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Woodbridge Research Facility

In July 1991, the BRAC Commission recommended closure of the Woodbridge Research Facility and the relocation of all operations to Adelphi Laboratory Center, Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland or to White Sands, New Mexico. The Woodbridge Research Facility was not officially vacated by the military until Fall 1996.

The WRF is located on approximately 579 acres of land in the easternmost portion of Prince William County, Virginia, within the town of Woodbridge. The Occoquan and Belmont Bays border the WRF on the south and east, respectively. The Marumsco National Wildlife Refuge bounds the facility on the west side. A golf course was recently completed adjacent to the northern boundary of the WRF. The entrance to the WRF is located on Dawson Beach Road, which extends to the southeast from U.S. Route 1 in Woodbridge.

From 1951 until 1971, the site was active as a military radio station. Environmentally significant activities at the site included construction and demolition, PCB transformer and capacitor utilization, POL use and storage, open dumping, battery use and storage, classified document incineration, machine shop operations, buried wire, and buried ethylene glycol hoses.

From 1971 until closure in September 1994, the primary mission of the WRF was to support the U.S. Army Research Laboratory in Adelphia, MD. Scientists, engineers, and technical and administrative personnel were employed at the WRF in a variety of programs involving nuclear weapons effects and Army system survivability. The facility investigated and studied the effects of electromagnetic pulses (EMP) generated by exo-atmospheric nuclear weapons detonation on communications and other military systems. Testing activities involved simulations utilizing on-site electromagnetic pulsers.

Environmentally significant activities during this period included construction and demolition, PCB transformer and capacitor utilization and disposal, POL use and storage, open dumping, small arms ranges, battery shop, sewage sludge injection, machine shop operations and electromagnetic pulse generation.

The square mile of field and marsh that served as a US Army radio communications site and research facility since the early 1950s was dedicated in late 1998 as the US Fish and Wildlife Service's newest Virginia refuge - the Occoquan Bay National Wildlife Refuge in Woodbridge. More than 200 species of birds, butterflies, deer, fox and other animals live in the grasslands and shrublands at Occoquan Bay - a rare treasure in an urban area where open land is at a premium for development or recreation. The former Woodbridge Army Research Facility, Harry Diamond Laboratories, became available to the Service as part of the peacetime base realignment and closure. It is located along Occoquan Bay at the confluence of the Potomac and Occoquan rivers. During Army ownership, the site was closed to public access and kept in grasslands allowing wildlife to flourish.

BRAC 2005

In its 2005 BRAC Recommendations, DoD recommended to realign the USMC Direct Reporting Program Manager Advanced Amphibious Assault (DRPM AAA) facilities in Woodbridge by relocating the Ground Forces initiative D&A activities to Detroit Arsenal, Warren, MI. 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 56 jobs (32 direct jobs and 24 indirect jobs) over the 2006-2011 period in the Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, DC VA-MD-WV Metropolitan Division (less than 0.1 percent).

 



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