Col. William Knight, 11th Wing/Joint Base Andrews commander, along with military and community leaders met with Prince George’s County Executive Rushern L. Baker III here June 5 to sign the founding documentation for a “Way Ahead” initiative.
The Air Force initiative was created to leverage military installation and local community capabilities and resources with a goal of reducing operating costs in support of the Air Force mission. By identifying mutually beneficial partnerships JBA and Prince George’s county found they we able to increase efficiency, retain or enhance quality, reduce operating and service costs, and reduce risk.
According to the executive summary, in Maryland, as in the rest of the Nation, budgetary constraints are encouraging installations and the communities, governments, and organizations that support them to re-evaluate their operations.
The members of the Air Force Community Partnership Initiative Leadership Committee believe that partnerships are a key part of meeting that challenge. Such partnerships enable collaboration between multiple stakeholders, support an integrated planning platform through which military and civilian communities can connect their common objectives and create opportunities for efficiently and effectively managing limited resources.
“I think we’ve just scratched the surface of the potential for us to continue to work together as a base and as a community,” said Kyle Massey, Air Force Community Partnership lead facilitator.
The first item signed was a founding document created to establish a bi-annual process and keep a record of partnerships in order to ensure they are working properly, generating the value intended and to consider future partnership ideas.
The document is also designed to help educate leaders in the future in order to maintain proficient continuity.
“This is not about setting up a program where we partner and are done,” said Massey. “This is really about changing the way that we view the problems that we face.”
The second document signed by the county executive and JBA commander outlined a Recycling Memorandum of Agreement that would allow JBA to use a more efficient waste and recycling system run by the county and increase the current recycling rate from 34 percent to 54 percent. The partnership also has cost avoidance advantages and produces less waste going to the county landfill.
“In the 25 years that I’ve been involved in politics in Prince George’s County the relationship has not been any better than it is here and it’s the best that it’s ever been,” said Baker.
Pending partnership proposals include a charter high school, domestic violence training and a food bank.
“The opportunities that we have in partnership with Prince George’s county are infinite,” said Knight. “We’ve created an initiative that will continue to grow and change even after my time here is done. I’m excited to see what the future holds for this base and the local area.”