Shovels hit the dirt on March 11, signifying the first steps toward building a state-of-the-art munitions disassembly complex at Picatinny Arsenal.Ground was officially broken during a ceremony at the location where a new Explosive Ordnance Disposal Technology Facility (EODTF) will be built over the next two years.The ceremony was attended by EOD technicians across multiple government and military agencies, local law enforcement and elected officials, as well as Picatinny Arsenal employees“It’s a great day to be in the service,” said Brig. Gen. Alfred F. Abramson III, Commanding General, Picatinny Arsenal.“Those of us wearing the uniform; it does not matter if you are in the Army, Coast Guard, Navy, Air Force, or Marines. It does not matter if you are a first responder in that capacity, but it is a great day to be in the service, not just for our nation, but service to our community, in this particular environment, in this particular portfolio."The facility will include a 9,728-square-foot munitions disassembling facility, a 12,537-square-foot robotics experimentation and field operation facility, and five munition-storage magazines totaling 6,000 square feet.The U.S. Army Combat Capabilities Development Command Armaments Center (CCDC AC), Picatinny Arsenal’s Explosive Ordnance Disposal Technology Division, will have the responsibility to develop, validate, and verify munitions disassembly procedures for all U.S. Army conventional munitions, as well as first-seen foreign munitions – the only U.S. Army organization authorized to perform this complex function.“I know that we are celebrating the creation of this EOD building today, but I also challenge all of us that it is not only the brick and mortar and windows that make this a great place, it really is the folks that work here on the installation that make it a great place to, number one, work, but also provide the skillset necessary to work in that lethal space,” the general continued. “I want to thank everyone that works here on Picatinny to continue to be the center of excellence that we call lethality."The EODTF will provided capabilities to accelerate: munitions disassembly, render safe procedures, development of new operating concepts involving robots, armed robots and robot-based munitions delivery systems, and develop new tools and applications to advance the role of robots in the EOD field operations and maintenance.The facility will enable the Army to safely, efficiently, and effectively perform the full spectrum of analysis and-develop appropriate countermeasures for survivability of armor, weapon systems, munitions, personnel, and aircraft against emerging threats."I don’t know how many years we’ve been dreaming about this, and then how many years it took to plan it, and then how many years it took to get the funding for it….but it is here,” said CCDC AC Director John F. Hedderich III. “The ground is cleared. In less than two years there will be engineers and scientists and people with boots on, from all the services, coming in and out of this facility,” the director continued.“The way I like to look at it, I’m a grandpa now. It’s not really about what we are doing today, but we are kind of making a timeless gift to our future. The future’s warfighters. When they go into the service in 18 years or whenever, they go back to their families, safely, just like we want them to. It is because of the work we do now, the decisions we make now, that will influence those people."Congress approved $41 million for the project, which is expected to be completed late next year.