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When the 2005 Base Realignment and Closure process began, the Fort Meade Regional Growth Management Committee was formed to help oversee the growth and development of the areas outside the gate.

Now that the Defense Information Systems Agency, Defense Media Activity, and Defense and Military Department Adjudication Activities have completed their moves to the installation, RGMC's partnership with Fort Meade is beginning a new chapter.

"Even though BRAC is now officially completed, Fort Meade is going to continue to grow," said Kent D. Menser, chair of the RGMC's Workforce Development Committee. "The team is now focused on overall Fort Meade growth."

Through the new Mission Growth Initiative, the RGMC will serve as a liaison to solidify planning relations between Fort Meade and Anne Arundel, Baltimore, Carroll, Howard, Montgomery, Prince George's, Queen Anne's and Talbot counties, and the cities of Baltimore and Laurel.

The goal of the initiative, which began in May, is to provide support to the garrison and its partners.

"The Mission Growth Initiative is a joint plan between the Fort Meade Regional Growth Management Committee and the Fort Meade garrison," Menser said. "The objective is to work together in joint planning and share resources to support the Fort Meade mission."

Bernadette Baldeo, director of the installation's Plans, Analysis and Integration Office, said strong relationships with the outside community is crucial to the Fort Meade mission.

"It is absolutely key to our success," she said. "It will actually help avoid mission failure in some areas where resources are being cut back."

By 2014, the group hopes to have established a formal agenda of issues and opportunities with Fort Meade and its counterparts within the regional jurisdictions.

Menser said between 90 and 95 percent of the installation's employees reside off post. Part of the initiative is looking at the counties and cities where a majority of the workers from Fort Meade live. Through the initiative, overlapping or redundancy of services can be cut to save tax money.

"In the counties that they live in, those counties provide all kinds of human services," he said. "The installation also provides human services, so we want to make sure we aren't duplicating support so taxpayers aren't paying twice for the same service."

The initiative will focus on four main areas. One area is Families/Recruiting and Retention, with the goal of retaining highly qualified personnel at Fort Meade.

The initiaive also will focus on the defense contractor community to connect regional government, businesses and Fort Meade with resource-sharing opportunities.

Another area of focus will be ensuring that the installation's infrastructure planning, programs and systems are aligned with those of its partner jurisdictions outside the gate. The initiative also will focus on sustaining operations at Fort Meade in case of emergencies.

The initiative will be conducted in five phases: setup phase, staff assessment phase, partner agency phase, community phase and joint-action phase.

Menser expects the first two years to be the busiest.

"We believe it will be an intense first two years because the focus of the MGI is to establish sustainable connectivity between the Fort Meade staff and the staffs of the eight counties and two cities," he said.

Ultimately, Menser and Baldeo said, the Mission Growth Initiative will help create a better quality of life -- key to success in the missions of the community and the installation.

"It's about the community and Fort Meade partnering together to make the best use of taxpayer resources," Menser said. "It makes the taxpayers get the best bang for their buck."

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