BRAC votes package deal
Friday, August 26, 2005
By SHELBY G. SPIRES
Times Aerospace Writer email@example.com
Redstone decision could bring 1,755 new federal jobs
The majority of the nation's missile defense work will land in Huntsville if the recommendations of the nine-member Base Realignment and Closure Commission, or BRAC, panel passes muster at the White House and on Capitol Hill next month.
The bulk of the Missile Defense Agency's development and management work, along with the headquarters of the Army Space & Missile Defense Command, would move to Huntsville under a recommendation the BRAC panel passed Thursday.
On Wednesday, the BRAC panel also approved moving the headquarters of the Army Materiel Command to Redstone.
The moves will net at least 1,755 new federal jobs for the area, said Dave Hargrove, incoming president of the Huntsville/Madison County Chamber of Commerce. "That's the official number given by the Pentagon in May, and, although we are hopeful more contractor jobs will follow, I think that's the prudent figure," he said.
Bringing the headquarters of AMC and SMDC to Huntsville, which has long been the headquarters for the Army Aviation and Missile Command, would elevate Redstone's stature as a key site for the Army. It could also make Huntsville home to several more Army generals.
The Army Materiel Command, which is the parent command of Redstone's Aviation and Missile Command, is headed by four-star Gen. Benjamin Griffin. Griffin's command staff also includes a three-star general and a couple of two-star generals.
SMDC is helmed by Lt. Gen. Larry Dodgen, a three-star general who lived in Huntsville for two years as the commanding general of Army Aviation and Missile Command. AMCOM is headed by a two-star general, Maj. Gen. James Pillsbury.
"This is what we have been working for a number of years, and, of course, we are just ecstatic and very happy over these decisions," said Tennessee Valley BRAC Committee co-chair Joe Ritch. "It's been a very, very good week for Huntsville" and the Tennessee Valley.
Hargrove said the number of contractor jobs that would follow the federal work has not been verified. But unofficial estimates have ranged from 2,000 to 3,000 contractor jobs. Lt. Gen. Trey Obering, head of the Missile Defense Agency, said during a recent appearance in Huntsville that MDA alone could bring more than 2,000 workers here.