BRAC crunch time for Arlington County, Va.

Monday - 2/28/2011, 5:06pm EST

Dr. Andrea Morris, BRAC Project Coordinator for Arlington County, Va.

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By Jolie Lee
Federal News Radio

Arlington County, Va., will be the hardest-hit area in the country impacted by the Defense Department's Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC).

In Arlington alone, 4.2 million square feet of office space is affected by BRAC, resulting in 17,000 civilian jobs to be relocated, according to Arlington's BRAC Transition Center

The focus of the BRAC activity has been on the logistics, not necessarily the human impact.

"Unfortunately, what we're finding is a sense of panic now," said Andrea Morris, the BRAC coordinator in Arlington County.

The deadline to relocate is Sept. 15.

About 30 percent of BRAC'd workers will follow their jobs to the new location; the rest will not, Morris said. This percentage is similar to previous BRAC relocations, but the expectation this time was that more people would stay due to the economy, she said.

But finances alone are not dictating employees' decisions.

"Many of them very deliberately have said to us, I have an investment here and I'm not willing to upset that investment of time, of work, of heart, all of the above. And in addition to that, I'm not able to upset my family network," Morris said.

The human resources staff of a department is so devoted to preparing for the new sites that they may not have the time to sit down with employees and discuss their options, Morris said.

The BRAC Transition Center is a one-stop shop to help employees, their families and contractors with "information, resources, worker services, business assistance, references, and networking for workers and businesses directly and indirectly affected by BRAC decisions," according to the center's website.

Those affected by BRAC can also go to www.bracarlingtonva.us to look up by community.

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