FORT MONMOUTH, N.J. (Army News Service, March 25, 2008) -- Army officials broke ground March 17 on a new $477-million complex at Aberdeen Proving Ground, Md., marking the start of construction of "Phase One" of the Team C4ISR campus for Command, Control, Communications, Computers, Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance.

Under the construction contract, Tomkins-Turner Grunley/Kinsley, a joint venture, will build five administration and laboratory buildings, a secure shop and warehouse, an auditorium and a training facility of 1.5 million square feet.

Assistant Secretary of the Army for Installations and Environment Keith Eastin participated in the ceremony along with: Gen. Benjamin S. Griffin, AMC commander; Maj. Gen. Dennis L. Via, Communications-Electronics Life Cycle Management Command and Fort Monmouth commander; Maj. Gen. Fred D. Robinson, Research, Development and Engineering Command commander; Brig, Gen. Todd Semonite, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers North Atlantic Division commander; and Maryland Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown were.

"As we begin a new chapter in our proud history, we do so with great confidence in continuing to execute our mission, along with a renewed sense of commitment of exceptional service to our nation," said Maj. Gen. Via from Monmouth. "We also remain committed to taking care of our people who are front and center and at the very heart of everything we do."

Gen. Griffin noted that the successful transition of the C4ISR mission to APG will be essential to warfighter support.

"The challenge I give to the leaders here and to the folks back at Fort Monmouth, Fort Belvoir and other places around the Army Materiel Command is that today is the beginning," he said. "There's much work to be done. Thank you for the work you do day in and day out. There is no more critical mission to our nation than the work you do."

Maj. Gen. Robinson said the new complex will be the most visible part of the changed installation APG will soon become. "We are looking at the future of high-tech that will make a difference every day to our warfighters and the future of our nation," he said.

Every Team-C4ISR organization currently located at Fort Monmouth will occupy some space in the initial phase of construction, Mike Vetter, CECOM Life Cycle Management Command deputy chief of staff for Logistics and Engineering, said.

"Phase Two" of the construction is slated to begin in 2009 with three new buildings and renovations of existing buildings.

The two phases will create the "C4ISR Center of Excellence" and a work environment similar to a college campus that will be significantly different from the one at Fort Monmouth, according to Vetter. Mission personnel at Fort Monmouth are currently spread across 40 to 50 buildings. At APG the same people will occupy a much smaller 16-building complex.

"The entire complex fits on a plot of land between three and four thousand square feet making it easy to meet with people," Vetter said. "Parking will be closer to workplaces than it is here. Buildings will be dedicated more along business and functional areas; and people who work in similar mission areas will probably work in the same building."

Dave Stroebel, a technical writer with the Logistics and Readiness Center's Command and Control Systems/Avionics Directorate who attended the groundbreaking, said that for him the ceremony and transition represents "a new chapter in our lives and a great opportunity for many of us--career-wise."

Another attendee, Communications-Electronics Research, Development and Engineering Center computer engineer intern Jason Yabut said "it was a great experience to witness history in the making and the BRAC [Base Realignment and Closure] plans unfold before our eyes. You look now at what seems to be a simple piece of land but, in reality, this is going to be the new home of C4ISR and the future of supporting the warfighter's needs."

Alpesh Patel, CERDEC computer engineer intern, said it was "an honor to be part of a groundbreaking for the future home of Team C4ISR."

"Commanding General Robinson and Commanding General Via have always stated that, along with the mission, it is also a priority for the teams from Aberdeen Proving Ground and C4ISR to 'take care of our people,'" Patel said. "It is time for 'our people' to return the favor and continue to take care of the warfighter. This is a great opportunity for interns to take advantage of and to do something special for our current and future warfighter."

The movement of equipment and personnel to APG will be planned and conducted in phased stages prior to 2010 to ensure stability of operations during the relocation without interruption, officials said.

There are already dozens of members of advance-party Team C4ISR personnel working in temporary work locations at APG.

"Working together, we'll meet the challenges of relocating our complex mission; and we'll continue to excel together in supporting our nation's warfighters and the Global War on Terror," Via said.

(Henry Kearney works for AMC Public Affairs.)