important military construction effort at Hanscom, funding a one-of-a-kind acquisition management graduate program through the University of Massachusetts designed to support Hanscom personnel and many other efforts which leverage existing Congressional authorizations and Department of Defense guidance to partner with state government. This bond bill, and each of these initiatives, complements the Patrick Administration’s strong commitment to the more than 500,000 veterans and military families who live in Massachusetts.

Additionally, this bill:

"The Military Bond Bill provides the resources that will strengthen partnerships between local, state and federal governments, contribute to the Commonwealth's economic vitality, preserve our military heritage and enhance services for our honored veterans," said Major General L. Scott Rice, The Adjutant General, Massachusetts National Guard. "I thank the Military Task Force, MassDevelopment and all our key partners for their tireless efforts supporting this initiative."

“The Commonwealth’s military installations are a vital part of our economy, and MassDevelopment is pleased to partner with the Task Force and the six bases on economic development and expansion projects,” said MassDevelopment President and CEO Marty Jones. “I would like to thank Governor Patrick and the Legislature for their hard work and leadership on this bill.”

"As a Massachusetts based company, Rectrix Aviation recognized early on the leadership of Governor Patrick’s Administration, the FAA and the City of Westfield," said Rectrix Aviation President and CEO Richard Cawley. "This funding is critical to generate new economic growth and investment across the region. We are thrilled that the Barnes runway project was completed with such strong support that makes us not only proud to invest in Westfield Massachusetts, but other Massachusetts airports and infrastructure as well."

“Massachusetts is home to leading technology resources across government, industry and academia that directly contribute to our nation's strengths, particularly in securing our nation against cyber threats,” said Charlie Benway, Executive Director of the Advanced Cyber Security Center. “Governor Patrick’s leadership and the Commonwealth’s substantive commitment to Massachusetts military installations, especially the investment in Hanscom Air Force Base's CEIF, paves the way for public-private collaborations across multiple domains to leverage these resources and deliver a multiplier effect in securing our nation in cyber.”