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Redstone Arsenal

Redstone Arsenal has served for more than 40 years as the Army's center for missile and rocket programs. In October 1997, the U.S. Army Missile Command at Redstone Arsenal combined with the U.S. Army Aviation and Missile Command at St. Louis, Missouri, to form the U.S. Army Aviation and Missile Command (AMCOM). Today, Redstone Arsenal's aviation and missile experts research, develop, test, purchase, repair, or maintain the high technology weapons that American soldiers rely on to perform their duties.

The Army' s missile and rocket program began in 1950 under Wernher von Braun and his team of German scientists. The 500-mile surface-to-surface Redstone missile was developed here. It was the first of the large U.S. ballistic missile systems to become operational.

Redstone Arsenal's working population of government and contractors is near 17,000. There are about 2,000 soldiers assigned at Redstone with more than 1,000 military families living in government quarters. Army buildings, equipment, and utilities at Redstone have a book value of about $1 billion dollars. Together with similiar facilities at the Marshall Space Flight Center which is also housed at Redstone, the government property investment at the installation is about $2.5 billion.

Redstone Arsenal sits on 40,000 acres, and includes administrative buildings, labora-tories, flight test ranges, and other specialized buildings and equipment. The center was built in World War II as three separate installations for the Chemical Warfare Service: the Huntsville Arsenal, the Redstone Ordnance Plant, and the Gulf Chemical Warfare Depot. Initially known as Redstone Ordnance Plant, the plant was redesignated Redstone Arsenal in February 1943. Since the inception of Redstone Arsenal, it has been a matter of recorded history that the name Redstone came from "the preponderance of red soil."

The original arsenal combined two adjoining arsenals into one post in 1941 to make conventional ammunition and toxic chemicals during World War II. In early 1941 the Chemical Warfare Service had only one chemical manufacturing installation-Edgewood Arsenal, Maryland.

In April 1941, Congress authorized funding for a second chemical warfare manufacturing and storage facility. In June 1941 a survey team selected a site on the southwestern edge of Huntsville. A month later when the Huntsville Arsenal site was announced, the Ordnance Corps announced plans to build an assembly plant next to the chemical munitions manufacturing and storage facility. This "Redstone Ordnance Plant" would be redesignated Redstone Arsenal in 1943.

Redstone Arsenal was a typical Chemical Warfare Service' [CWS] plant. It was assigned the production of chemical shells ranging from 77-mm to 30- and l00-pound chemical bombs, and bursters for these items. The plant initially included four production lines -- two for loading and two for the assembly of shells and bursters -- as well as warehouses and igloos for storage. The first line in operation, Burster Line 1, included 15 buildings in an octagonal arrangement on approximately 25 acres. Later in the war, four new buildings were added, including a three-story melt-pour building, two screening and storage facilities, and a change house. The line produced 200,000 pounds of tetryl bursters (used to burst open the shells) per month. The plant underwent significant expansion as the workload increased, with two lines being added. Furthermore, this plant and others underwent extensive modernization in 1944 and 1945, with the facilities renovated for increased mechanization through conveyor belts, automatic loading machines, mechanical lifting and handling machines, and special handling equipment.

As World War II drew closer to involving the United States, the Chief, Chemical Warfare Service requested the War Department to acquire additional facilities capable of furnishing an Army of 2,800,000 men with necessary offensive chemical munitions. Recognizing the tremendous economy of locating an Ordnance shell loading/assembly plant close to Huntsville Arsenal, the Chief of Ordnance decided to build a facility adjacent to the Chemical Warfare Service's installation.

With the end of the war, activity at the arsenal dropped dramatically. Many facilities at Huntsville were leased for use by private sector companies. Until 1947 when Redstone was placed in standby status, work at the facility consisted of renovating and salvaging ammunition returned from overseas. On June 30, 1949, Huntsville Arsenal was deactivated. Command responsibilities were assumed by Redstone, which on June 1, 1949, had been designated as the Ordnance Rocket Center.

Huntsville first came into contact with missiles when the "Fred Project" was established in January 1945. The project demonstrated the "in-house" capability to produce liquid propellant. In August 1945, two JB-2 missile+ launched from Eglin Field in Florida validated the government's capability and the demonstration project ended.

First designated the home of Army missiles in 1948, Redstone dropped from a peak WW II employment of more than 19,000 to a little used post of a few hundred workers. Following the U.S.'s entry into the Korean War, four ammunition production lines were reactivated from standby status and resumed production in July 1951. By the end of 1955, Redstone Arsenal was producing a major portion of all chemical artillery ammunition used by U.S. armed forces. Between July 1951 and July 1956, over 38,700,000 complete rounds of chemical artillery ammunition were produced.

Because of the large available space, empty buildings, and ease of access to rail, highway, and water traffic, the Army chose Redstone as the place to consolidate its newly formed rocket program. On 1 February 1956 the Army Ballistic Missile Agency was established. The core of the new agency came from the Guided Missile Development Division of Redstone Arsenal's Ordnance Missile Laboratories. From this division, ABMA inherited some 1,600 personnel, including the team of German scientists headed by Dr von Braun and 1,100,00 square feet of space in buildings. During the 1950s, the Army missile team at Redstone pioneered many of America's first achievements in space exploration.

On October 21, 1959, President Eisenhower ordered components of the military's space program to be transferred to NASA. Thus in July 1960, a substantial proportion of ABMA facilities was leased to NASA to become the George C. Marshall Space Flight Center. Some of these facilities later received national historic recognition for their presence during both the ABMA and NASA eras. Constructed in 1953, the Redstone Rocket Test Stand (Building 4665) is listed as a Category I property on the National Register of Historic Places. The test stand had been the first that was capable of accommodating the entire launch vehicle during static tests. Category II properties dating from the pre-NASA era include the Neutral Buoyancy Simulator (Building 47051, the Solid Rocket Motor Propulsion and Structural Test Facility (Building 4572), and the Structures and Mechanics Laboratory (Building 4619).

Effective 1 July 1960, Redstone Arsenal lost all of its space-related missions, along with some 4,000 civilian employees and $100,000,000 worth of buildings and equipment at Redstone Arsenal and Cape Canaveral, Florida, to NASA's George C. Marshall Space Flight Center, which was officially opened that day at Redstone Arsenal.

Redstone Arsenal earned a reputation for excellence in the areas of developing and supporting technology advancements in weaponry and in providing an outstanding work environment. In 1993, the Army chose Redstone Arsenal as the top medium sized post in the United States. It has been a finalist for five years in the annual competition to select the Army Community of Excellence.

Redstone Arsenal's 38,248 acres are bordered by Huntsville, Alabama, on the north and east with the Tennessee River forming Redstone's southern boundary. Huntsville is located in the northwest area of Alabama. Access to recreation opportunities and services is easy and convenient in Huntsville, a town of 171,000.

Redstone Arsenal is located at the southwest side of the city of Huntsville in central north Alabama. The installation and Huntsville are serviced by commercial air and bus services, and POV travelers should follow Interstate 565 East from I65. Redstone Arsenal shares the installation with the NASA Marshal Space Flight Center, and the city is a center of defense and technological industry. More than 10,000 government employees work in Huntsville. North Alabama is the heart of the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) lake system and outdoor recreational opportunities abound. Geographically, the arsenal borders the lower Appalachian Mountains to the east, with flatter topography to the west.

Huntsville is a progressive, fast growing city, keyed to the pulsating age of space and technology. Located in the Alabama Mountain Lakes section of the state, Huntsville is convenient to one of the foremost resort areas of the south. Current population of the city is 171,000 people. Huntsville is a city of recreation, education, employment opportunity and wonderful people. Cosmopolitan, yet Southern, Huntsville offers a unique and exciting blend of the traditional south and metropolitan variety and excitement.

BRAC 2005

In its 2005 BRAC Recommendations, DoD recommended to close Fort Gillem. With this recommendation it recommended relocating the 2nd Recruiting Brigade from Ft. Gillem to Redstone Arsenal. DoD claimed that the closure of Fort Gillem would enable the stationing of its tenant units at locations that would increase their ability to associate with like units and promote coordination of efforts. DoD recommended that the 2nd Recruiting Brigade relocate to Redstone Arsenal because of its central location in the Southeast and its access to a transportation center in Huntsville, AL.

DoD also recommended that Redstone Arsenal realign by relocating and consolidating Information Systems Development and Acquisition to Aberdeen Proving Ground, MD. As part of a larger realignment surrounding the closure of Ft. Monmouth, NJ, DoD's recommendation would establish a Land C4ISR Lifecycle Management Command (LCMC) to focus technical activity and accelerate transition. This recommendation would address the transformational objective of Network Centric Warfare. The solution of the significant challenges of realizing the potential of Network Centric Warfare for land combat forces would require integrated research in C4ISR technologies (engineered networks of sensors, communications, information processing), and individual and networked human behavior. The recommendation would increase efficiency through consolidation. Research, Development and Acquisition (RDA), Test and Evaluation (T&E) of Army Land C4ISR technologies and systems were split among three major sites and several smaller sites, including Redstone Arsenal. Consolidation of RDA at fewer sites would achieve efficiency and synergy at a lower cost than would be required for multiple sites.

Assuming no economic recovery, this recommendation could result in a maximum potential reduction of 63 jobs (37 direct and 26 indirect jobs) over the 2006 – 2011 periods in the Huntsville, AL Metropolitan Division (0.03 percent). When moving from Redstone Arsenal to Aberdeen, MD, DoD estimated that the following local area capabilities would improve: Child Care, Housing, and Medical Health. The following attributes would decline: Employment, Safety, Population Center, and Transportation. When moving from Fort Gillem to Redstone Arsenal, DoD estimated that the following local attributes would be improved: Cost of Living and Population. DoD estimated that the following capabilities would not be not as robust: Child Care, Housing, Medical, and Transportation.

In another recommendation, DoD recommended to realign Redstone Arsenal, AL, by relocating the Missile and Munitions Center to Fort Lee, VA. Assuming no economic recovery, this recommendation could result in a maximum potential reduction of 2,120 jobs (1,443 direct jobs and 677 indirect jobs) over the 2006-2011 period in the Huntsville, AL, metropolitan economic area (0.9 percent).

DoD also made a series of recommendations moving Missile Defense Agency opperations to Redstone: close the Suffolk Building, a leased installation in Falls Church, VA and relocate all Missile Defense Agency (MDA) functions, except the Ballistic Missile Defense System Sensors Directorate, to Redstone Arsenal, AL. Close the Space and Missile Defense Command (SMDC) Building, a leased installation in Huntsville, AL and relocate all functions of the Missile Defense Agency to Redstone Arsenal, AL. Realign Federal Office Building 2, Arlington, VA, by relocating a Headquarters Command Center for the Missile Defense Agency to Fort Belvoir, VA, and by relocating all other functions of the Missile Defense Agency, except the Command and Control Battle Management and Communications Directorate, to Redstone Arsenal, AL. Realign Crystal Square 2, a leased installation in Arlington, VA, by relocating all functions of the Missile Defense Agency and the Headquarters component of the USA Space and Missile Defense Command to Redstone Arsenal, AL. Realign Crystal Mall 4, a leased installation in Arlington, VA, by relocating the Headquarters component of the USA Space and Missile Defense Command to Redstone Arsenal, AL.

This recommendation would meet several important Department of Defense objectives with regard to future use of leased space, rationalization of the Department's presence within 100 miles of the Pentagon, and enhanced security for DoD Activities. Relocating MDA operations from the NCR and consolidating with existing MDA activities already in Huntsville would enhance jointness and establish an invaluable synergy with the principal DoD expertise in ground-based missile research and development as well as with expertise in missile-related test and evaluation. Additionally, the recommendation would result in a significant improvement in military value due to the shift from primarily leased space to locations on military installations. The military value of MDA based on its current portfolio of locations was 329 out of 334 entities evaluated by the Major Administration and Headquarters (MAH) military value model, and SMDC's headquarters was 299 out of 334. Redstone Arsenal was ranked 48 out of 334. Implementation would reduce the Department's reliance on leased space which had historically higher overall costs than government-owned space and generally did not meet Anti-terrorism Force Protection standards as prescribed in UFC 04-010-01. It would provide space for the consolidation of MDA contractors with the appropriate MDA elements at Redstone Arsenal. This action would provide a consolidation for MDA's DC Area operations and Huntsville locations and continues movement of MDA onto Redstone Arsenal that would be expected to occur with the completion in FY07 of the Von Braun 2 building, which will house approximately 800 MDA personnel. Similarly, SMDC would consolidate its headquarters office with existing activities recently moved on to Redstone Arsenal.

A review of the community attributes indicated relocation to Redstone Arsenal would result in fewer graduate and PhD education programs and available for-sale housing units. The Department expected that the private market would respond for the increased need for certain community goods and service. Environmentally, a potential impact might occur to historic resources at Redstone Arsenal since resources would have to be evaluated on a case-by-case basis, thereby causing increased delays and costs. Additional operations might further impact threatened/endangered species at Redstone Arsenal, leading to additional restrictions on training or operations. Additional operations might impact wetlands at Redstone Arsenal which could lead to operations that would be restricted.

In another recommendation, DoD would realign Fort Belvoir, VA by relocating Army Materiel Command (AMC) and the Security Assistance Command (USASAC, an AMC major subordinate command) to Redstone Arsenal, AL. The Army Materiel Command (AMC) and the Security Assistance Command would relocate to Redstone Arsenal in order to collocate with one of AMC's major subordinate commands, the USA Aviation and Missile Command. The relocation of AMC and USASAC to Redstone Arsenal would result in the avoidance of future military construction costs; this future cost avoidance would not be reflected in the payback calculation because it was planned for post-FY05. This military construction would provide for a new headquarters building for AMC and USASAC on Fort Belvoir; the majority of AMC's current space on Fort Belvoir was in temporary structures. Environmentally, several tribal burial grounds have been identified at Redstone Arsenal, which could result in time delays and unidentified cost associated with construction and the need for agreements, consultations, and negotiated restrictions with affected constituents. Additional operations might further impact threatened/endangered species at Redstone Arsenal leading to restrictions on training or operations. Projected growth in the population at Redstone Arsenal from this action might require infrastructure upgrades for water and sewer services.

In another recommendation, DoD recommended to realign Redstone Arsenal by relocating the joint robotics program development and acquisition activities to Detroit Arsenal, Warren, MI, and consolidating them with the Program Executive Office Ground Combat Systems, Program Executive Office Combat Support and Combat Service Support and Tank Automotive Research Development Engineering Center. This recommendation would consolidate those USMC and Army facilities that were primarily focused on ground vehicle activities in development and acquisition (D&A) at Detroit Arsenal in Warren, MI, to increase joint activity in ground vehicle development & acquisition. The D&A being consolidated would be centered on manned and unmanned ground vehicle program management. In Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF) and Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF), effectiveness in combat depended heavily on "jointness," or how well the different branches of our military could communicate and coordinate their efforts on the battlefield. This collection of D&A expertise would not only foster a healthy mix of ideas, but would increase the ground vehicle community's ability to develop the kinds of capabilities that could position DoD for the future as well as adapt quickly to new challenges and to unexpected circumstances. The ability to adapt would be critical where surprise and uncertainty would be the defining characteristics of the new threats. Assuming no economic recovery, this recommendation could result in a maximum potential reduction of 135 jobs (77 direct jobs and 58 indirect jobs) over the 2006-2011 period in the Huntsville, AL, Metropolitan Statistical Area (less than 0.1 percent).

In its 2005 BRAC Recommendations, DoD recommended to realign Ft. Rucker, AL, by relocating the Aviation Technical Test Center to Redstone Arsenal and consolidating it with the Technical Test Center at Redstone Arsenal. DoD would also realign Warner-Robins Air Force Base, GA, by relocating activities in rotary wing air platform development and acquisition to Redstone Arsenal.

This Air Land Sea & Space (ALSS) recommendation would realign and consolidate activities that were primarily focused on Rotary Wing Air Platform activities in Development, Acquisition, Test and Evaluation (DAT&E). This action would creates the Joint Center for Rotary Wing Air Platform DAT&E at the Redstone Arsenal. The end state of this recommendation would build upon existing rotary wing air platform technical expertise and facilities in place at the two principal sites and provides focused support for future aviation technological advances in rotorcraft development. The planned component moves would enhance synergy by consolidating rotary wing work to major sites, preserving healthy competition, and leveraging climatic/geographic conditions and existing infrastructure, minimize environmental impact. These consolidations would co-locate aircraft and aircraft support systems with development and acquisition personnel to enhance efficiency and effectiveness of rotary wing air platform design and development activities. Environmentally, this recommendation might have a minimal impact on cultural, archeological, and tribal resources and threatened and endangered species at Redstone Arsenal. Increased noise from aviation operations might result in operational restrictions on Redstone. Further evaluation would be required.

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Page last modified: 05-07-2011 02:56:00 ZULU