AMC Crosses Historic Goal Line At Redstone
June 22, 2011
REDSTONE ARSENAL, Ala.--June 15, 2011 will be remembered as an “exceptionally special day” in the history of the Army Materiel Command.
That’s how AMC commander Gen. Ann Dunwoody " the Army’s first female four-star general and Alabama’s first four-star general in residence " described the day minutes before a ribbon cutting “touchdown” ceremony at the organization’s new 300,000-square-foot-plus facility on Martin Road.
“AMC has finally arrived,” Dunwoody told a crowd of community leaders, elected officials, Army officers and Army civilians attending the by-invitation-only ceremony. “We really feel this is a touchdown because we’ve crossed the goal line together. This is a victorious and historic moment … There are great moments that got us into the end zone today … This is an historic touchdown, and the first of many.”
Now known as building 4400, AMC headquarters stands six stories tall as the “center of gravity” for Army materiel readiness, including technology, acquisition support, materiel development, logistics power projection and sustainment, in providing all equipment and assets Soldiers need to do their jobs. As the catchy slogan goes, “if a Soldier shoots it, drives it, flies it, wears it, communicates with it or eats it, AMC provides it.”
Right next door and sharing a lobby with its higher command is the Security Assistance Command, which also celebrated the official opening of its new 89,000-square-foot-plus, three-story building at the touchdown ceremony.
Together, the two facilities were built on a 45-acre site by B.L. Harbert International of Birmingham at a contract value of $137 million to date. The building, which can accommodate 1,777 personnel, was designed to meet LEED Silver standards for green building construction and will soon be certified as a LEED facility by the U.S. Green Building Council.
“This building uses 30 percent less energy of the same size building built a few years ago,” Dunwoody said.
The 2005 Base Realignment and Closure decision mandated by Congress brought AMC and USASAC to Redstone Arsenal. Construction on the two buildings began in September 2008 and involved more than 834,000 man hours with no lost time accidents. The Army Corps of Engineers and Garrison’s Directorate of Public Works oversaw the construction contract.
About 65 percent of the AMC headquarters work force of 1,300 has now transferred to Redstone Arsenal. Since the groundbreaking in 2008, AMC and USASAC have been slowly moving “forward” employees to Redstone, with many of those employees housed in buildings near Gate 3. Under the command of Brig. Gen. Christopher Tucker, USASAC transferred its flag and operations to those temporary offices in September 2009, two years before the BRAC deadline of Sept. 15, 2011. USASAC has 367 employees at Redstone.
In a ribbon cutting ceremony that was at times touching and humorous while being celebratory in tone, Dunwoody led the countdown to cut the ribbon with Tucker, AMC deputy commander Lt. Gen. Dennis Via, AMC Command Sgt. Maj. Jeffrey Mellinger, AMC executive deputy to the commanding general John Nerger, and Tennessee Valley BRAC Committee chairman Joe Ritch.
After the ribbon was cut, Dunwoody raised her golden scissors into the air and shouted “Hooah!”
During her comments, Dunwoody thanked several military and local leaders who worked to bring AMC to Redstone.
“None of this would have been possible without the support and commitment of the Huntsville and Madison community and the entire Tennessee Valley region,” Dunwoody said. “Before the BRAC decision was even announced back in 2005, the leaders and citizens of this community began doing the heavy lifting that's made AMC’s move here such a success.”
Dunwoody is so excited about her command’s new presence at Redstone that she joked about an idea she and Mellinger had considered to drive around the Arsenal at night and stick a few AMC logos on missiles and other hardware on display in front of various military organizations.
While the 2005 BRAC decision affected AMC headquarters employees, those 1,300 employees represent only a fraction of the 11,000 AMC employees affected by the 2005 BRAC in some way. In total, AMC has 70,000 employees working in all 50 states and 155 countries in support of the war fighter.
“BRAC provided an opportunity to transform and adapt ourselves … this is the beginning of a new era for AMC,” Dunwoody said.
BRAC puts AMC and USASAC in the same neighborhood as the Aviation and Missile Command, the Program Executive Office for Aviation, the Program Executive Office for Missiles and Space, the Logistics Support Activity, the Army Contracting Command/Expeditionary Contracting Command, the Redstone Test Center and the Research Development and Engineering Command’s Aviation and Missile Research Development and Engineering Center.
“So you can see why today means so much to employees of AMC,” Dunwoody said. “There’s a lot of synergy to be gained.”
Because of the professionalism and commitment of its employees, AMC was able to accomplish the headquarters move “seamlessly while supporting two wars and other efforts … This move required a lot of hard work, planning, dedication and commitment across the entire command and the Army,” Dunwoody said.
For much of the headquarters work force, the transition from Fort Belvoir, Va., to Redstone Arsenal meant two or three temporary moves before moving into the new headquarters. During the transition to Redstone, AMC headquarters employees were operating from 31 separate facilities between Fort Belvoir and Redstone. “It’s been a long journey … I appreciate everything the work force has done to make this a reality,” the general said.
On the surface, the new headquarters is a top-notch facility that represents the best the Army has to offer its civilian work force. But underneath that surface, the facility provides a work environment with state-of-the art equipment and assets that allow AMC employees to be more effective and efficient, and that provide better capabilities to perform AMC’s worldwide mission.
“This is a transformation from a Cold War headquarters to an agile, responsive headquarters for the 21st century,” Dunwoody said.
The new headquarters will allow AMC employees to work in a “better networked global enterprise” that provides “360 degrees of visibility of every piece of equipment from development to foxhole. It provides the ability to reach out to commanders in the field and support ever-changing requirements,” Dunwoody said.
With 36 years of Army experience that have taken her all over the world, the general used the June 15 ceremony as an opportunity to express her appreciation for her new home.
“There is truly something special about this one,” she said, referring to the Huntsville and Tennessee Valley community.
“There is a unique spirit, a spirit that encourages us and people to work together across city limits, county boundaries and state lines. That spirit has been there ever since we started this BRAC journey together. And that spirit is why the men and women of AMC couldn’t be more proud to finally call this great community our home,” she said.
Dunwoody’s appreciation of the community also spilled over into comments she made to local reporters prior to the ribbon cutting. She said the AMC work force “to the person, they absolutely love this community. Quality of life is up and what we don’t miss is the traffic. What we enjoy here is a sense of community that you don’t have living in Washington, D.C. … Here we are part of a greater community, and the work force absolutely loves it.”
And being that the ribbon cutting was coined a “touchdown ceremony,” it was not surprising that one reporter asked Dunwoody that popular football question that Southerners often ask newcomers to the Southeastern Conference: “Who is your favorite college football team?”
“I don’t think I have a commitment to a team. I’m an Army brat, so I have teams everywhere,” she said, while also conceding with a smile that the Army’s football team is among her favorites.