One challenge caused by the last BRAC was traffic congestion. The Chesapeake Science & Security Corridor has worked to increase the use of trains, vans and carpools, said Karen Holt, the group's BRAC manager.

Similar studies are underway for Naval Air Station Patuxent River in Southern Maryland, and for Joint Base Andrews, the installation in Prince George's County.

The burning concern at Pax River — raised at the council meeting — is the possibility that a wind turbine project planned for the Eastern Shore could interfere with the installation's radar tests.

Rep. Steny H. Hoyer, a Southern Maryland Democrat, urged state lawmakers to pass a 15-month moratorium on land-based wind energy efforts in much of the state, and they did. Gov. Martin O'Malley vetoed the legislation last month, calling fears of an impact on the Navy test range unfounded and saying that the bigger threat to Pax River is rising sea levels from climate change.

Before the bill was passed, the Navy and the wind project developer reached a tentative agreement that the turbines would be shut off when the base conducted radar tests on the stealth qualities of aircraft. But a Navy spokesman said earlier this year that the deal needed to be altered.

Officials with the Southern Maryland Navy Alliance, the local group that advocates for Pax River, said they are working with various players to come up with a plan to deal with that situation.

"This is BRAC 101," said Christopher J. Goode, a retired Navy officer who is managing partner of the Roosevelt Group, a government relations firm that counts the alliance as a client.

"We can't be frivolous when we talk about wind turbines. It's an important issue. Nobody up here is against wind turbines, nobody. But, man, there's only one Atlantic test range. We can't get this wrong."

Officials at Fort Meade, meanwhile, think their installation is, if not BRAC-immune, in a different category. It continued to expand after the 2005 realignment concluded, fueled in part by the Cyber Command established there to focus on cybersecurity issues.

"The truth is, we're not doing anything in preparation for a quote-unquote BRAC," said Mary Doyle, a spokeswoman at Fort Meade. "We're one of the few installations in the country, I think, that are still growing. ... During the last BRAC, we built some very strong community relationships, not just with elected officials but with our neighbors. We know how to get that kind of support."

Deon W. Viergutz, president of the Fort Meade Alliance, a nonprofit that advocates for the base, said the expectation of more growth means that transportation improvements are key. That's the sort of preparation he's focused on.

"We need to continue to be in front of that," he said.

jhopkins@baltsun.com

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