On Monday afternoon it was announced the Major Expansion of Picatinny Arsenal’s Vital National Security Mission, as they will build a new Munitions Disassembly Complex on the base.
In addition to its critical national security mission, Picatinny Arsenal is Morris County’s largest employer and an enormous economic engine for the region, generating over 13,000 direct and indirect jobs, and nearly $1 billion in annual economic activity.
Contract awarded for $41M Munitions Disassembly Complex
U.S. Senator Bob Menendez, Ranking Member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and Congresswoman Mikie Sherrill (N.J.-11), who sits on the House Armed Services Committee, today joined leaders from Picatinny Arsenal, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) and Picatinny Enhancement Coalition (PEC) to announce the contract award for the construction of a new, $41 million state-of-the-art Munitions Disassembly Complex, representing a major investment in and expansion of Picatinny’s vital national security mission.
The construction of a new Munitions Disassembly Complex includes a munitions disassembly facility, robotics experimentation/field office, render-safe area, day storage magazine and long-term storage magazines with a storage shed.
The History of Picatinny Arsenal:
First established in 1880 as the Dover Powder Depot, Picatinny Arsenal in Morris County is a unique, comprehensive armament facility spanning over 6,000 acres and responsible for developing virtually all of the Army’s lethal weapons systems.
New Munitions Disassembly Complex:
The state-of-the-art Munitions Disassembly Complex modernizes Picatinny’s Explosive Ordnance Disposal Technology (EODT) Directorate, which is responsible for developing, validating and verifying munitions disassembly procedures for all U.S. conventional munitions as well as first-seen foreign munitions—the only U.S. Army organization authorized to perform this complex function. The expanded capabilities of the new facility will further accelerate development of new operating concepts involving Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) robots, armed robots and robot-based munitions delivery systems, and develop new tools and applications to advance the role of robots in EOD missions.
“Picatinny is the DoD’s Joint Center of Excellence for Guns and Ammunition and specializes in delivering lethality to the force, but it also has another very important mission, and that is Explosives Ordnance Disposal,” said PEC President Bill Morelli. “This new facility will help grow Picatinny’s expertise and capability in EOD and improve the safety and security of our men and women in uniform as they go about their mission of protecting this great nation.”
The new facility serves as recognition for the importance of Picatinny Arsenal’s armaments and ammunition mission, which for nearly 20 years has played the lead role as lifecycle manager of all conventional munitions for the U.S. Armed Forces, achieving record levels of readiness for our nation’s Warfighters. The federal investment is also a testament to the exceptional, highly-trained and experienced women and men working on the base.
Sen. Menendez’s Remarks
“The construction of this Munitions Disassembly Complex will secure Picatinny Arsenal’s future as America’s leader in the advancement of armaments technology and munitions innovation,” said Sen. Menendez. “Simply put, Picatinny is the brain power behind our nation’s firepower. Here, some of the brightest minds in armament technology, munitions, and chemical and mechanical engineering come together to keep our military on the cutting edge of lethality and precision. I want to thank everyone here today for working together to get the job done. We came together as a team, and we put New Jersey first—because Picatinny Arsenal always puts America first.”
“Picatinny Arsenal has always played a critical role in the defense of our country,” Rep. Sherrill said. “From the Revolutionary War to today’s modernization plans, the work performed at Picatinny strengthens our armed forces and supports their missions throughout the world. The Munitions Disassembly Complex is essential to our military’s mission and to keeping our soldiers safer in the field. This needed facility will enable our military to safely and effectively analyze and dispose of explosives found on the battlefield. The entire New Jersey delegation recognizes Picatinny’s central importance, and we will continue to fight for the men and women who work there as we work to complete the National Defense Authorization Act.”
“Picatinny’s specialized facilities and its highly talented and dedicated workforce together are what make it unique and so critical to our nation,” said Brig. Gen. Alfred F. Abramson, commanding general of Picatinny Arsenal.
Sen. Menendez, Rep. Sherrill and the state’s entire Congressional delegation fought to secure the critical funding and worked with Gov. Phil Murphy and DEP to expedite the necessary reviews that had to be completed prior to the contract award.
"The Army Corps, with the assistance of timely permit reviews by New Jersey DEP and Department of Defense Explosives Safety Board were able to award the contract for this important project," said Col. Thomas Asbery, the Army Corps' New York District commander. "The New York District is proud to be part of Picatinny’s great role in the Army’s modernization program through its scientific research and technology development. I would like to thank all of our partners for their support and look forward to working with them in the future."
Congress approved the $41 million in funding for the Munitions Disassembly Complex in Sept. 2018, but that money was put in jeopardy when President Trump announced in March plans to divert appropriated military spending to pay for a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border, and specifically including Picatinny on its list of endangered projects. Sen. Menendez co-led a bipartisan delegation letter in opposition with Congressman Donald Norcross (N.J.-01), the state’s highest-ranked member on the House Armed Services Committee. The letter was also cosigned by Rep. Sherrill and Sen. Cory Booker.
“Since its inception, Picatinny Arsenal has served as a leader in military research and munitions manufacturing,” Sen. Booker said. “Today’s announcement is a dual investment in both Picatinny’s mission-critical research and the safety and security of our service members abroad. Picatinny Arsenal’s contributions to our state, our nation, and our troops are without equal, and I’m grateful to its leaders and my colleagues in the House and Senate for helping secure these key resources.”
“This new Munitions Disassembly Complex will enhance our military’s technological capabilities and provide research and innovation opportunities for our highly-skilled workforce at Picatinny,” said Rep. Norcross, a senior member of the House Armed Services Committee and Chair of the Tactical Air and Land Forces Subcommittee. “As the only comprehensive armament facility of its kind in the United States, Picatinny Arsenal plays a unique and indispensable role in our national defense. I visited the arsenal twice this year along with Congresswomen Sherrill and fought to secure this critical funding, and I thank Senator Menendez and the New Jersey delegation for their commitment to our servicemembers and the incredible workforce at our state’s military installations.”