Communication and Coordination

Good communication and coordination between military installations and their surrounding communities are imperative for successful compatible land use planning. Installation commanders and military planners should be kept informed and given opportunities to participate in community planning efforts, while local government officials and planners should be informed of potential changes to an installation's footprint or function. Without adequate and timely input from each party it can be difficult to assess the impacts of respective growth management and land use decisions, on either side of the fence. Formalized partnerships and open communication help ensure adequate representation when planning occurs and promotes increased communication and coordination at regular intervals. If done early in a planning or site development review process, potential compatibility issues can be identified and mitigated.

Across the country, states and local governments use legislative tools to guide compatible land use planning. These tools can allow, restrict, limit, or guide types of development that are compatible with military operations. The authority to manage growth around military installations is vested in state and local governments, and collaboration between local and state governments and the military is essential for the enactment of effective land use laws. ​

The following describes how communities have effectively communicated and encouraged changes in state and local laws and ordinances to support public participation and coordination objectives, often recommended in Compatible Use Studies.

Relevant Compatibility Factors​: Communication and Coordination, Legislative Initiatives

Best Practices in Maryland

  • Thrive Montgomery 2050 Outreach and Engagement Synopsis
  • Memorandum of Understanding and Intergovernmental Support Agreements at NAS Patuxent River
  • Maryland Military Installation Council (MMIC)

Best Practices in Other States

Highlight 1: Thrive Montgomery 2050 Outreach and Engagement Synopsis


Montgomery County, MD, established a strategic outreach and communication program to support its recent general plan update, Thrive Montgomery 2050. The Montgomery County Planning Department's successful program gathered input from residents, business owners, nonprofits, other organizations, and military and federal agencies with facilities in the county. The public outreach and communication process also applied trend research and lessons learned from current and past planning experiences.

The Thrive Montgomery 2050 Outreach and Engagement Appendix describes the goals, audiences, process, and approaches used to ensure that community members and stakeholders were reached and heard. The implementation plan considers the unique backgrounds and characteristics of targeted audiences and discusses the need to adapt outreach methods to fit stakeholders needs.

Not only does Thrive 2050 detail how to reach and motivate audiences to participate, but it also supports the general plan update. The process and strategies laid out in Thrive 2050 should be considered by military installations and local governments as they look to develop communication and public outreach strategies. Adapting these methods to fit their unique circumstances to engage a particular audience helps not only to establish community support, it also helps build relationships between the military and defense communities.

Read the Thrive Montgomery 2050 Outreach and Engagement Synopsis

Highlight 2: Memorandum of Understanding and Intergovernmental Support Agreements at NAS Patuxent River


The Commissioners of St. Mary's County, MD and the commander of NAS Patuxent River signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) in 2007 to jointly mitigate and prevent encroachments around NAS Patuxent River and ensure that desired economic and community character goals were being met. The Cooperation Agreement Between the Commanding Office, NAS Patuxent River, and the St. Mary's County Board of County Commissioners for Encroachment Mitigation and Prevention established a communication process that guaranteed at least two annual meetings where information on county and base initiatives, and other important issues, could be discussed. The MOU also included terms and conditions to establish a formal, cooperative, encroachment mitigation and prevention process.

The discussions stimulated by the MOU resulted in a multi-year Intergovernmental Support A​greement (IGSA) in 2018. The IGSA enables the county to provide shared services for maintenance and paving, pavement marking, testing, and heavy equipment rental for use at NAS Patuxent River. The IGSA has mutual benefits to NAS Patuxent and the county. The IGSA reduces the installation's operating and capital costs for maintenance while enabling the county to attract more competitive bids for services (due to economies of scale) and promotes a culture of mutual support between NAS Patuxent and the community. This agreement streamlines the contracting process and gives NAS Patuxent River greater flexibility in its procurement of road repairs. In 2020, the MOU and IGSA facilitated implementing eight projects, which saved county taxpayers almost $1M in road repair and maintenance costs. This example shows how formal and regularly scheduled meetings can benefit an installation and its surrounding communities.

The initial and successful two-year period led to extending the agreement through 2022. In December 2022, the IGSA was extended for five years.

Supporting Documents


Highlight 3: Maryland Military Installation Council


The Maryland Military Installation Council (MMIC) was established in 2006 to prepare for Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) actions. It is a forum for communities, military installations, the defense industry, businesses, state agencies, and elected officials to discuss issues related to Maryland's military installations. MMIC is staffed by the Maryland Department of Commerce Office of Military and Federal Affairs. State agencies and military alliances are cabinet members, while military installation commanders are ex-officio. The MMIC's mission is to facilitate communication and coordination across the state about military affairs; including public infrastructure, potential impacts to communities, and support for military installation development and expansion that maximizes economic and other benefits to affected communities. The MMIC meets at least twice a year and allows attendees to discuss issues facing Maryland military and defense communities and to work together as a group to improve military-civilian compatibility. Visit the MMIC Case Study to learn more.


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