The Army announced its 179,000-square-foot Army Cyber Command headquarters will be located at Fort Gordon, Ga., and it will consolidate Army cyber and network operations for the first time under a single commander.
“Cyber threats are real, sophisticated, growing and evolving,” Army Cyber’s commanding general, Lt. Gen. Edward C. Cardon, said in a statement. “The Army’s decision demonstrates support for unity of command and the importance of cyber to our Army and our nation.”
The Army selected Fort Gordon as the permanent location for Army Cyber headquarters over Fort Meade, Md., for operational and cost reasons, according to the Army announcement.
Army Cyber will continue to have a command liaison element co-located with U.S. Cyber Command at Fort Meade.
The plan would also establish the long-awaited Army Cyber Center of Excellence at Fort Gordon, aligning Army Cyber’s proponency within Army Training and Doctrine Command and a nexus for cyber doctrine and capabilities development, training and innovation.
Army Chief of Staff Gen. Raymond Odierno approved the consolidated Cyber school for soldiers in June, but the plans were said to be awaiting Army Secretary John McHugh’s signature and were not officially announced until today.
Army Cyber Command plans to lead a worldwide corps of 21,000 soldiers and civilians from its planned command center, according to the secretive command’s expansion plans, which emerged in an 878-page environmental impact assessment dated August.
Since it was established in 2010, Army Cyber has been split between seven government buildings and leased spaces across the National Capital Region. At Fort Meade, 156 people work in four locations, and 343 people work for the command at Fort Belvoir, Va.
Aaron Ross, the project manager for consolidation, said in the environmental assessment that Army Cyber facilities were are “in poor condition and do not meet current standards and safety requirements.” They were “unsuitable for accomplishing the current mission and do not have adequate space to support all of the incoming personnel,” he said.
The move to Fort Gordon will co-locate Army Cyber headquarters with the Army’s Joint Forces Headquarters-Cyber and NSA-Georgia, placing the Army’s operational cyber headquarters alongside the majority of its cyber mission forces, according to the Army’s announcement.
The headquarters will require 150 fewer personnel than other potential sites, and it will reduce military construction requirements and costs by 23 percent less than other considered options, the announcement said.
The command is a boon for the area, bring an expected 1,500 active-duty military, government civilian and contract personnel jobs with it.
U.S. Sen. Saxby Chambliss, R-Ga., hailed the move as the most cost-effective solution, saying he had worked closely with senior leaders of the Army, including McHugh and Odierno to bring the command to the Augusta area.
“I am pleased the Army selected Fort Gordon as the new home of U.S. Army Cyber Command,” said Chambliss, vice chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence and senior member of the Senate Armed Services Committee. “Establishing this command at Fort Gordon builds on the existing intelligence and cyber capabilities on post, provides the most cost-effective solution in a time of fiscal austerity, and takes advantage of the unmatched quality of life provided by the city of Augusta and surrounding area.”
Before selecting Fort Gordon, the Army says it evaluated its ability to support U.S. Cyber Command-directed missions and other operational factors such as installation capacity, environmental impacts, and human resource considerations. Community input was also solicited and considered through an environmental assessment public comment period conducted in the fall.