State Rep. Harry Readshaw, D-Allegheny, has been designated co-chairman of the Military Installations and Base Development Caucus.
The newly formed caucus is dedicated to preserving military installations in Pennsylvania in the event of future base closure considerations by the federal Base Realignment and Closure Commission.
At stake are the commonwealth's 11 military installations with 164,000 defense-related jobs and $18 billion dollars in annual defense spending.
The last report from the commission in 2005 resulted in the elimination or scaling down of dozens of military installations across the country. They included the closure of Pennsylvania's Willow Grove Naval Air Station/Joint Reserve Base in Montgomery County. An updated BRAC report is scheduled for 2015.
"We don't want to have to play catch-up when the next round of considerations arrives," Mr. Readshaw said. "We will use the intervening time to work with military and civilian leadership to be fully prepared to protect any or all of Pennsylvania's military facilities."
Rep. Readshaw said the caucus activity will include improved communications with defense contractors to learn not only about their operations and challenges, but also about those of associated businesses that are their suppliers.
The other House co-chairman is Rep. Scott Perry, R-York. The Senate co-chairmen are Sen. Richard Alloway II, R-Adams, and Sen. John Blake, D-Lackawanna.
"This is an exemplary way in which we can combine the support of both the state House and Senate, and the Democratic and Republican caucuses within both chambers," Mr. Readshaw said. "When the next BRAC report comes around, Pennsylvania will be united and ready to defend our role in keeping the U.S. military supplied and ready."
Rep. Readshaw has prepared a resolution that would have the House and Senate formally recognize the Military Installations and Base Development Caucus as a panel within the General Assembly.