HARRISBURG, May 11, 2011 – – State Sen. John P. Blake today announced the formation of a new bipartisan, bicameral Military Installations and Base Development Caucus to protect Pennsylvania’s 164,000 defense-related jobs and its world-class military bases and facilities around the state.

Blake will serve as co-chairman of the caucus along with state Sen. Richard Alloway (R-Adams/Franklin/York) and state Reps. Scott Perry (R-York/Cumberland) and Harry Readshaw (D-Allegheny).

“With the recent mention that the Department of Defense may be convening another Base Realignment and Closure Commission in 2015, it is imperative that we start working now to make sure these jobs and the economic activity that comes with them are not lost to other facilities in other states,” Blake said. “In my district, Tobyhanna Army Depot is estimated to produce a total regional annual economic impact of $2.8 billion and its presence alone sustains 18,000 regional jobs. If the legislature is serious about saving and creating jobs, we need to focus attention on the future of our military facilities.”

The Tobyhanna Army Depot is the largest, full-service electronics maintenance facility in the Department of Defense and employs about 5,800 people.

Blake said the Military Installations and Base Development Caucus will work to find ways to improve base operations, expand business development opportunities and ensure the long term viability of our military installations. The caucus will also engage with Pennsylvania’s private defense industry; consult with the military and civilian leadership at our facilities throughout the state; and work to ensure more frequent and routine dialogue between state lawmakers and Pennsylvania’s federal Congressional delegation in Washington DC.