Check out FBI’s Disney-like entrance to Redstone Arsenal campus
al.com July 28, 2022
(Tribune News Service) — Welcome to the FBI at Redstone Arsenal.
With plans for two campuses at the Army post in Huntsville and eventually more than 5,000 employees, the FBI has released a photo of its well-known but rarely seen gateway to its sprawling north campus within the confines of the arsenal.
It’s easily seen for those with access to the restricted Army base. But otherwise, the FBI has been reluctant to release a photo of the entrance. The bureau released a photo of the entrance on its website in May.
At a briefing at the annual Redstone Update in 2019, a now-former FBI official spoke about the entrance. Rob Hamilton, then a senior executive with the FBI, said a photo of the entrance “went viral” within the bureau. The FBI at the time declined to release the photo.
“Somebody wrote back and said it looked like we are pulling up to the Magic Kingdom at Disney World,” Hamilton said in 2019. “That’s exactly what we want our people to feel like when they are pulling up to work every day. That’s part of that tone-setting that’s very important to us.”
Hamilton added, “When they come in to work every day, there is no grander entrance to an FBI facility across the country than what we have here.”
That entrance leads to what the FBI has described as a “college-like campus” on Redstone Arsenal that represents an investment of more than $2 billion, according to Sen. Richard Shelby – who spearheaded efforts to attract the bureau to north Alabama.
Nicolas Dimos, acting assistant director/CFO, FBI finance and facilities division, said at the Redstone Update last December that five facilities on the campus are scheduled to open by the end of 2022.
“The investment that has been placed in us in the FBI in Redstone here is the largest single investment in the FBI in our history,” Dimos said last December.
FBI Director Christopher Wray attended a groundbreaking at Redstone last year for the $200 million Innovation Center, which will be used as a training space focusing on technical and cyber training as well as data exploitation.
Dimos also said the FBI is ramping up its hiring to a planned peak of 5,200 employees by 2028. The FBI currently has more than 1,300 employees working at Redstone. Another 2,500 people are expected to attend training at the FBI facilities annually.
Redstone Arsenal has provided 1,600 acres to the FBI within its secured gates. The entrance to the north campus provides another layer of security.
The FBI also has plans, Dimos said, for major expansion on what it terms its south campus on the arsenal near its Hazardous Devices School. The south campus covers about 900 acres. Plans call for the south campus to be the site “where we have a lot of our hands on advanced and specialized training, particularly for our law enforcement officers and electronic technicians.”
The south campus will build upon the FBI’s training headquarters at Quantico, Va., and create a “real-world” training environment in a controlled setting. A master plan has been completed and groundbreaking is expected next year. The south campus is expected to be operational by 2025.
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