Editor's note: The following is a press release.
State Senator Mike Rush (D-Suffolk & Norfolk) has been appointed by Senate President Therese Murray to serve as the Senate delegate on the Commonwealth’s newly established Military Asset and Security Strategy Task Force. The announcement comes after Lieutenant Governor Tim Murray signed an executive order on Monday establishing the Task Force, which will engage state agencies to develop and implement actions that support military bases across the Commonwealth. The Task Force to be chaired by the Lt. Governor, formalizes the informal working group he has led over the last year, and calls for a long term initiative to support all military installations in Massachusetts in order to both protect them and explore opportunities to bring in new missions.
The Task Force will engage with industry, nonprofit, municipal officials, elected officials, and community members surrounding each installation in order to enhance, expand, add or otherwise improve missions, programs, facilities, and operations on or affecting the military installations in the Commonwealth. These partners include but are not restricted to: chambers of commerce, business associations, education officials, workforce development officials, municipal officials, elected officials, and veteran and military family support agencies.
By partnering with all of these key partners the Task Force will:
- Develop, coordinate, and implement actions in the areas of workforce training, infrastructure improvements, environmental and utility savings, housing, and transportation to support the missions at military installations in the Commonwealth;
- Identify steps the Commonwealth can take to remedy problem areas before preliminary recommendations from the federal government are adopted and missions are implemented;
- Advise the Governor and Executive and Legislative Branch officials regarding the ongoing efforts by the U.S. Department of Defense to close, realign, restructure, streamline, or otherwise take actions that would impact military installations located within the Commonwealth.
“I want to thank Senate President Murray for appointing me to this new Task Force and I commend the Lieutenant Governor for his leadership on this issue,” said Rush. “I am eager to begin working with the other members to achieve our intended goals of protecting our military bases here in Massachusetts, which are vital to our military and economic security. This statewide initiative will support military jobs and investment as well as promote our bases across the state.”
Last month, the U.S. Department of Defense announced a plan to reduce federal defense spending by approximately $500 billion over the next decade as a result of federal deficit reduction negotiations. The Department of Defense explained that cuts would be achieved in part by reducing total force numbers and relying on technological advances to build a more streamlined military. The Pentagon also requested that Congress authorize a Base Realignment and Closure Commission (BRAC) to recommend the closure or consolidation of select military bases across the country.
The creation of the Task Force complements Lieutenant Governor Murray’s ongoing tour of the state’s military bases, which began with a visit to Barnes Air National Guard Base in Westfield on February 3. The tour will help unify support for Massachusetts military jobs and investments as the Lieutenant Governor receives overviews and tours of the bases with regional partners and federal, state and local officials. In addition to visiting Barnes, Lieutenant Governor Murray plans to visit Hanscom Air Force Base in Bedford and Westover Air Reserve Base in Chicopee in March and Natick Soldier Systems Center in Natick, Massachusetts Military Reservation / Otis Air National Guard Base on the Cape and Fort Devens in April.
Members include: The Secretary of the Executive Office of Public Safety and Security; the Adjutant General of the Massachusetts National Guard; the Commander of the Massachusetts Air National Guard; the Secretary of the Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development; the Secretary of the Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development; the Secretary of Energy and Environmental Affairs; the Secretary of the Executive Office of Education; the Secretary of Administration and Finance; the Secretary of the Department of Transportation; the Chief Executive Officer of the Massachusetts Port Authority; the Secretary of the Department of Veterans’ Services; the President and Chief Executive Officer of MassDevelopment; One (1) member from the Massachusetts State Senate, recommended by the Senate President; and One (1) member from the Massachusetts House of Representatives, recommended by the Speaker of the House.