Col. Brian Foley is aware of the sequester, aware of Army force reductions and aware of general uncertainty over the federal budget. But the new commander at Fort Meade also knows that he is overseeing an installation that is continuing to expand.
"Transformation here continues to go on, and the primary role as I see it now is marketing the growth," Foley said in an interview with Patch. "As the rest of the Army starts to downsize, I need to make sure that the Department of the Army and Department of Defense understand there’s no downsizing going on here at Fort Meade. The growth here continues and will continue.”
Foley takes over command of an installation that boasts of 116 tenant agencies, including the behemoth National Security Agency and U.S. Cyber Command. That puts him in direct communication with four-star generals and other high-ranking officials who rely on him to ensure things run smoothly.
"Our job is to minimize distractions for our agencies," he said.
That means addressing things like traffic congestion, recreation services, child care facilities, security, housing quality and even physical fitness centers.
In the month since taking over the garrison command from Col. Edward Rothstein, Foley has met with as many agency heads and commanders as he can, and has a flurry of meetings lined up. This week, he'll meet with Anne Arundel County Council Member Jamie Benoit (D-District 4) as well as members of the Fort Meade Community Covenant Council. U.S. Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D-MD) and U.S. Rep. Donna Edwards (D-4th District) are also on his list of meetings.
Foley said getting support for Fort Meade could be made easier after a recent restructuring that places the installation under the Installation Management Command for the Central Region. He can now bring concerns directly to Thomas Schoenbeck, the civilian head of the region who will serve as a advocate to higher-ups in the Army.
“Col. Rothstein never had anyone in that position to advocate for him. I now do,” Foley said. "I see nothing but goodness coming from that in the future."
Foley, a Massachusetts native, comes to Fort Meade after serving as a battalion commander at Fort Bragg, and most recently served as Coalition Branch Chief, Joint Staff J6 at the Pentagon. He is a veteran of Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom.
Foley has committed to a two-year term but has requested permission to serve a third year at Fort Meade.
Foley said one key issue that he's already tackled is supporting the installation's five child development and youth centers. After reviewing the programs on base, he was able to secure $519,000 toward renovations of facilities.
"That's been an immediate priority, and without question I'll be sustaining effort in this area," he said.