REDSTONE ARSENAL, Ala. –Despite the COVID-19 pandemic creating many challenges in 2020, Redstone Arsenal remained resilient and continued to thrive as the economic engine of the Tennessee Valley.
That was the message from many Redstone leaders during the 2020 Redstone Update, hosted virtually by the Huntsville and Madison County Chamber of Commerce, Nov. 5.
“We’re here today virtually to shed light on the amazing things happening on Redstone Arsenal,” said Kevin Barnes, chair of the Huntsville and Madison County Chamber of Commerce. “Growth on Redstone over the last decade has been unparalleled and has helped the regional economy to soar to new heights.”
In his address, Army Materiel Command Deputy Commanding General and Redstone Arsenal Senior Commander Lt. Gen. Donnie Walker praised the arsenal’s world class workforce and stressed the importance of investing in the next generation of talent as Redstone is expected to grow to 50,000 over the next five years.
“Redstone’s ability to support current and future missions is contingent on our support infrastructure,” said Walker adding that over the next six years, Redstone has programmed an additional investment of more than $134 million in infrastructure and $675 million in facilities.
The FBI’s $1 billion state-of-the-art campus is one of the arsenal’s newest facilities and is slated to bring nearly 3,000 employees from 12 divisions to the Tennessee Valley. With the FBI, Redstone will expand its intelligence and homeland defense footprint, increasing the installation’s cyber, counterterrorism, ballistics and explosive device capabilities.
In addition to installation growth, the event highlighted organizations across the installation’s four core competencies: logistics; space operations and missile defense; research, development, test and engineering; and intelligence and homeland defense.
Representatives from 17 different Redstone tenants presented a virtual update of their organization’s ongoing efforts, current focus areas and changes within the past year.
Home to the Department of the Army, the Department of Defense, NASA and the Department of Justice, Redstone continues to make strides in supporting crucial mission requirements.
U.S. Army Security Assistance Command Deputy to the Commanding General Myra Gray highlighted the command’s efforts during the year, saying USASAC provided security assistance and foreign military sales to U.S. allies and partners around the world with more than 6,500 in foreign military sales cases this year.
Program Executive Office Aviation highlighted recent initiatives and how the organization supports the Army’s different aviation platforms.
“PEO Aviation supports aviation capabilities by using advanced and additive manufacturing to develop the next generation of aviation vehicles,” said Pat Mason, deputy program executive officer of aviation in his update to the workforce.
During the Space and Missile Defense portion of the update, Air Force Maj. Gen. Garrant, Missile Defense Agency’s Program Executive for Ground-based Weapon Systems, highlighted the development of the Ballistic Missile Defense System and NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center Director Jody Singer spoke on the development and testing of the next rocket design which will take America back to the moon under the Artemis program.
“Our nation’s leaders are looking to us to meet emerging threats and challenges by modernizing the development of cutting edge technologies and solving complex issues,” said Walker.
During the year, Redstone Arsenal has risen to the challenge of meeting the biggest emerging threat of 2020: the COVID-19 pandemic, he said.
“Redstone Arsenal and our community partners in the Tennessee Valley are resilient, and because of our resiliency we are thriving once again,” said Walker. “Our Fox Army health Clinic staff sustained 83% of operational services through the peak months of the pandemic from March to June.”
Redstone Arsenal’s tenant organizations put the health and safety of the workforce and families first by instituting maximum telework capabilities.
Redstone is keeping in line with the Army’s People First priority, said Walker, by providing a low-risk environment for arsenal employees.
“You are making a difference in the security and defense of the nation,”
said Walker addressing Redstone’s nearly 44,000 person workforce across 78 government organizations. “The agencies and organizations on the arsenal embrace diversity and cultivate a culture of dignity, respect, equality and inclusion for all employees because you are our greatest strength.”
For Walker, Redstone Arsenal and the surrounding community is home. The Clay County, Alabama native and Auburn University alumnus said he looks forward to maximizing resources through community partnership.
“Redstone Arsenal appreciates our rich history of collaboration,” said Walker expressing his gratitude for the community’s continued support. “We are inextricably linked to you.”