Lt. Gov. Boyd Rutherford met with the Charles County Chamber of Commerce Military Alliance Council (MAC) and various Charles County dignitaries on Wednesday at the Indian Head Village Green Pavilion to discuss the growth and needs of Naval Service Facility (NSF) Indian Head and the surrounding town.
Rutherford (R) has been touring military bases throughout the state in order to better understand them from an administrative level. His stop in Indian Head followed visits to Naval Sea Systems Command Carderock Division, Patuxent River Naval Air Station and the Aberdeen Proving Ground. In his address to the audience, Rutherford discussed at length the significance of local facilities to United States military operations.
“In Maryland, we’re much more research-oriented,” Rutherford said. “It’s extremely important in terms of the research and the new future wars that we are going to be confronting that the research continue to operate here in Maryland. All of our installations are extremely important, not just to the economic viability of the state and region, and of course the town of Indian Head, but also national security.”
In addition to country-wide contributions, Rutherford explained how the installations make Maryland a desirable place to reside, especially for current and former service members. The economic and developmental boon provided by these bases encourages residents to reside in the state for all stages of life.
“We want Maryland to be a place where people want to live, work, raise a family, start a business and retire,” Rutherford said. “We want to make sure that people stay in the state, and that goes for the veterans that come in.”
MAC President Brian Klaas emceed the event, recognizing notable names in the audience as well as town staff during his introductory speech. Klaas also spoke for the resurgence of the town, due in large part to the efforts of Rutherford and the rest of Gov. Larry Hogan’s (R) administration.
“You are visiting us, lieutenant governor, at a very exciting time,” Klaas said. “Blighted buildings are coming down, infrastructure is being improved … and investment in our community is starting to return.”
Klaas added that NSF Indian Head provides more than 3,500 high-paying, career-oriented jobs to the area. The base has generated more than $320 million in direct employee compensation and close to $400 million in contracting and small purchasing. Klaas closed with an appeal to Rutherford in furthering the revitalization of Indian Head.
“We are looking for champions to help protect and grow our opportunities both inside and outside of the fence,” Klaas said. “We look to you to be one of these champions and appreciate your interest in our community.”
After meeting with the MAC, Rutherford toured NSF Indian Head and Mallows Bay. This excursion was meant in large part as a way to shed light on Mallows Bay’s potential designation as a National Marine Sanctuary. The highly-publicized debate between the town and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) about the coverage of the sanctuary hasn’t reached its conclusion, but NOAA’s recent decision to move forward with 52-square-mile coverage could negatively impact NSF Indian Head operations.
“We want to show him how close it is to the installation,” Klaas said. “It could ruin the mission.”