Fort Meade is a US Army installation within the IMCOM (Installation Management Command) and US MDW (US Military District of Washington) that houses national centers for information and intelligence. The fort has the fourth largest workforce of all Army installations within the continental United States. Fort Meade is tasked with the responsibility to host and provide garrison style facilities and structural support to both its military cadre and several prominent national organizations. Fort Meade also supports the educational infrastructure and necessary equipment for the Defense Information School. It is located in Anne Arundel County in Maryland half way between Baltimore City and Washington, DC. The closest point of interest is Annapolis, capitol of the state of Maryland and the home of the Naval Academy. Annapolis center hosts a marina with water craft of all sizes and a surrounding ring of unique shops and restaurants. From late August to the middle of October there is the annual Renaissance Festival on Crownsville Road in Annapolis where the employees are dressed in authentic costumes and visitors are welcome to rent period costumes for a richer experience.
The fort began operation in 1917 as Camp Annapolis Junction with the purpose of being a training camp. It was renamed Camp George G. Meade in 1919 after construction of permanent buildings. The post’s namesake is Major General George Gordon Meade, the last civil war commander of the Army of The Potomac. Meade died from pneumonia in November 1872. It was renamed Fort George G. Meade in the 1930s and was a World War II training center and prisoner of war camp. The Second US Army Headquarters transferred to Fort Meade in June 1947. In the 1950s the National Security Agency relocated to Fort Meade. During the 1950s and 1970s Fort Meade served as a center for air defense. A planned closure of the fort in the 1990s was averted as it became the new location for the Defense Information School. Today Fort Meade has expanded as a result of 2005 BRAC (Base Realignment and Closure Commission) and will expand further when it becomes the home of the newly established US Cyber Command in 2015.
The mission of this Army installation is to provide support to all units and agencies located on its site. The units and organizations located within Fort Meade’s boundaries represent all components of the military as well as multiple other Federal agencies. The major units include parts of the US Armored Cavalry, Headquarters for the US Army Field Band, Defense Information School, National Security Agency, and the future home for the US Cyber Command Headquarters.
Fort Meade occupies land mass just short of 8 square miles. With the 11,000 person growth from incoming BRAC organizations completed in September 2011, the population of occupants leveled out at 56,000. This is a composition of 10,000 Active Duty, Reserve and National Guard personnel from all services, 32,000 civilian employees, and 14,000 family members. There are approximately 150,000 retirees living in Fort Meade surrounding communities.
Fort Meade has 2862 family quarters of single, duplex, and multiplex housing. The family housing units are managed by a contracted real estate firm that works with local communities to help families find living arrangements when the on-base housing is full. The fort also has 190 bachelor housing apartments for assigned service members without dependents.
There are no public schools located on Fort Meade. School age children must register and attend schools in Anne Arundel County. In the local area there are 9 elementary schools, 2 middle schools and 1 high school. Transportation to and from schools is provided.
There is one major commissary and several smaller shoppettes, one shopping center with a large PX selling national brand merchandise. The PX center has a food court, banking, gasoline and auto repair, movie theatres, optical shop, tailor and laundry facility, and more. There are no medical health clinics, but one medical center, the Kimbrough Ambulatory Care Center that is not equipped for emergency services. Emergencies are transported to local hospital locations in Anne Arundel or Prince George counties. Chapel services are available for Episcopal, Catholic, Jewish, Islamic and Spanish Protestant denominations. Army Community Services provides assistance with any special needs. Family and Soldier Morale, Welfare and Recreational centers maintain family activities for two golf courses, several gyms, two bowling lanes, Burba Lake for swimming and fishing, an RV park for outdoor get-aways, arts and crafts classes, leisure travel services, and a library that is open to all post occupants. Fort Meade maintains an Army Museum with uniforms and artifacts from both World War I and World War II.
Fort Meade is not open to the public except for visitors to the museum, the handicap accessible fishing piers at Burba Lake, and by invitational request. Fort Meade is a first class, modern Army military installation. A duty assignment at the fort is an excellent experience for military service, interagency cooperation and living.