FORT BRAGG, N.C.--Senior Army commanders, municipal and state leaders and invited guests from local civilian communities attended the groundbreaking ceremony at Fort Bragg, N.C., Dec. 9 for the centerpiece facility of local projects mandated by the 2005 Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC).

The ceremony marked the beginning of a multi-year construction project to build the future home of U.S. Army Forces Command (FORSCOM) and U.S. Army Reserve Command (USARC) headquarters.

The scheduled move of the two commands from Fort McPherson to Fort Bragg in 2011 is the cornerstone of the local BRAC plan, which will maximize use of the installation.

"Today\'s ceremony marks an important milestone in the efforts to re-station the [commands]," said Gen. Charles C. Campbell, commander, FORSCOM.

The new facility will replace two separate headquarters buildings at Fort McPherson, co-locating the four-star FORSCOM headquarters with the three-star USARC headquarters.

Although sharing one new, approximately 700,000-square-foot facility, the two commands will retain separate identities. Scheduled to provide work space for more than 2,700 Soldiers and Civilian staff members, the new facility is scheduled for completion in the summer of 2011.

"Today we begin the physical construction of the state-of-the-art command and control facility that will enhance the overall readiness of our Army and of our nation. It is going to be a wonderful facility," said Campbell.

As the Army's largest command, FORSCOM is responsible for more than 750,000 active and Reserve component Soldiers worldwide, which will add to the significance of Fort Bragg as a center of military influence and importance.

"This modern, combined headquarters will also help to create an even greater level of cooperation and teamwork between FORSCOM and USARC by bringing them together under one roof," said Campbell.

USARC is responsible for the command and control of all the nation's Army reserve forces, and it provides the logistical, operational and functional oversight to ensure wartime readiness of Army reserve units.

During the ceremony, Campbell expressed his gratitude for those involved in the design, development and construction of the new headquarters facility.

"We are able to break ground today on this facility because of the hard work, the diligence, the persistence and the talent of many people in many different organizations," said Campbell. "We must and we will continue to take care of our Soldiers and their Families. This is a covenant that we will keep and will ensure that they (our Soldiers) are properly equipped and led. We should be proud of what's been accomplished thus far."

Lt. Gen. Jack C. Stultz, chief, Army Reserve, and commander, USARC, also expressed appreciation to the Soldiers and local military and civilian communities during the ceremony.

"On behalf of the 200,000 Army Reserve Soldiers that I represent, thank you for what you're doing for them and for your support," Stultz said.

The influx of hundreds of Soldiers, approximately 1,700 Army Civilian staff members and their Family members could draw thousands of additional people to the 11-county region from defense firms and contractors.

Ultimately, this relocation and the business opportunities that will accompany it promise to provide an increase of higher paying jobs into the area, contributing to the quality of life for the whole community, on and off post, and bring more opportunities for Army Families and community members, Campbell said.

This, in turn, supports two of the tenants of the Fort Bragg Army Family Covenant.