Redstone Well-Postured For BRAC Factor
September 14, 2011
REDSTONE ARSENAL, Ala.--"How do we want Redstone Arsenal to be portrayed?"
"What do we want Redstone Arsenal to look like?"
"What's Redstone Arsenal's overall mission?"
Back in early 2003, those were the questions being asked by Arsenal leadership as they prepared for an Army transformation that would have a substantial and lasting effect on the Arsenal and its employees.
From those questions came the data, presentations and community input that put the Arsenal on a course to become a big-time recipient of Army changes through the 2005 Base Realignment and Closure Act. Fast forward to today, with the Sept. 15 BRAC completion date looming, and all transformation goals have been met with facilities in place to take on the new missions brought to Redstone through BRAC.
Now in place because of BRAC are:
• The $225.6 million, 800,000-square-foot Phase III wing of the Von Braun Complex for Missile Defense Agency employees;
• The $138.7 million, 400,000-square foot headquarters for the Army Materiel Command and the Security Assistance Command;
• The $53 million Rotary Wing Center and hangar and the Redstone Test Center headquarters;
• The $4.8 million Army Materiel Command Band facility;
• The $6.8 million 2nd Recruiting Brigade headquarters; and
• The $2.6 million 2nd Recruiting Medical Battalion headquarters.
In all BRAC construction has totaled $431.5 million at Redstone Arsenal since 2006, and represents much of the $542.8 million of Arsenal construction during that time. Before BRAC, the Arsenal's military construction budget averaged between $40 million and $50 million a year.
There's no doubt BRAC has changed the Arsenal in more ways than construction. Today, there are about 6,000 more jobs at Redstone, taking the total Arsenal work force to just over 35,000. In addition, more senior members of Army leadership now call Huntsville home and other non-related BRAC growth in the number of Arsenal organizations has been spurred on by BRAC. Indirectly, the BRAC factor has led to upgrades or expansions for many quality-of-life facilities offered by Family and Morale Welfare and Recreation at Redstone; upgrades of Arsenal infrastructure; upgrades and expansions at the Redstone Airfield and Fox Army Health Center; continued road and gate improvements to address new and increasing traffic patterns; and the beginning of the 468-acre office and support services development known as Redstone Gateway.
But how did the 2005 BRAC get here?
In 2003, following on the heels of the Army transformation that put Army garrisons under the command of the Installation Management Command, an announcement was made that further transformation would be achieved through a fifth BRAC used by the Department of Defense and Congress to close excess military installations, and realign the total military asset inventory to reduce expenditures on operations and maintenance. The fourth BRAC in 1995 brought many aviation assets to Redstone Arsenal from St. Louis, and Arsenal leaders hoped that the Arsenal was positioned to gain even more in the 2005 BRAC.
Col. Bob Devlin, who was Garrison commander at the time, had two major tasks at Redstone when he became Garrison commander in the summer of 2002. The first was to move garrison assets from under the Aviation and Missile Command and set up those assets as a garrison under the Installation Management Command. The transformation doubled the size of the Garrison's employees, mission and budget.
Devlin's second major task -- and one that continued throughout his administration -- was to lead the Garrison's efforts through BRAC 2005. Those efforts helped Devlin and others on his staff define the purpose and roles of Redstone Arsenal in supporting Soldiers and the Army mission.
"Early on the Garrison itself ended up having a bigger role in BRAC than before. The Garrison became proprietor for the site," Devlin said.
Soon after the BRAC 2005 announcement, Garrison employees began meeting to prepare the installation for the requirements of the BRAC process. They were joined by AMCOM leadership, including then Maj. Gen. Larry Dodgen, Maj. Gen. Jim Pillsbury and Jim Flinn, deputy to the AMCOM commander, among others.
"We spent a lot of time defining the Team Redstone concept," Devlin said. "Early on we were asking: 'How do we want to be portrayed for BRAC? How do we want Redstone to look like? What's our overall mission?' These are questions that are good for planning, and they led us to themes that we used throughout the BRAC process.
"Those themes included integrated life cycle, the synergy of the whole community, location of Cummings Research Park, diversity of organizations, condition of infrastructure, community support and quick response to the war fighter."
That work prepared the Garrison to respond to requests by the Department of Defense.
"There were BRAC briefs and BRAC visits. We had general data calls. Ultimately, we sent 100,000 pages of data to respond to a standard list of questions," Devlin said. "And we understood throughout the process, that we had to make sure to rapidly respond to every request for data."
Through the process, Redstone was competing with 180 other installations who also wanted to be winners from BRAC.
Working alongside Devlin was Todd Hutto, who was tapped as the BRAC implementation team leader, or BITL.
"The main question was 'What does Redstone Arsenal do?' That's a really hard question to answer when you have such varied tenants as AMCOM, the Missile Defense Agency, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Missile and Space Intelligence Center and Marshall Space Flight Center," Hutto said. "How do you synthesize all those missions into something that makes sense?"
The Garrison team eventually came up with the "Rolling Doughnut" concept to describe Team Redstone and its missions.
"We used a circle and arrows that showed how all our missions are interconnected and how we visibly support each other. We defined ourselves as a life cycle management site with the Rolling Doughnut as a symbol of how we work together," Devlin said.
"We used the Javelin missile (which had great success in Afghanistan in 2002 and which is managed at Redstone through the Program Executive Office for Missiles and Space) as an example to show how we reach out and touch Soldiers and the Army."
Hutto credits Devlin with the "Rolling Doughnut" concept.
"All the organizations on Redstone Arsenal are linked and they are all together in this circular chart," Hutto said. "Even looking at it, it was hard to understand. But Bob Devlin could explain it in a way that made sense."
As the Garrison team -- which included 80 people from throughout the Arsenal -- built its BRAC briefing, things became even more complicated with requests for data from several different offices at the Pentagon, all operating under the auspices of the Department of the Army's Office of the Assistant Chief of Staff for Installation Management.
"We had to submit our data into COBRA, which was a massive data base that pulled together information from all the installations," Hutto said. "It used 4,000 to 5,000 data points to run models and scenarios."
And requirements kept changing as the date for the Redstone briefing at the Pentagon got closer. The Garrison team was told to prepare for a one-hour briefing. Then it became a two-hour briefing. It finally became an eight-hour briefing with power point slides.
"We went through 84 versions of our presentation in about a six-month process," Hutto said. "We were told we could talk about what we do, but not about what we wanted. And that was funny because after we went through eight hours of telling them what we do, Dr. Craig College (deputy assistant secretary of the Army for infrastructure analysis) asked us 'What do you want?'"
Devlin led the briefing with information about Redstone facilities and missions. Pillsbury took the second half of the briefing to explain the interconnectedness among Redstone tenants and missions.
Devlin said the congressional delegation -- including Sen. Richard Shelby, Sen. Jeff Sessions, Rep. Bud Cramer and Rep. Robert Aderholt -- were fully involved in Redstone's effort to win from BRAC 2005.
The Garrison effort also benefitted from the community's involvement as it sought out leadership support in addressing what may have been considered BRAC shortfalls, such as the lack of general officer housing, and in promoting community strengths, such as support for the military and educational opportunities.
"It was neat for the community because it's a real great case of the broader community and the Redstone community working together," Devlin said. "BRAC was about how you position your community for growth, and positioning for growth is something that's always going on. So, you have to include the broader community in your planning."
When BRAC 2005 was announced six months later in September of that year, Devlin said he and the Garrison team had no indication of what the outcome would be.
"We had trends. We had some feeling of what we thought we would get. But they did a pretty good job of not letting the word out," he said. "There were themes that we saw that could have an impact, such as how quickly people could get off base, reduction in commuting and less expenses. Huntsville ended up being 40 percent cheaper than D.C. (in terms of living and operating expenses)."
But the Garrison team was confident that there would be a positive outcome from BRAC 2005.
"We already had a successful case and, to some extent, we built on the case of St. Louis," Devlin said. "Success breeds success, and we were hoping that would be the case here. I was proud of what the team had done. I knew we had a good team both on and off the Arsenal."
The BRAC 2005 announcement was made about two weeks before Devlin left the Garrison command. The changes caused by BRAC at Redstone were subsequently implemented by the Garrison under the commands of Col. John Olshefski, then Col. Bob Pastorelli and, lastly, today's commander Col. John Hamilton.
"It felt great to go out with the BRAC announcement. BRAC was the last thing I wanted to do and I got it done," said Devlin, who is now the director of operations for Marshall Space Flight Center. "We did have success, although it was sad for what we lost (the 59th Ordnance Brigade and the Ordnance Munitions and Electronics Maintenance School). But it's great to see how it has affected the entire North Alabama community."
Hutto, who now works as a logistics management specialist at the Army Materiel Command at Redstone, would be the first one to volunteer if the Garrison needed to put together yet another BRAC-related team.
"It was a great run. I really enjoyed it and I would do it again in a heartbeat," he said. "With the current economic climate, I suspect BRAC could be another tool the Department of Defense could consider using in the future to create more efficiencies.
"And I think Redstone would do well in another BRAC. To me, Redstone is now like the south Pentagon. There are so many important missions here and so many diverse capabilities here. There are one-of-a-kind opportunities here that you don't have anywhere else. We are well-postured for the future."