By Kari Hawkins, AMCOctober 1, 2019
REDSTONE ARSENAL, Ala. -- Community partnerships and a diverse mission set make Redstone Arsenal a worldwide leader in terms of science and technology, logistics, space operations, missile defense and homeland security, the Arsenal's senior commander told a group of local leaders Sept. 27.
"Redstone Arsenal is one of the most influential, one of the most important Army installations. It's a national treasure with its importance based on its mission sets and their effects," said Redstone senior commander Lt. Gen. Ed Daly.
"With tenants like the FBI; the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, and Missile Defense Agency, it's not enough to say this is an Army post. This is a Federal Center of Excellence with worldwide implications."
Daly's comments came during a luncheon meeting at The Summit for the Redstone Community Relations Committee, which consists of about 50 business, professional and elected leaders committed to working to address priorities important to the future of Redstone Arsenal. The committee was formed in 1957, but its name was recently changed from Army Community Relations Committee to Redstone Community Relations Committee to reflect the growing diversity of its mission set and the growing involvement of leaders outside of Madison County.
"Changing the name was important because it's more than just the Army now. Redstone encompasses so much, so many different agencies. And, it's not just Huntsville, but the whole community of North Alabama and the Tennessee Valley that needs to be part of this committee," said committee co-chair Mike Segrest. "As we move forward, we are committed to be more hands-on and more engaged in helping to solve problems for the whole community and for Redstone."
Challenges facing Redstone and its surrounding communities include the need to recruit and retain a younger workforce of skilled, talented and educated employees who will fill voids caused by retirements of the aging Redstone workforce, to expand transportation options and infrastructure to address the needs of a growing community, and to provide new and innovative quality of life amenities for families.
When the committee's name was changed, committee co-chairs worked with Daly to re-define the committee's charter and goals.
"In some cases, the goals were the same as three or five decades ago -- economic development, workforce development, education, infrastructure," Daly said.
"This committee has made tremendous contributions in these areas, but they continue to be a priority in our plan for the future. We at Redstone Arsenal couldn't success without this committee's support. I really feel there's a mutually beneficial relationship that transcends all boundaries. We have grown up together. We are inextricably linked through our interests, our culture, and our goals and objectives."
Last year, when Daly briefed the committee, he talked to them about the Arsenal's growth in terms of the FBI, ATF, NASA and the Army's Futures Command, and the development plan for the Arsenal that includes the Redstone Gateway at Gate 9 and Exploration Park in the northwest section of the Arsenal.
"Many of the things I briefed last year have now arrived," Daly said. "We may not have gotten the Futures Command, but we were a big winner in terms of the two cross functional teams that are now here. We have also added Hypersonics and Directed Energy to our mission set, which is groundbreaking in terms of the future of the Army's key weapon systems, and the Army Materiel Command has expanded its worldwide mission to include 190,000 employees in 41 countries."
The luncheon included updates from Marshall Space Flight Director Jodi Singer, the FBI's Rob Hamilton, the Space and Missile Defense Command's James Johnson and the ATF'S JD Underwood. All touched on current and future plans for growth at Redstone. In addition, Defense Acquisition University Dean Mark Lumb reviewed how DAU is providing certification programs in support of the Army's modernization efforts.
"We haven't seen growth like this at Redstone in many decades," Daly said. "We are thriving. We are increasing our mission set and expanding. There is an enthusiasm and the excitement for where we are going at Redstone Arsenal. This is unprecedented in terms of expansion and growth. We have a 10-year growth plan that is setting the conditions for the future."