Redstone Arsenal still growing and seeking young tech talent

By LEE ROOP | Alabama Media Group, Birmingham | Published: June 12, 2019

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (Tribune News Service) — A top military commander at Redstone Arsenal says the big base is “thriving” with new missions and a “never better” relationship with local, state and regional government. He also thinks it has a good case to make to young technology talent looking for work.

Lt. Gen. Ed Daly is deputy commander of the Army Materiel Command headquartered at Redstone and the senior commander of the nearly 40,000-acre base in Huntsville.

In a briefing with reporters last week, Daly said the arsenal has between 40,000 and 45,000 workers reporting to its resident organizations daily and is growing on several fronts. Those organizations, which include NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center and the FBI, have four basic missions — space exploration and ballistic missile defense, intelligence and homeland defense, research and development, and worldwide logistics for the Army.

The arsenal is frequently in the running for new commands and missions. Most recently, it was chosen as the new home of key FBI research and training divisions. It is a finalist for the new Air Force Space Command, and it was a finalist to house the Army’s new Futures Command. San Antonio won that competition, but Daly said Redstone was given responsibility for three key Futures Command missions:

— Vertical lift. The Army wants to develop five new kinds of helicopters for its troops’ future needs. The team leading that development is now headquartered at Redstone.

— Position, navigation and timing. Troops use GPS now to navigate, position equipment and forces, and aim weapons, but GPS is increasingly at risk of interference. Another team working on the future of those critical needs is also based at Redstone.

— Hypersonics and directed energy. The Army’s pursuit of faster-than-sound weapons is also focused at Redstone, and that area is also a major mission in the military.

Add those three new missions to the continuing growth of the FBI at Redstone, Daly said, and growth is inevitable even if nothing else changes.

Daly said the growth in the Tennessee Valley now helps the arsenal do its mission better. He cited ongoing improvements in infrastructure, roads and education.

“From the Tennessee Valley’s perspective, it’s important for that Redstone continue to grow and that they continue to set the conditions for the future,” Daly said. “The projections I’ve seen say that Huntsville could potentially be the largest city in Alabama in the next several years. To do that, we’ve got to set the conditions for success. We can’t rest on our laurels. We’ve got to look toward the future.”

“Our challenge to each other is we’ve got to think about the future,” Daly said of the arsenal and its surrounding governments. “What do we need to do to set the conditions for the future? How do we make sure we continue to have the workforce that can both support the mission on the arsenal and the mission set in the local community?”

Daly said the Army and other organizations on the arsenal such as the FBI and NASA have what he thinks is a good three-point argument to make to new tech graduates:

1. Financial security.

2. Opportunities that fit their skills.

3. Opportunities to “continue to expand their intellectual and professional horizons. Broaden their experience. Giving them training and educational opportunities so they continue to progress. I think that’s the secret to how you get the best and the brightest.”

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