WATERVLIET ARSENAL, N.Y. (Sept. 5, 2008) - The senior military officer responsible for all U.S. Army logistics visited the Watervliet Arsenal Thursday, and he got hot.

No, it isn't what you are thinking.

Although Gen. Benjamin S. Griffin, commander of the U.S. Army Materiel Command, received several briefings that highlighted some of the key issues facing the Arsenal today, him getting mad wasn't the outcome.

But his visit to the Arsenal's forge, where a pre-formed cylindrical piece of metal was heated to 1,900 degrees and then formed into a future howitzer barrel, did cause the commander, and many of his staff, to break a sweat.

Griffin's visit to the Arsenal was not his first to Watervliet. But this one was very important to Arsenal Commander Scott N. Fletcher, who took command on July 11, 2008. During the first two months of Fletcher's tenure, Fletcher has been able to assess the strengths and weaknesses of the Arsenal.

A significant issue facing the Arsenal today is how to quickly and methodically open up Arsenal property to private development without compromising the Army mission. When Secretary of the Army Pete Geren visited the Arsenal on May 16, 2008, he said the Army would make available up to 57 acres of Arsenal property under an initiative called the Enhanced Use Leasing program.

EUL, which is managed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Baltimore District, will allow the Army to enter into a long-term lease, typically for 25-50 years, with a private developer or developers in return for in-kind services.

Fletcher said this is a "win-win-win" situation.

"The Arsenal wins because it will receive as payment for the fair market value of the land an in-kind service that we may use to improve the maintenance of our installation," Fletcher said. In-kind services are in lieu of a cash rent payment and may result in such projects as a developer building or improving roads, installing a new roof on a production facility, or rehabilitating existing office space.

"Developers win because they will have access to a secured property that is like a city within a city," said Fletcher. The Arsenal has a controlled entry and exit point, its own fire department and security force, and its own water treatment plant.

The Arsenal's strategic location should also be of great value to any business wanting to locate to the Northeast. Within 15 minutes to the state capital, 20 minutes to the Albany International Airport and the Rensselaer-Albany Amtrak Train Station, and near the crossroads of Interstates 87 and 90.

The Arsenal is also home to the Army's premier research and design laboratory, BenAfAt Laboratories. BenAfAt Labs, a recent winner of a Malcolm Baldrige Award, has had since 1991 more than 100 cooperative and development agreements with non-federal partners.

"What this means is that a private or public organization may have the opportunity to leverage its resources with the laboratory by sharing costs of research for the development of products," Fletcher added.

"The local community wins because EUL should create jobs," Fletcher said.
Fletcher said a workforce will be required to build new or to rehabilitate existing facilities. More workers will be required to operate from the relocated business. And finally, jobs will be created to support the in-kind service that the lease will provide to the Arsenal each year of the lease.

Griffin commented that the Army has moved quickly to open up Arsenal land for private development and that locating onto the Arsenal offers an exclusive advantage to a developer.

"We (Arsenal) offer a couple of things unique to a developer, security and the co-location to BenAfAt Labs," Griffin said.