In the last year, the Tennessee Valley community and Redstone Arsenal have each experienced economic growth. Now, they share the same challenges that come along with it.
Redstone Senior Commander and Army Materiel Command Deputy Commander Lt. Gen. Ed Daly said the installation has grown within its four core competencies: worldwide logistics, space operations and missile defense, intelligence and homeland defense, and research development, test and engineering.
“Redstone Arsenal is thriving and remains tremendously relevant in terms of the mission sets we have been given in our four synergistic areas,” he said. “We’re writing history right now.”
Last year, Army leaders chose Redstone Arsenal as the home of two of Army Futures Command’s cross-functional teams: Future Vertical Lift and Assured Positioning, Navigation and Timing.
This year, the installation welcomed the Army Rapid Capabilities and Critical Technologies Office, which includes the Hypersonics and Directed Energy Project Offices, led by Lt. Gen. Neil Thurgood. In addition, the Federal Bureau of Investigation leaders announced they will train 10,000 to 15,000 agents, analysts and staff annually here on the installation. Daly said the nearly 80 organizations on Redstone support Army and Department of Defense initiatives, as well as strategic imperatives at large for the country.
“We’re a federal center of excellence,” Daly said. “My responsibility as the senior commander, representing all the other senior leaders and the Garrison commander, is to support whatever the installation growth is projected to be and whatever that mission set requires currently and in the future.”
To support future growth, Redstone Arsenal leaders are focusing on infrastructure improvements and education opportunities. Infrastructure plans include improvements to roadways and minimizing gate traffic. The installation’s main gate was moved farther from the interstate and inbound lanes were expanded to improve traffic. Now, the outbound lanes for the gate will be expanded to reduce traffic leaving the installation. While these improvements are making a difference, there is still work to be done in and outside of the gates.
“We put millions of dollars each year into our roads, our infrastructure, and quite frankly, we are only part of the equation,” Daly said. “We have to make improvements in concert with the local community, and if we don’t work together with the local community and the Tennessee Valley at large, then we run the risk of being vulnerable and impacting our relevance in decades to come.”
While infrastructure is necessary to support major growth, having an abundance of education opportunities for the workforce and its families is also important. In order to remain an installation of choice for military and government employees, families must have quality educational options at every level – from elementary to graduate programs. Redstone Arsenal leaders are also working with schools to ensure curriculum supports skill sets needed on the installation.
“Make no mistake about it, we want to recruit and maintain the best and the brightest,” Daly said. “Quite frankly, we have the level of sophistication in our workload and our required skills and knowledge to really satiate their appetite.”
Growth in the Tennessee Valley is mutually important. From Redstone Arsenal’s perspective, it is important that the community grows so missions can be done effectively. From the community’s perspective, it is important that Redstone Arsenal continues to grow and set the conditions for the future.
“We can’t rest on our laurels; we have to look to the future,” Daly said. “Our challenge to each other is to think about the future. Supporting future growth can’t be done alone, it has to be synergized, synchronized and integrated with the local community.”