HUNTSVILLE, AL (WAFF) - Adding to the workforce! Redstone Arsenal is growing in a lot of ways and that continues to bring more jobs to the installation and the Tennessee Valley.
Some of the highest ranking military leaders and local officials addressed the arsenal’s ongoing expansion and economic impact on Thursday at the Von Braun Center.
Lt. Gen. Edward Daly gave the annual “State of the Arsenal” address to a crowd of hundreds as the keynote speaker.
“Redstone Arsenal is having a significant, worldwide impact on our nation’s defense,” he said. “From space exploration, to the eradication of IEDs, to global logistics, the Arsenal’s workforce is absolutely committed to preserving our nation’s competitive edge.”
It was all part of the annual Redstone Update hosted by The Huntsville/Madison County Chamber of Commerce. Officials shared information about the important work taking place on Arsenal, which is the economic engine that powers roughly half of the Huntsville metro economy.
John Nerger, Senior Military Advisor to Huntsville/Madison County Chamber of Commerce, took part in one of the panels.
“The most important necessary ingredient to a good relationship is communication and what the event today is all about is strengthening the existing bond between Redstone Arsenal and the larger community and its resident, both business and government,” he explained.
The discussions provided insight about the commands, federal agencies and organizations on the installation.
Panel sessions touched on a number of topics, including Logistics, Space Operations & Missile Defense, Research, Development, Testing & Engineering, Intelligence and Homeland Defense.
“The venue affords the important organizations located on Redstone Arsenal to communicate what their priorities are, changes in development, changes in mission. All of those impact business opportunities for those who work here side by side in business and industry,” Nerger stated. “It also gives information to public sector officials like our mayors who are trying to create the right business friendly environment.”
One of the big topics at the event was Redstone Arsenal’s expanding workforce. It’s expected to grow to nearly 50,000 by 2025.
“There’s 43,000 people working at Redstone Arsenal right now and our projections are in the next five years is that we may go to 50,000 people making an average of $90,000 a year is $450 million into your economy year in and year out so it’s great to see the growth and the sustainment of every one of the agencies sitting at Redstone Arsenal,” said Huntsville Mayor Tommy Battle.
He added that the city continues its efforts to stay ahead of all of the growth.
“That’s why we’re constantly talking about new road systems and new roads being built. That’s to keep the same quality of life that we have today and have that same quality of life tomorrow as we grow,” Battle stated.
Agencies like the ATF and FBI are developing an even larger footprint on the arsenal and officials say there continues to be a strong STEM workforce across the region, aiding recruiting efforts and fueling success.
“As you know Team Redstone drives a multitude of contracts throughout the Tennessee Valley to support its many missions, infusing approximately $18 billion of federal funds into the local economy,” LTG Daly said during his speech. “Today, Redstone Arsenal accounts for 9.8% of Alabama’s GDP and 69% of the Tennessee Valley’s GDP. That’s about $25+ billion.”
Daly also touched on a number of projects underway, including improvements to Gate 9 (main gate), Redstone Gateway, and Exploration Park which is adjacent to the U.S. Space and Rocket Center and allows for expansion of space camp. He says the installation’s leadership is also exploring ways to provide access to the public for the different recreational areas the arsenal offers.
Redstone Arsenal is also home to two of the eight cross functional teams for the new Army Futures Command which focuses on modernization.
“There’s some revolutionary changes and game changing initiatives taking place on the arsenal,” the general added. “We still have space and capacity to grow and I’m confident based on this area, the Tennessee Valley and Team Redstone, being the gold standard, that the best is yet to come.”